A MIGHTY Quest!
It's Saturday night, the kids have been in and out and doing their own thing, and it's not often we all sit down and have a junk food session. Additionally, the alternatives were "Something Quick And Easy" or "Something Leftover" which may sound dull, but the kids are quite happy to have leftover something they love.
"I'll pop to town and grab some -" I offer helpfully "- and I'll take Jaysen with me. We won't be long, stick the food in the oven for five minutes when we get back to get it hot again, no worries."
Confidence is clearly a bad omen.
So, at just after half five in the evening, Jaysen and myself head out into the chilly Basildonian air, and wander down to KFC in the town centre. It's a ten minute walk, fifteen tops. On route, Kellie asks if we can get some Red Bull so we can have some more Jagermeister. So once we hit town, we divert through to Asda, fight the crowds there, and head around to KFC.
The queue there was a teeeny bit silly - there were a good dozen or more people ahead of us. So we stand - as us British people do - patiently in line, shuffling forwards when we get a chance. Four people. Three. Two... Nearly twenty minutes, and there is now just one other person in front of us.
"The cooker is on the fritz" comes the voice from the counter. "There won't be any more chicken for at least 45 minutes."
Oh for pissing hells sake. I only want some sodding chicken and chips.
"The Pitsea store is open..." she-behind the counter offers. I clomp out. Pitsea is in the exact opposite direction to where we are, but now, NOW it's a case of wanting and needing this sodding chicken.
I call Kellie and let her know. Warn her we might be a little longer than anticipated. We then head around to the Bus stop where a few different buses head through Basildon and up to Pitsea. We wait. And wait. And wait. And wait some more. Nearly half an hour passes... The first one comes along - proclaiming Pitsea Broadway as it's destination, and we jump on. No more waiting, I am DONE waiting.
Two return tickets cost a stupid amount of money, so for LESS money, we get day tickets. Now, granted, this is now clocking into Saturday evening, but as you will see, it's a good job we got them!
This bus - the #5 - goes through the town, up one of the main residential roads, then up through another residential area, across the top of Pitsea and to the Broadway where we want to be. Jaysen and myself are sitting chatting about how a little old lady confused him for a girl (again) when we stop.
And everyone gets off.
We're about half-way to where we want to be. I ask the driver what's occuring... Apparently, he should have changed his sign to "Felmores Shops" as his end point. But he forgot. After a certain time, the five no longer goes to Pitsea! But he FORGOT.
Our options are A) Get off and walk through a rather rough and ready area for half an hour to get to Pitsea, even though I am not entirely sure how to cut through the estate, or B) Go BACK to the town centre and try a different bus.
We go for option B. Stabbing is not on my To Do List for the evening.
And we sit and wait on the bus. And wait. And wait. He's early, apparently, so can't pull away yet. Eventually, we do the off, and he trundles back the way we just came. Just before we get past a certain point, it occurs to me the woman at KFC said 45 minutes till the chicken was ready. Time since leaving KFC?
Nearly an hour!
So, we jump off the bus two stops early - instead of having to wander around the entire town centre, we cut across the back of it. Simples!
We get there and there are others queuing for food. Result, must be ready. Three people in front. Two people in front.
"Oh, we haven't actually got ANY chicken, unless you want Hot Wings, Gravy and Fries. That's all we have... But Pitsea is open!"
Now I have to wonder at this point, WHY THE HELL were they still letting customers in?? Put a sign on the door: "We're not that bright, so come on in, queue for ten minutes till we realise there isn't anything you want here!" In the history of EVER I don't believe I have heard someone say "I want some KFC Hot Wings, with gravy and fries!"
This is the point where I am so pissed off, I start muttering naughty words under my breath. Jaysen has been lugging the bottles of Red Bull around since we got them, my pain killers are no longer doing anything, and NOW it's a matter of principle.
My woman wants KFC? My woman GETS KFC!
Then my phone battery died.
Stomping - no longer walking, but stomping - back around the back of Basildon, we head back around to the bus stop we were sitting at originally to go to Pitsea. A #5 comes along, proclaiming he is going to Pitsea.
It's the same driver as before. I say nothing, I don't move. I might be rude otherwise.
We wait and wait and - you get the picture. Another half hour, and a #8 turns up. He is definitely going to Pitsea. You know how I know? Because this bus goes right by our house. So we get on, and we enjoy the journey, passing home as we go, seeing Kellie with her nose glued to her Kindle and the girls wandering around, before the fleeting glimpse into our own lives is gone, and we're now looking in strangers windows.
FINALLY, the bus pulls into Pitsea. As we get off, we notice Dominic is about to get on. He's been at Lakeside with his friends all afternoon, and heading home, we cross paths.
So now it's me plus the two stooges. Or, as I like to refer to them, my baggage handlers. We get to the big KFC store and realise it's HEAVING. Twenty minutes it takes us to get to the counter, where, finally, with a gasp and a sob, I place the order for our big fat lardy bucket o' chicken and fries. Yes with Coleslaw and Gravy.
We leave the shop at 2015. The bus home is due at 2014, the next at 2044.
Look where I am going.
See our bus sitting at the bus stop BEFORE ours, just idling.
I point it out to the boys. Explain we either walk then sit for half an hour, or we run hell for leather and stop the bastard if we can.
And run and run.
We get to the stop with 60 seconds to spare, and Mr Bus Man pulls up. Fifteen minutes later, at half eight in the evening, we fall in the front door, prize in hand.
It might have taken three hours, but we won. We got our chicken.
But I am exhausted. I am in agony. NEVER have I gone so far, fought SO HARD for a bucket of dead, fried poultry and some deep fried root vegetables.