The Story of Portman Road

21 November 2015

Arrived home at 9pm, having left Ipswich at 4:45pm…. a very successful and enjoyable but somewhat exhausting day! The Society for One-Place Studies 2nd AGM and Conference was, in my opinion, excellent. Without any prior discussion between the four speakers, there were common threads across the various talks and the networking time planned into the day was used to maximum effect. Great scheduling by the conference organisers …. I can say that because I had nothing to do with that part! The weather was kinder to the attendees than those of us who had to do the room set-up and packing up. Delegates arrived and departed with little/no rain whereas the heavens opened for Suzie, Bob and I.

As we said our goodbyes and left the venue, Suzie commented that she was heading off quickly to ‘avoid the football traffic‘. I understood the concept but had no idea where the ground was located within the town of Ipswich. So, I followed Gertrude towards the A12 and after a couple of minutes, hit traffic. Trusting Gertrude’s ability to get me on track, I thought I would take the first exit from the clogged road and turned into Portman Road, expecting Gertrude to ‘do her thing’ and work out a new route. I soon realised my mistake but it was too late to do anything about it. I had inadvertently turned into the road which the stadium was on!

The road was closed part way down and I therefore had to do a three-point turn in the middle of the road with all the supporters (pedestrians) milling about. I almost had sense of humour failure…. it was a very close shave (as was the match which ended in a 2-2 draw). In one hour, I managed to cover a grand total of 4.1 miles of a 185 mile journey.

The rest of the trip was surprisingly uneventful, though long. Four and a quarter hours! I could fly (on a plane) to a destination with much better weather in less time! It’s not like I don’t know that Ipswich Town play at Portman Road but in that split second, it didn’t register…. in the dark, in traffic. I know for next time, though I am not sure if there will be a next time for me driving to Ipswich! I’ll stick with the train in future, I think.

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