The M6 motorway had once been an integral part of the nation’s road system. Nowadays it was virtually deserted, certainly this far north. Guards at the last border patrol had given us strange looks when we told them where we were headed. They’d scrutinised our travel documents and given the car a thorough going over, before letting us proceed.
“Much further?” asked Jimmy, my travelling companion and trusted bodyguard.
“Look for yourself,” I said, pointing up at the graffiti scrawled across the motorway bridge. “Another 30 minutes and we should be there.”
“Then we see if their leader really is interested in talking.”
“And if he isn’t?”
“Then the civil war between the north and the south carries on and, if we’re really lucky, they’ll let us out of the town in one piece.”
“In that case, my friend,” said Jimmy, smiling, “Best you polish off that silver tongue of yours and get these peace talks under way. Remind me, what’s the name of this place we’re going to?”
“It’s called Wigan, Jimmy and remember, we don’t mention ‘pies’, it’s what started this war off in the first place. Bloody European Union trying to ban Wigan’s meat pies and our government down south agreeing to it.”
A story for this week’s prompt at Sunday Photo Fiction – and for those outside of the North of England reading this story – Wigan’s football and rugby fans and Wigan people in general are known as ‘pie eaters’ or ‘pies’ which is reference to the 1926 General Strike, when Wigan miners were forced to eat ‘humble pie’ and return to work before miners in other towns, even though they had been on strike before the other towns joined in. Since then the word ‘pie’ has come to mean the pastry rather than the metaphor ‘Humble Pie’.