Monday, 18 January 2010

Greener transport makes a duller Z

How is it that an early night is impossible? The evenings seem to be extremely long, mind you, with a single glassful to cheer me. I'm getting a bit fed up with tomato juice but still, I suppose it's terribly healthy.

I've just noticed a splendid cobweb attached to the beam across the middle of the room. I'm glad to see the spiders are thriving. I haven't seen any for ages. I never saw cobwebs in my last house- there were really high ceilings and a whole arachnoid menagerie could have stalked across the top of the room and I'd have known nothing about it. Here, the drawing room ceiling is touchable even by me - about 2 metres, and 6 feet under the beam*. Tall people duck or grouse, as they say. The doorways are lower again, of course. I don't notice the lowness. This house fits me just fine.

The Sage has been out all day today, having ventured into Lincolnshire to meet a client. I used to drive through Lincolnshire when Ro was at university - the trains took even longer than the drive and he was usually bused part of the way, so I drove him as often as not. He came home once for a weekend and soon realised his mistake when his Sunday morning train finally delivered him back to Lancashire just before midnight. I have to say, I've never come across such reckless drivers anywhere in this country as in Lincs. They seem to use the hatching in the road as a convenient narrow lane for overtaking, particularly where visibility isn't good. Once, I was following a car in legally overtaking a lorry when the car driver spotted a speed camera and braked sharply. I was taken unawares and nearly ploughed into him. We were well under the speed limit, but the driver was evidently not sure what that was, or didn't know what speed he was doing. He wasn't checking his rear view mirror, for sure.

Driving in this county isn't all that sharp, mind you. We go in for a combination of driving a bit too fast with not really looking where we're going, as we don't expect trouble. Or else we pootle along slowly in the middle of the road. And we think nothing of parking on a roundabout if a passenger would like to be dropped off (actually, that's in Yagnub). My mother, who was normally a good driver, became very casual on roundabouts in her 70s. She drove as close to a straight line as she could, changing lanes willy-nilly. "Why is that man hooting at me?" she would ask. "You just cut him up without signalling," I explained. It was, I'm afraid, not unusual behaviour at all. Actually, the hooting was more unlikely. It's quite startling when you go to more car-minded places and the least hesitation gives rise to a chorus of toots.

In the past few years, I've used the car less and less. Years ago, I'd reckon on driving 1,000 miles a month, which now seems an awful lot. It came down to 10,000 a year and then to 8,000. It hasn't been much over 6,000 in the past year I suppose - that is, I've had this car 16 months and I still haven't driven anywhere near 10,000 miles. Other than not driving locally - that is, I cycle if possible if the journey is less than 5 miles - it doesn't represent me using public transport though. I just don't get out much. I haven't been to the cinema in Norwich for a year and I've only been to the theatre twice and to half a dozen concerts. There's no public transport in the evenings, I don't go to Norwich by bus to do shopping as I can't carry it around and the railway station is 15 miles away.

So I sit at home and write a blog.


*I'm bilingual and use whichever measurement is neater for the occasion.

7 comments:

Dave said...

I was with a group of adults recently, when one asked what the speed limit was on unrestricted, but not dual carriageway roads (probably the type of road you'd find in Lincs and Norfolk). It was fascinating that most of them didn't know it's 60. 50 was the general view, with a couple of people saying 70.

They didn't know dual carriageway limits either.

zIggI said...

I haven't been allowed to drive my car but I thought he looked sad yesterday as he emerged from the snow, so asked Himself to take him for a spin. Not a flicker of life, he's gone into suspended animation, at least that's what I hope it is!

Sir Bruin said...

Speaking as a biker, don't even get me started about car drivers......

Anonymous said...

It is extremely interesting for me to read that post. Thanks for it. I like such themes and everything that is connected to them. I would like to read more soon.

martina said...

Thank you for being bilingual. I can only remember that a meter is a little more than a yard.
Is your bag all packed and ready for the hospital?

Z said...

I found out recently that my daughter didn't know the limit for dual carriageways.

Poor car, Ziggi. It might need some TLC from a trickle charger?

It would be good if car drivers spent a while driving a bike, Sir B. And riding one. They might be more careful.

Approximate does fine with conversions most of the time, Martina. I'm of an age to have grown up learning both, although I will always think in yards and pounds. No, I haven't done any of the things I meant to today, things cropped up. It may well be done at midnight on Thursday.

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