There was a streak of red painting its way through the grey clouds in the distance. As the sun began to dip its way past the horizon, my sister's head lolled against the seat next to her and she fell into one of her strange deep sleeps.
The car ground to a halt somewhere in the middle of the M1 behind a queue of traffic. We'd known there was going to be such a queue; there was, however, no way to avoid it. It was a bit like being a lemming. And I was worried.
"Are we... are we getting near to London?" I asked, my voice rusty from misuse.
"Oh, well, maybe," came my mother's helpful and certain answer. "Are you wondering if we're close enough to get Heart 106.2 on the radio?" And she started twiddling the dial.
"Yes!" I said, a little too eagerly, pleased at being handed this convenient excuse. I wasn't, of course, overly concerned that we weren't listening to Heart 106.2 - we had it on in the car all the time and I'd heard every song on its playlist about four bzillion times. I was more concerned about getting home for 10:00. It was about 8, but our journeys from Grantham took hours, hence my slight worry.
It was half-term. I was in my late teens at the time, and I'd taken to - at that point - checking Radio Times every week to see which adult film Channel 5 was showing in the Friday evening slot. More often than not, it was something I'd seen before on L!VE or Bravo - something starring Shannon Tweed or made in the early nineties (or both) called something like Lap Dancer, Warm Texas Rain or Sins of the Night 7. They played, on rotation, '70s sex comedies like the Confessions series or Rosie Dixon: Night Nurse. Occasionally they had a Surrender flick or something by Russ Meyer. Whatever it was, I was going to watch it anyway.
But that evening I really wanted to get home to watch. It was something I hadn't seen before which had Lisa Boyle in it. And I'd recently managed to get an old TV in my room which has my SNES hooked up to it (I didn't use it for anything else) - before we went, I'd spent about half an hour attempting to get a clear enough picture of Channel 5. There was still a bit of snow, but it was watchable. I reasoned that I didn't care; I no longer needed to go downstairs to watch Gran's cable TV and using the little one in the lounge next to my room necessitated movement. I'd already seen Dangerous Touch on BBC2 using my TV, so that would be okay.
My mother managed to find a vague but discernable version of Heart 106.2 on the radio.
"Good call," she said. "Back in Heart country."
"We'll be home in about half an hour," my dad responded.
I breathed a sigh of relief.
A few hours later I was sitting in my pyjamas watching the film. It wasn't actually spectacular, but there was bound to be something that happened at some point.
The first sex scene with Lisa Boyle started...
...and I ran to the lounge to get a better picture.