8:02 I pull into Eskenzi’s offices and park in the bay nearest the door. Hoping I’m not too late. Lara buzzes me in. I go in and take a seat. Lara points out she’s bought three packs of party rings. I am excited but play it cool by giving an approving nod.
8:05 Yvonne and Dan arrive. Yvonne apologises for being late – don’t tell her that I’ve only been in the office for 120 seconds thus allowing her to assume I’d been here much longer. I feel the tinge of power surge through my spine.
8:10 We’re all in the car. Dan is riding shotgun, Lara and I are in the back.
8:15 Yvonne mentions the steering is a bit wobbly. Everyone ignores her. In hindsight, this was the equivalent to a horror movie where someone say’s they heard something in the basement and goes to investigate alone whilst the rest of her friends laugh and carry on watching T.V.
10:15 A bird does a MASSIVE poo on the car windscreen whilst driving at nearly 80mph in the fast lane on the M4. Everyone laughs as Yvonne recalls a time that a bird poo’d on her head whilst driving a convertible and Lara recalls the time a bird poo’d on her head the first time she kissed a boy. Dan and I exchange a look that says, “stay away from these
two when birds are circling overhead”.
10:16 Laughter is cut short as a pop is heard, followed by the loud rumble of a wheel driving on its rim. Yvonne channels her inner Val Kilmer and holds it steady like Ice Man – gliding the car effortlessly to safety on the hard shoulder.
10:17 The front driver-side tyre is gone. I decide that it’s not worth the risk trying to change a tyre next to the motorway and have some party rings.
10:20 Lara is frantically searching for a lighter for her cigarettes.
10:30 Dan is contemplating getting the train home.
11:20 The AA man arrives and proceeds to change the tyre right next to the motorway. He seems very cheery whilst doing it… I have my camera in hand ready to record the moment an 18 wheeler drags him 2 miles up the road before stopping… unfortunately that didn’t happen and my hopes of selling the video to you’ve been framed for £250 were dashed.
11:30 AA man advices us to get tyres checked out from a garage in Swindon. Yvonne asked if Swindon was the next exit (which was marked Swindon) and he shook his head and said, “I dunno, I came from the other direction.” (true words)
11:35 Lara has located a Kwik Fit and gives us directions.
11:50 We’re at a Kwik Fit, but unlike the name implied they were anything but quick – with a 45 minute waiting time.
12:10 We find ourselves at another tyre shop. Whilst waiting for it to be repaired we ask for directions to someplace to get a coffee and directed towards Swindon’s finest establishment – Tesco’s.
12:20 Next to Tesco is a Giraffe. Not just any Giraffe, but Swindon’s first ever Giraffe – complete with half-finished ceiling. Everyone opted to have lunch.
13:00 Car is ready, team Yvonne, Lara and Javvad are ready to plough ahead undeterred – but Dan has to bow out. We leave him on a road and he walks towards the train station, the theme tune to the incredible hulk tv series plays in the background.
13:15 I console myself with the departure of Dan by eating a couple of party rings.
15:00 We make it to Cardiff and buzz the barrier to let us into the building. Only to find we’re at Capitol House and we need Capitol Square.
15:05 We make it to the right building and go up to the fifth floor where only a couple of Alert Logic employees are hanging around for us.
15:15 With fresh coffee’s in hand, we’re given a grand tour of the office. Which in honesty was really really nice. Very nice decor and really well thought out.
15:30 Step in for a briefing with Misha and Will on the latest and greatest technology and roadmap.
16:30 We prepare to say our good-bye’s. We are given commemorative spoons.
18:30 The service station has a starbucks. Lara and I opt for pumpkin spice latte’s and a couple of loafs of pumpkin spice bread. By which time even Yvonne gives in and tried some of the loaf. I was disappointed she didn’t give in and try and party rings though.
20:15 We are back at Eskenzi HQ. We say are goodbyes quickly. After 12+ hours in a car together everyone wanted to make a quick departure before cabin fever set in.