Now I know what you are going to say – it has been a long, long time since my last Pie Review but just like an 80’s boyband reunion, I taste much sweeter second time around!
I am pleased to say that after a spell on the North East coast educating the Sunderland fans about the beautiful game, I have returned to the Moss Rose – back to where my celebrity status started all those years ago.
The downside to my return is that I now have people mithering me to take them here, there and everywhere around the country just so they can experience a Big Jim Tours away trip.
It was therefore no surprise that I was called in to action last week for the midweek mission down to Sutton United.
I pride myself on providing a first class service to my passengers, and as such the dream machine had to be fully spruced up before setting off on the journey.
This may sound like something and nothing, but I tell you now that it is a lot of effort to remove all the remnants of KFC wrappers, costa cups and half eaten kebabs from previous executive tours.
I did want to make an effort however due to the fact that Bob was mithering me to write a Pie Review about the trip and I could not be sure that he would not start taking photos in the dream machine.
So last Tuesday morning I invested in a bottle of Febreze as a special treat, and even removed the red sellotape from over my inside spotlight which had been there for years – although I am not altogether sure why.
If there is one thing which I need when travelling such distances, it is a right good feed to boost my energy levels before we set off.
So after the compulsory visit to see my mate Marshall Spearing, I made my way down to the new Silkmen Cafe ready to fully charge my batteries up.
I don’t know if you have visited the cafe yet, but if you haven’t then make sure you do because the food there really is top notch and sorts out even the most gluttonous of appetites.
Anyway, I settled down to my hot pork bap and chips safe in the knowledge that this memorable day would be forever marked with a ketchup stain down my tee shirt. People laugh but listen, I have got over thirty years of memories on that shirt and can remember where I was when each one of them was added.
It is more like an heirloom to me than anything else.
Joining me for the trip was Bob, Derek Leonard, Brian Gibbons and Finlay Brown – who I mistakenly made walk from Hurdsfield to the Moss due to the fact that I had not cracked on that he had moved house.
To make matters worse we picked Derek and Brian up from Hurdsfield too, so I’m sorry about that mate!
After a quick stop off to refuel the dream machine we were away. I estimated that we would be there in an hour or two but soon realised that the traffic would make this impossible.
Speaking of which, aren’t the people who build the motorways so damned inconsiderate?
Look at the size of the lanes for goodness sake – they are not built for people like me who enjoys a few Benson and Hedges finest en route. They are narrow enough as it is (especially when there are thirty thousand sets of roadworks over about ten miles), but when you are struggling to get a light what are you meant to do?
I have been a driver all my life and I can honestly say that I have never once managed to light a fag without veering off about twenty yards whilst trying to do so.
That is the problem with this country nowadays, nobody gives a monkey’s what ordinary people like me have to go through on a day by day basis!
Anyway, as is obligatory when travelling anywhere with Derek and Bryan, we decided to call in to the Wetherspoon’s at Beaconsfield Services for a quick half hour stop (I like how they can put a pub on the motorway by the way, yet I struggle having a fag!).
Motorway services are funny things aren’t they?
I mean there we were having a nice refreshing diet coke when I decided to pull up a chair to rest my weary muscles. Well, I shouldn’t have bothered as they were those high chairs which reminded me of when I was about six months old.
Seriously if I had wanted to walk up the Eiffel Tower then I would have gone to Paris, not Beaconsfield!
And another thing, once you have climbed in to the seats you have to be built like Mo Farrah to stay in them. Every other second I thought that the damn thing was going to topple over, and seeing that Bob was sat behind me I was conscious that I would break his other foot after the unfortunate incident of a week or two ago.
So after prizing myself out of the monstrosity, I decided to have a wander about and see the intriguing sites of the Beaconsfield service station.
Just as I had eyed up the disabled toilets and was sprinting towards them, a young lady came up to me and asked me if I was hungry?
At first I thought that she was merely on a wind up, but to my surprise she invited me to a nearby restaurant within the services where she kindly gave me a 50% off voucher.
She was a bit of a looker in truth, so I wandered over to the restaurant to see what it was all about.
Yes it was an Indian Restaurant.
Now I am a big fan of Indian food and like nothing more than dipping my naan bread in a red hot madras once in a while, but come on would you really wolf down a hot curry in fifteen minutes when you are literally hundred of miles from home?
Asking for trouble that this, asking for trouble.
So after spending good twenty quid on a packet of fags, we reconvened at the dream machine and headed to Gander Green Lane.
After giving the team a few words of advise as they stepped off the coach, we decided to rehydrate in Sutton’s clubhouse.
It was pretty spacious and welcoming, yet serving pints in plastic cups brings with it a world of issues when trying to balance your drink in addition to a Benson’s and one of Spearing’s finest meat and potato pies which was a welcome reminder of home.
The game was not really anything to write up about despite us taking the lead after just two minutes. In fact if I didn’t know better I would have said that the team must have stopped off at that curry house in Beaconsfield!
Apparently Sutton have their own famous pie eater – some bloke called Wayne who made the news just for munching his way through a pasty treat during last season’s FA Cup match with Arsenal.
I am not being funny but you tell Big Wayne to come down to our gaff for the return fixture later on in the season and I will show him who is boss!
To my horror I found that the food kiosks at Gander Green Lane did not sell pies at half time, and had to console myself with a couple of hot dogs instead.
Now the problem that I have with hot dogs is that they are slippery little specimens which prove to be impossible to eat when you are trying to wind up the opposition ‘keeper.
There I was trying to put Jamie Butler off his goal kick, when all of a sudden half the hot dog flew out of my mouth and ended up pretty close to the six yard line.
I wouldn’t mind but if you work it out there was probably about two quids worth of grub which went to waste there, and for what – to get beat 2 – 1 in the dying minutes.
Despite our navigation going slightly wrong during the long trip home, we returned back to Macclesfield around half past two in the morning – safe to say that I was absolutely goosed.
Yet matters took a turn for the better when I remembered that there was a spare Spearing’s Pie in the dream machine which Bob had forgotten to eat!
As I lay in bed, I thought that I could here the birds beginning to sing outside it was that late.
So I closed my eyes and reflected on the fact that we had gone all that way for nothing, yet at the same time thanked my lucky stars that I had not taken up the curry offer at Beaconsfield – despite how attractive their employees were!