If there is one thing worse than the pain of air travel it is the pain of queuing on a motorway, and how many times have you said to yourself “well it can only get better” for it then to become worse. So the objective was to get from Okehampton, Devon to St Neots as quickly and safely as possible – I had been on holiday wiith my son, his daughter and her brother.
We joined the A30 at noon with 20 miles to go to the M5, it was misty and drizzling. After about 10 miles we joined a queue causing us to start looking for alternative routes – I quite fancied the A303, but thank goodness we didn’t go that way as it was closed for 4 hours. So the M5 it was and as soon as we got onto it the traffic ground to a halt. The next 3 hours were a mile of crawling then two miles of normal speed – we only covered 60 miles in this time. The traffic news advised that the queues were beyond Bristol and also the M42 was at a standstill between the M40 and the M6.
Enough was enough, we turned off and headed deep into Somerset. The speed increased but there were many towns en route however we finally got to the M4 before Swindon and the traffic was moving at a good lick. The next choice was either taking the A34 via Oxford or to stay on the M4 and head for the M25 where we new there were queues but hopefully they would be gone by the time we arrived ……… no they weren’t and in fact had spread back onto the M4. However by the time we reached Watford, some 5 junctions later, traffic was moving again but a pit stop was required at South Mimms.
Until this point my old Merc – Mavis – had coped well with the conditions although was running hot in the queues. For some reason when we got going again the temperature just continued to rise. Half a mile from reaching the kid’s home she gave up the ghost spewing her blood everywhere. The RAC were called and about 75 minutes later we were all loaded onto a flatbed and heading home. That should have been the end of the sorry story but, of coure the A14 was closed for resurfacing so a detour through Cambridge and around Newmarket was in order – the final straw.
Twelve and a half hours and 340 miles after starting out we were finally home – we could have got back from America quicker! If our population continues to increase at the rate it is our roads are going to fail us, if they haven’t already.