Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Difficult Journey

My holiday travels today seemed unnecessarily complex and frustrating.  A rambling drive to the coast, taking in two different beaches and a walk across some bleak and windy New Forest moorland was beset with delays and queues of traffic.  I'm beginning to think that it's a Tuesday thing - I had similar problems on different route through the Forest last Tuesday.  Today, though, the delays weren't caused by roadworks, fat men on bicycles and bad drivers, as they had been last week, but instead by traction engines, agricultural vehicles and livestock on the road.  Let's take the latter first.  Now, anyone who has driven through the New Forest knows that one of its 'Unique Selling Points' is the fact that the 'commoners' there still have the right to let their livestock graze freely in most of the Forest.  Which, in practice, means herds of cows, hordes of horses and ponies and, today, donkeys, wandering all over the place, especially the roads. Normally, this doesn't bother me, but today, I just felt it had gotten completely out of hand, as I was delayed in both directions at virtually the same spot by these bloody idiotic donkeys meandering across the road at a junction.  The tailback they caused was phenomenal.  It was the first of several delays which contributed to me not getting home until after eight o'clock this evening - an hour and a half later than I'd estimated when I set out earlier today.

Anyway, I was left feeling that things had gone too far - such delays were completely unacceptable, (at least, when they happen to me, they are) - and it's about time we curbed all this nonsense about common grazing rights.  Bring back enclosure!  At least fence the roads off to protect us from bloody horse, cows and donkeys. Especially the donkeys.  To be fair, I've never known the ponies and cattle cause such problems - they know not to loiter too long on the roads.  But the bloody donkeys: well, if we can't fence off the roads, then we at least round up the donkeys and ship them off to become the main ingredient in Iceland's beef lasagna (it would make a nice change from horse)?  But the donkeys hadn't provided the earliest, or the last, delys of my journey.  Before I'd even left Crapchester I'd found myself stuck behind a sodding traction engine for a while.  Now, I like steam engines of the railway variety - they run on rails and therefore tend not to delay my road journeys - but the road variety are just a pain in the arse.  Belching out noxious fumes as they trundle along at walking pace, they are normally driven by some gurning rustic in a badly knitted pullover who thinks he is a 'character' and thinks it hilarious that he's creating queues which can be measured in miles.  I would have assumed that this particular contraption was returning from the recent steam festival in Dorset, (I'd been delayed by some its cousins heading for the event the previous week), except that it was heading the wrong bloody way.  Maybe the rustic at the wheel didn't realise that it was over, or perhaps he'd set out early to be sure of getting to next year's event on time.  Who bloody knows?

But really, should these relics really be allowed to run on the public highway, making a nuisance of themselves?  I think not and I want to know what the government is going to do about it.  I think this could become my new fixation: starting a campaign to have steam powered vehicles banned from Britain's roads.  The trouble is, though, that if we get them banned from clogging up the roads under their own power they'll only transport them to shows and the like on the backs of huge lowloaders.  I've been stuck behind one of these carrying a traction engine before now and, believe me, it's almost as bad as the bloody traction engine running under its own power. Having thus been delayed on the outward leg, my journey achieved symmetry with another delay as I re-entered Crapchaster. This time it was a combination of lane closures and speed restrictions due to roadworks and some bastard farmer driving his tractor and trailer from one side of the town to the other.  Really, there is no reason why anyone should need to drive agricultural vehicles through the middle of town other than sheer bloody mindedness.  These farming arseholes don't like is Townies driving in 'their' countryside, so they think they can get back at us by driving their tractors through our streets.  Bastards.  Ban them as well.  Still, apart from all these delays, I actually had a pretty good day today.



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