It would have been the mid 1980s - the location was Aust Services, just off the M4 and overlooking the Severn Bridge. Twenty or so years prior to this particular sunny Sunday, the adjacent bridge was still a relatively fresh feat of engineering which was marvelled at by thousands of visitors each month.
Over a mile in span, this was one of the world's longest suspension bridges, fording a notorious estuary with the world's second largest rise and fall in tide. School trips visited, there was an observation deck and a small exhibition of how the bridge was built. It carried the M4's traffic over to Wales for a few shillings - but a charge was only made when heading in a westerly direction. It was for this very reason that my father always approached from the east on our Sunday 'runs out' in the car.
But back to the 1980s. Aust Services was, in comparison with other monstrous motorway diners, a reasonably intimate spot to take a break. The facilities clean and tidy, flower beds relatively free of cigarette butts, and the range of meals on offer reasonably priced. Verging on the 'freshly prepared' too - if frying eggs to order can be so described. It was justifiably popular in its day.
On this particular bright summer afternoon, the hoards had rolled in and demanded to be fed in great numbers. There had been a bit of a run on the cutlery, and as I searched the grey plastic trays for a matching pair of utensils, a black haired Valley boy with jacket and jeans to match caught my eye. "Where's the forks, mate?" "Umm, I think I might have the last one." "Shit, I'll 'ave to go an' aask then," he muttered, and ambled back to his formica table with two plates of sausage, egg and chips - and two knives. His companion - in a similar neutral/denim combo - was none other than Bonnie Tyler.
A moment later the man in black returned triumphant from the self-service counter with two gleaming forks, and shot his lady friend a tiny winning smile. Somewhat incongruous amongst the rugby shirts, shorts and flip-flops favoured by their co-diners, the rock couple seemed lost in their own little world. Aww. But they hadn't gone unrecognised. A bright spark somewhere behind the M4 service station scenes had sprung into action. The familiar strains of 'Total Eclipse of the Heart' suddenly replaced the tones of Bert Kaempfert, which had provided the background ambiance up to that point.
So what, you may ask, was Bonnie Tyler doing being wined and dined at Aust services thirty-odd years ago?
Nay, say I, that was fine and dandy.
But what exactly was Bonnie Tyler doing 'representing' the UK at the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest? Trying to put a lid on her career in the same way Engelbert did twelve months before? Who is going to be wheeled out next and - furthermore - do we actually need this kind of television anymore?
When I was a small child, it was front page news that barefooted Sandie Shaw had conquered Europe with the quirky 'Puppet on a String.' After the abject failure of previous contestants such as Pearl Carr and Teddy Johnson, this was a major story. The BBC found the tune so original, that it commissioned variations on the same theme for approximately the next 25 years. Even Norway had moved on by then. Lulu, Clodagh Rodgers, Cliff (umpteen times) all banging out oompah-based pop tunes with trite lyrics. Once The Shadows were selected to wear the GB colours, and nobody was more surprised than the band's members. They had disbanded several years before and - I believe - Hank Marvin had emigrated to Australia. Yet Aunty Beeb still believed them to be at the cutting edge of popular music.
Do viewers/listeners still choose the song? This part I have not researched. At the age of 15, I did submit one of my own compositions for consideration - somewhat tongue-in-cheek. Not only did I lose, but I didn't even get a reply. I still don't know what's wrong with the line 'French or German, Belgian or Swiss, You Can All Sing To This.' Catchy, in the great tradition of boom-bang-a-bang, yet with pan-European appeal. The rest of my words may not have been quite so P.C.
Recently the annual song contest has become a joke. On this, I think, we are all agreed. It is becoming de rigueur to gather in small parties to gawp at the TV and express surprise at just how awful, weird, wonderful and utterly pointless the whole charade has become. Then quite probably go to bed before the final scores have been totted up. The competition is pointless; rather like the UK's entries since making the wrong political moves in the eyes of the rest of Europe/Eurovision.
It is also way, way, beyond a very tired old joke.
Music is not, by nature, competitive. It is emotive, challenging, touching, memorable, reflective and many different things to every individual. Europe has a rich tradition of roots music and vibrant sounds which celebrate cultural diversity in a good way. If an annual knees-up is necessary, then mututal appreciation of music is surely what it should focus upon? Throwing everything into a great mixing pot and emerging the other side of predictable voting with a winning song comprising vacuous words (why are they in English?) and synthesised sounds cannot be justified in any way whatsoever.
So let's either change it for the good, or do away with it completely. After all, one can count on one hand the number of enduring songs the contest has given the world. The two that spring to mind are 'Volare' and 'Blue, Blue, My World Is Blue' - and I don't think either of them even won!
And so, back to Bonnie and her beau. I read an interview with Ms Tyler recently, who has been with her chap now for over forty years. Many congratulations to them. And if either Mr or Mrs Tyler happen to be reading, here's a little ditty I wrote way back when there was only one Severn Bridge. It is called 'Bonnie Tyler's Boyfriend.'
Oh, Duw, my head is in a whirl,
I have fallen in love,
With a Mumbles girl,
It’s a wonderful thing,
Never thought I’d have a chance,
But now we are together,
I’ve got lost in bloody France