Now Miss America is actually the wife of a Soldier, luckily for her, not on deployment, working not too far from home on something no doubt fulfilling and soldier-y. None of this will be a surprise to anyone who knows that I live on the fringes of Salisbury Plain, the hugest MoD Exercise area you can imagine. (Stay with me, you need to know this).
Miss America has been here for 8 years, and prior to the arrival of her sweet daughter, she worked in the NHS. And she's currently trying to get back in to the NHS. Tomorrow she has an interview at Winchester, the Royal County Hospital. She's never been there and parking in particular is a nightmare - patients with appointments are advised to allow an hour extra to find a space! Now Winchester isn't far from here, I know the route well...it is engraved on my heart - it is the same route we took 15 years ago whilst my toes were curling at the strength of the contractions that would bring Miss Dunnit to us. I could see that Miss America was totally NOT following the instructions everyone was barking at her, so at about 11 o,clock, I offered to drive her over for a recce. (Army terminology now...impressive, huh!). We were 5 in number at this morning's gathering, 4 by 1pm, so Miss America and I left two of her scrapping guests to finish up and lock the door behind them so we could set off. She called the Soldier to warn him of the two relative strangers he may find if he went home for lunch. Not unsurprisigly, he moaned a bit! Still, by then we were on the A303, the sun was shining and it was feeling like a road trip. In my little green Yaris. No sunroof. Loads of road noise. Hey ho. Get to the hospital without incident..check out terrible parking, reception, main entrance, blah blah. Turn around and come home. We had a deadline see - to be back in time for the school run. We made it in plenty of time. Miss America stepped out of the little green rocket and instantly realised that she'd left home without keys. Locked out. Oh my, how funny. How we laughed. Easy to sort out. Drive over to Camp, blag the guardroom to let us go in to find the Soldier and get his keys. Easy. Turns out Miss America very definitely only married the man and not the job. Knows less about him the Soldier and where he works than is healthy. Guardroom spend some time tracking him down rather than letting us onto Camp; I'm guessing that they would have locked us up, given a choice. Turns out that because it's Wednesday, the Soldier is out playing sport. Miss America has a lightbulb moment and remembers she saw him take a hockey stick to work. I believe her. We drive to the all weather pitch. I park badly, she runs over an acre of uncut grass to the pitch and shouts at the playing soldiers - even from where I'm watching, I can tell they think she's a nutter and try to ignore her. She was practically scaling the chain link fence before she realised that the Soldier wasn't there and she was making a spectacle of herself - I was safely, and sensibly, too far away to be included. I hope. So then we drive down roads I haven't visited for years, beautiful for sure, but somehow marred by the fact that we don't have a clue where we should be going. At the next pitches, there are 3 games of football going on, and the layout allows me to drive the little green rocket right along the touch lines. It's only when we're pulling away having had no luck that I realise that I could so easily be mistaken for some sort of lecherous middle aged sad bag - driving along slowly looking at the soldiers in their PE Kit. Gawd, I'm blushing at the thought, even now. We have to give up. No sign of the Soldier and time to get off to school. I offer to drop Miss America at the Juniors on my way to Miss Dunnit's school and in arriving, park opposite the pitch on which our Soldier is playing. Good grief. It's not a bloody hockey match either. Definitely football - no sticks, a round ball and lots of kicking. Miss America launches herself across the pitch, dodging strange looks rather than the football and woo-hooing as only an American on a mission can. Key retrieved from abandoned kit bag. Mother delivered to school. Miss Dunnit collected and the day continued as any other day does. No-one has knocked on the door to arrest me for touch-line lechery or for performing U turns in one way military controlled roads, so I think, unless there's CCTV camera footage of all the hollering and whooping, it could pass as a perfectly normal day. I wonder if she'll get the job.