D4D

Writing for the Slash and Burn crowd

Archive for the category “Travel”

People Carriers

As has been noted before on here, I do a fair amount of driving on any given week, mainly for commuting. It’s about 400-500 miles per week at the moment – although I’ve had greater mileages, and lesser ones.

One of the things I notice during those drives is how drivers do seem to group up, and that certain groups are infinitely worse than others. There’s always the usual culprits – BMWs, Audis, and White Vans, but there’s another one I notice more over time. MPVs, or people carriers.

I don’t know if it’s because BMW et al don’t actually do people carrier vehicles, but it does seem that MPV drivers are on a par with BMW drivers. In particular it seems that Citroen Xsara Picasso (now renamed the C4 Picasso, I think) are a breed of shit drivers. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve seen these vacuous bell-ends approach roundabouts in the wrong lanes, cut across lines of traffic, cruise across busy roundabouts, stick their cars into the flow of traffic, weave across multiple carriageways, and generally act like cunts.

So yes, welcome to the ‘shit drivers’ group.

  • BMWs and Audis
  • White Van drivers
  • MPVs – and Picasso drivers in particular.

Break Contemplation

When this current contract ends, I’ve already got the next one lined up, which will be another 4-6 weeks of work, taking me through to the start of June. It’s a nice situation, having something already lined up and waiting to start – not all that common, and helped by the knowledge that I have no intention of extending this one at all.

It’s making me think about what’s next (i.e. what’s after that) and I’m actually contemplating taking a week off, disappearing to a cottage somewhere.

It’ll be expensive though. Not the cottage (or whatever) itself, that’s not too bad.  But I’ll still know that it’s costing me a week of work, which is a not-insignificant amount. Mind you, I haven’t actually had a proper break/holiday in more than two years, so it’s something I’m definitely thinking about.

I’ve got some ideas on locations, but also of things I want to do. But mainly just taking a break, and hopefully putting some of what’s in my head onto paper/disk/keyboard.

Right now, that’s sounding like quite the plan.

East/West

I’m really hoping that this isn’t a poxy April Fool’s thing, because (as I’ve written before) it’s actually needed far more than HS2 is.

Network Rail have published a development plan which includes an East/West route connecting Bedford, Milton Keynes, Aylesbury and Oxford.

Phase 1 will deliver the infrastructure required for Chiltern Railways services between Oxford and London via Bicester as well as the works required for the later introduction of East West Rail services west of Bicester.

Phase 2, which is at an earlier stage of development, will deliver the EWR works east of Bicester to Bletchley and Bedford, including the Aylesbury to Claydon Junction line within this five-year period ending March 2019

So – still a long way to go, but it looks like it might just be a plan.

Londinium

Friday turned out to be a really good evening – despite the trials and tribulations of driving in London.

I knew the drive was going to be a pig – after all, 6.30-7.30pm on a Friday night is always going to be a pig. I’m not the greatest fan of London driving at the best of times, but this one certainly wasn’t the best of times.

Apple MartiniStill, I got the job done, and only wished death and fiery rain on about fifty drivers – mainly those ‘in control’ of buses and taxis. The parking I’d found turned out to be perfectly located (in Chinatown) for where I wanted to be (Leicester Square), despite the number of suicidal orientals assuming that they had priority over big lumps of steel indicating that they were turning into the same street.

I’d picked a place called QPark - not the cheapest (although there’s no such thing as cheap parking in London, it appears) but cheaper than most of the other ones in the area that looked far dodgier. I do have to say thought that bloody hell, the parking spaces are tight – particularly when driving a sodding great boat like my Saab. Not too much of a problem going in, but reliant on others not parking like cunts when it comes to making one’s escape.

Garden PearAfter that, meeting up with friends at Scoff and Banter in Leicester Square was easy – and that Apple Martini was a worthy reward. (I’d got four hours minimum before driving, so a drink wasn’t going to cause any issues)

Having put the world to alcoholic rights, and grabbed some food as well – which was also excellent – it was on to the Leicester Square Theatre to see Mr Bill Bailey.

I’ve seen Bill Bailey before – as it turns out, ten years ago – although this show was much smaller. I believe this one was a testing run for his new ‘Qualm Peddler’ tour – and if that’s the case, go and see it if you get a chance. Some of the stuff was just surreal (and usually caused by some very strange members of the audience) and he seemed close to corpsing with laughter himself at some points. It was that sort of gig, really.

Food!Highlights included the reggae version of Downton Abbey, and Zombie Country and Western, but the entire 90 minutes was excellent. Thoroughly enjoyed it all, and would love to have seen more.

After that, it was just the drive home – with London still solid traffic, even at 11pm – and then a clean run up the M1.

Oh yeah – and with those timescales, why did I drive?  Mainly because a) I don’t mind driving, and it’s always good to be able to say “Yep, done that, it holds no real fears” and b) because I’d thought it was going to start far later, and end after trains had finished.  Not that I mind at all – it was a good evening, and the driving was just one part of it.

But I couldn’t drive in London on a daily basis – there’d be far too much temptation to kill people…

 

 

More Gof

Today has been an excellent example of why (sometimes) it’s a good thing for my commute to be getting me in to work earlier than usual.

Despite it being even foggier than yesterday, and a pig of a drive (still unlit idiots, or people shitting themselves at not being able to see) it was a smooth run, and I got in on time.

Other colleagues coming in for ‘normal’ times though have been absolutely screwed. Apparently two trucks collided in the fog on the dual-carriageway near the infamous Black Cat Roundabout, which led to epic screwage of all relevant traffic in the area.  (Even better, soon afterwards the other end of the same road was equally screwed up by a truck shedding its load all over the entry roundabout. Well played…)  It’s taken them two to three hours to do the drive that takes me 45 mins on average.

Hopefully it’ll all be sorted by the time I head home. It should be – there’s plenty of time yet – but all the same, it’s been a useful example.

Lit

This morning’s drive in to work was foggy – foggy enough that you could see maybe three or four car-lengths ahead, and not much more.

So it left me quite gobsmacked to see how many drivers today weren’t bothering with their foglights – and in some cases without any lights on at all.

Considering how every pisswit fuck-knuckle in Christendom seems to put their fog lights on when it’s misty – and then leave them on for three damn days afterwards – it’s pretty amazing when you come across cars today (and particularly bloody silver ones) with no lights on at all.

What on earth are these drivers thinking? (And yes, I know, they’re not thinking)  After all, it’s not like they can see any better than I could – I just don’t get the mindset of “Oh well, other people will be able to see me, even if I can’t see them”

I don’t mind people being stupid, inconsiderate, and fuck-witted. If they want to die on the road, that’s fine with me. What I do mind is the other people affected by those decisions. And that’s just cuntish.

Travel Time

Over the past year, much has been made of the HS2 train route, and how it’ll improve transport links in the UK. It’s absolute balls, as most common sense would tell you.  Mind you, what *would* be useful would be a route going across the country, rather than up-and-down it.

An example…

My current contract is in Cambridge, and I live near Milton Keynes. Road-wise it’s an OK run, takes me 45-60 minutes each way.

But by public transport? Oy, fuck me, what a nightmare. For fun, I had a look.

Milton Keynes -> Cambridge isn’t a direct route (because there’s no ‘across’ rail line) Instead, I’d have to go :

  • From Milton Keynes into London Euston
  • From Euston to Kings Cross
  • From King’s Cross to Cambridge.

Now that is madness – it’d be 3 hours in the morning, and at least two on the way home. (Weirdly, trains seem to run better on the return journey)

And then you get to the real madness. The price. Because it’s a ‘via-London’ route, and at ‘peak time’ the cost was always going to be high. But it turns out that a day return comes to £73.70. Yep, just under seventy five quid. Per day. I don’t pay that for a week’s fuel.

And if you think I’m lying – here’s the screenshot from Trainline.com…

mk_to_cambridge

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