In 1991 I worked for Cory Environmental Waste Management Services and was the contract Manager at the Southend-on-Sea depot in Essex. I had tried staying over during the week at a string of bed and breakfast places in the town but I found this lonely and, quite frankly, hard work, so after a while I started to travel home at night all the way to my parent’s house in Rugby.
This was a long journey! It was about a hundred and twenty miles each way and would take me just under two hours, longer if there were any hold-ups on the M25, which there frequently were of course. It was a bit of a chore but it saved me about £120 a week in accommodation and the fuel was free because I had a company car and filled up with diesel in the depot. No one ever found out until after I left four year’s later because I used to use the three depot supervisor’s cars on a rota basis because this suited us all; I didn’t draw attention to my excessive mileage and the additional miles kept down their tax liability.
To avoid the worst of the traffic I would start the morning journey at half-past five and arrive just after seven and I used to leave in the evening at six o’clock for the journey home and I reckoned to arrive for the second half of Coronation Street. It would take me half an hour down the A126 towards London, another half an hour around the M25 to the M1 junction and then a final forty-five minutes to get home including a stop at the off-license for a couple of cans of beer!
On 9th August 1991 I left work as usual and slipped out of Southend driving west into the sun and I switched on the radio to listen to the last few overs of the test-match. It finished quite quickly and in the commentary box providing a summary of the day’s play were Brian Johnson and Jonathan Agnew and I listened for a while to their analysis of the game.
Now, this just happened to be the occasion of the Brian Johnson ‘leg over’ giggling fit and I can recall this date accurately because it was so funny that I was laughing so much that I wasn’t safe to be driving and I had to pull the Peugeot 405 over into a lay-by to recover. The whole transmission lasts only a minute and a half but I think it took me five minutes or so before I was capable of driving again without lapsing into uncontrollable fits of laughter just like Jonners and Aggers.
Twenty years later it is still one of the funniest BBC moments and still popular on their website and on youtube: