Okay, it’s not quite the same as going to Chile via Milan and Madrid.  But today will see my longest ever train journey as we head to the West Country to see the mighty Oldham take on Plymouth.

It’s my second visit to Plymouth this year, although the first one was the Plymouth in New England in June.  I’m partially dreading putting my feeble body through this.  Yet looking forward to the match.

The original plan was to get the train home tonight.  But the union’s been on strike.  I’m down on my luck.  Woah.  No trains home!  So I’ve burned the last of my IHG loyalty points to stay at the Crown Plaza near Hoe Park.  Interestingly named location.  I don’t think I’ll have the energy to enjoy the local ho.

It has become a journey of favours.  The train only goes as far as Exeter thanks to the evil union (or is it evil privatised train company?), and an old friend Heather, who’s also raising money for Roy Castle Lung Foundation, lives locally as has offered to take us across the south edge of Dartmoor to the match.

Our usual matchday buddies John and Jack are already down there and will get us to the hotel post match.  And tomorrow morning fellow Oldham fans Will and Clare, who we met in New England (where else would you bump into somebody supporting the same team), will give us a lift home.  Fingers crossed the Christmas Eve roads are kind.

I’ve tried to be self sufficient as far as possible in recent months.  The strike may have done me a favour in encouraging me to utilise the goodwill of others when it’s offered.  And special assistance services at stations.  I can’t wait to be wheeled between platforms by somebody in a hi viz jacket at Birmingham New Street at around 10am.

I Knew the Truth Way Ahead of the Medics