I had an interview today for a job that I really didn't want, because it doesn't sound very exciting, it's a six-month temp contract, it doesn't pay enormously well and because it's in the quite literal middle of nowhere - the Denby Hall business park, near the tiny village of Denby, about ten miles away from here. Still, I decided to go along for the interview because I thought I could do with the practice. I worked out that the best way to get there would be to take my bike on the train to Belper and then cycle the three or four miles to the building. The interview wasn't till ten, but that left me having to get the 8:27 train, because they only stop at Belper every couple of hours.
Got to the station in plenty of time, bought my ticket, then realised I'd forgotten to bring my watch with me. This was going to make it difficult to arrive at the interview at the right kind of time, but I didn't have time to go home for it, so I decided to work something out when I got to Belper. Sat on the platform, reading the Metro newspaper, I looked up at the clock and noticed it was 8:27 and a half. 'Typical,' I thought, 'train's late as usual.' I got up and looked down the platform to see if it was coming yet, just in time to see it leaving. I was sitting on platform 6a, it was on platform 6b.
Faced with a choice between calling them to explain that I couldn't come to the interview because I'm too stupid to catch a train, or finding another way to get there, I went for option 2. 'You know,' I thought to myself, 'I can cycle ten miles in an hour and a half. Easily. I used to do it on a daily basis when I was living back in Tumby Woodside. And while I don't know the way as such, Derbyshire has what's supposed to be a very nice network of cycle paths going all around the county, with those little blue signposts showing the way. It'll be easy!'
And so I cheerfully set off on my way. And yes, it's very easy to find your way around Derbyshire by bike if you can just read signposts. Sure enough, having gone through Little Eaton and out the other side, I saw a sign saying to turn right for Denby. A couple of right turns later and I was thinking 'Something's wrong here. Firstly I'm going back the way I came, and secondly I'm on the dual carriageway. Ah well, if I keep going down here presumably I'll come to a turning for Denby. That's what the sign said, after all.'
Some distance later, I saw another road sign and realised the problem. The sign I thought said "Denby", actually said "Derby". You know, the big city where I live and the place I was coming from in the first place. It hadn't occurred to me that they're only one letter different. And the two letters in question are very similar in appearance, and if you think you're going to see a sign for Denby, it's only natural that you... yeah, I'm just extremely stupid.
Anyway, I eventually found my way off the dual carriageway, turned round and went back the way I came, and found my way to the interview at what was probably around ten o'clock (I hadn't thought to go home for my watch before setting off). The interview went well enough, although the man interviewing me thought I was hugely overqualified for the job, and although I tried not to agree with him for the sake of a bit of interview practice, he was entirely right. I need to talk to the woman from the agency - although I always say I don't care about career progression and things, I find that I do take exception to being put forward for what was basically an accounts assistant position. Maybe I am a dynamic go-getter yuppie, after all.
And since it was a nice day, I decided to cycle all the way back too, rather than getting some use out of my Belper train ticket. And I hardly got lost at all! And, to put it as politely as I know how, my bum didn't half hurt by the time I got home. I should go for long bike rides more often, it's fun.