It's almost time to start randomly and hurriedly throwing stuff into my battered old Marks & Spencers suitcase. Effect pedals, socks, paint-stained shirts, books I might want to read, CDs I'll be tired of listening to in whatever horror of a hire car I get this time.
The last hire car we got from Heathrow didn't even look like a car – it seemed unsuited to house either people or amplifiers and instruments but we took my mother to a gig we had in Chichester in it and she was perfectly happy nestled in the black, faux-leather back seat next to Amy's guitar, my amplifier and a couple of boxes of CDs.
There's never anywhere to prop the GPS up. They want you to pay extra to use some built in contraption. We use an outmoded GPS thing in the UK. I've tried wedging the remains of the suction cup into the dashboard heating vents – it once worked on a small van we hired from Europcar – but usually I end up balancing the thing between the gear stick and the little trough that you're supposed to fill with toffees and change for parking meters. And as you take a sharp corner it slides into the nether region between the passenger seat and the transmission.
On the last trip I had great success with Velcro. I bought a roll of sticky-backed Velcro from a Target store somewhere just south of Richmond, Virginia. I stuck a strip of the scratchy stuff on the car dashboard and the corresponding furry strip to my phone and like this I was able to attach the car to the back of the phone.
Amy and I both have the same phone but we can tell who's is who's now because mine has a furry strip on the back and a big white paint stain from talking on the phone while I was rollering a ceiling the other day.
I'm glad you all know that now. And in years to come you'll start to notice little strips of Velcro attached to hire car dashboards the world over. It's my life's work. At last I'm doing something useful.