The unique helplessness of being stranded. In the rain. At night. | Jack Marshall’s column

Stepping off the train into the murky night, a tortoise-like slow-and-steady drizzle stirred into life. T-shirts already pockmarked with rain from a madcap dash through Manchester to get the last train home, we headed up the slick stairs.

Wiping my phone clear of the leopard spots of water which had gathered on it, I rang a taxi. After 30-odd rings, someone picked up and quickly told me literally nothing was available.

I tried another firm. The same man answered and relayed the same message. A third didn’t pick up at all. Me and my brother looked at one another. It was 12.15am. We were five miles from home.

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We hadn’t planned for this. Frustratingly, we’d both only had a single drink and so were both capable of driving. We just didn’t have a car, having got a lift in case we’d wanted a few more pints at the gig we’d gone to.

Me and my brother keeping spirits high after getting strandedMe and my brother keeping spirits high after getting stranded
Me and my brother keeping spirits high after getting stranded

There was one option left: a desperate plea for help from the parents. Tentatively, I rang them both. No answer. My brother tried. We then remembered they leave their phones on charge downstairs overnight. Great.

In tricky situations, there are usually solutions which, while unpalatable, are either expensive or inconvenient to others, necessitating profuse apologies. But we quickly realised that no matter how much money or loved ones we were willing to spend or annoy, there was no fix.

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We started walking. It was now 12.30am - we could be home by 3am if we got to it. We trudged up the hill out of town, away from the streetlights and across the moors towards the next village over.

We made good time, covering about two miles in 40 minutes whilst discussing what animals we could catch, kill, and eat if it came to it. My brother drank from a puddle and reported that it tasted muddy. We told ourselves that at least this would make a great story.

Dear reader, we were eventually picked up by the police. Concerned for our wellbeing, they stopped to ask if we were okay and, keen to convince them that we weren’t drunk or high or delinquents, we offered our explanation. They laughed at us and offered a lift home.

Soggy and happy, we gratefully accepted.