Friday, 30 August 2013

A Bumpy Ride

Recent travels have had me on edge. The roads in England have been allowed to become potholed and patched-up and it can make for a bumpy journey. It takes the thrill out of taking to the road, and it gives the impression of a nation letting itself go. Five years ago we travelled around Ireland and found the roads to be in a poor state at the time. When we returned to England you could almost hear the car and Airstream sigh with relief. Now I think ours are even worse. We have spent a lot of time near Cheltenham and I have a mental map of many of the crappest roads in and around the town, but when you move on you have a whole new set of obstacles to avoid. And you can't swerve out of the way with a trailer on the back!

A trip to Wiltshire last week had the added headache of a flat tyre on the car whilst towing along a busy, rural, two lane A road. We had passed a lay-by on the other side and had to reverse back, inch by inch, during any gaps in the traffic. Once we had managed to cross over we then had to empty the contents of our boot in order to release the spare wheel that is fixed below the car. What can you do but grin encouragingly at each other and get through it?

The rest of the journey was one of those south of England routes that keeps passing through little villages, narrowing regularly and twisting its way around the countryside. These roads might be fun to whizz around on a motorbike or in an un-hitched car, but to tow an Airstream along them is slow and requires constant and prolonged concentration. The speed limit keeps dropping for all the bends and the quaint villages. It took us three hours to travel 100 miles.

I thoroughly enjoyed being somewhere completely new, once we had arrived, but the travel itself was not a pleasure, at all.

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