Squish (Follow On)

This year, I’ve seen a lot of roadkill – as I’ve commented before – which is at least somewhat related to going back to doing a fair amount of driving on fast roads, dual carriageways, motorways and the like.

I don’t mind that too much – although I think it’s quite sad to see it – but there’s something that bugs me about it, which is this.

No matter where the bodies are on the road – including right over by the edge and (particularly on motorways) right in the middle, near the central reservation and safety barrier, right out of the traffic lanes.  Yet within a couple of days, the bodies are flattened, all bones crushed and so on.

It’s not decomposition – OK, it could be, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t happen that fast.

All I can assume is that there’s a certain breed of driver who feel it’s acceptable (or perhaps even amusing, I don’t know) to run over the bodies, even if it means curving out of the lane, towards the crash barrier in order to do so.

And really that just boggles my little mind…

Leisure Mileage

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve covered over a thousand miles just for social stuff.

Last weekend (the Bank Holiday) was notably mental, even by my standards. It involved :

  • Friday. Go to work, come back at lunchtime, drive down to the O2 to see Nine Inch Nails in concert, and drive home.  Home at 1am.
  • Saturday. Drive down to Tunbridge Wells for a friend’s birthday do. Enjoy that, not drink much, then think “sod it” and drive home at the end of the night rather than sleeping in a tent. Home at 1.30ish.
  • Sunday. See the parents for a fleeting visit, just so we all know that each other is alive.
  • Monday. Drive over to Brentwood to meet up with friends. Drive home.

All told, that little lot amassed some 750 miles – and meant I travelled the same section of M25 (from M1 round to Dartford Crossing, or thereabouts) no less than three times in four days..  And then a meeting on the Tuesday down in Hampshire.

This weekend is a little bit calmer, but still consists of

  • Friday. Normal work travel, cinema in the evening, then home.
  • Saturday. Into Milton Keynes, collect new glasses and do some other domestic tat. Then drive down to Somerset for a house-warming thing, stopping off at Bristol to collect a couple of train-travellers and get them there too
  • Sunday. Come back. (Unsure yet whether that’ll also be via Bristol or not)
  • Monday. New job, new office, similar commute to the last month.

And next weekend involves a trip into London to meet up with friends and visit a couple of galleries with exhibitions I want to see.

I must be bloody barmy…

Making A Commitment

(No, not that sort of commitment – chiff that!)

Anyway. Having been a contractor for [far too] many years now, I find I still really don’t understand the people who take on a contract that’ll involve a large commute, and then bitch about it, or try and change the pay/conditions of the contract because of that commute.  If/when I take on a commute, I know what kind of distance I’m going to be travelling in order to do it. I’ve usually checked out the drive/travel – at worst I’ve a pretty good idea of where I’ll be going, how I’ll do the travel, and what it’s likely to entail.

A current colleague is coming to the office daily from Essex, via the M25. It’s a 70 mile journey each-way, using the M25 and M1, and should take about 90 minutes. I’ve done longer journeys as a commute (both in mileage and travel time) and it’s roughly the same time/distance as I was doing from Suffolk to London a couple of years back. (That was actually a longer one because I then did about 45 mins on Tube travel as well)

At least once a week this colleague bitches about how bad his commute is, how troublesome, and what a nightmare the traffic is. I know he’s tried to get himself paid for travelling time, or reduce his working hours in order to level out the commute time.  So far, the company has resisted changing anything, because he knew (or should’ve known) what he was letting himself in for – and I really can’t blame them.

With a contract, if you sign up for it, you should see it out at the terms/rates you agreed. I always do. The only time that changes is if the company is crap, or the conditions are not what you were told at the time. If they’d promised to pay for accommodation or whatever, and then didn’t, that’s a reason to change terms/rates. If the job/place isn’t what was sold at interview, fair enough, change things. If the job is simply not quite what you’d expected, grin and bear it.

Contracts are finite things. I can handle pretty much any commute or working conditions for three or six months. If you can’t, you either a) shouldn’t be contracting, b) should figure out your locations and commutes better, or c) should learn to shut up and put up.

M25 Circumnavigation

This weekend, I’ve driven round most of the M25. The only section I missed out was from M40 to M1 (which I do on a regular basis anyway, so no major loss)  and by then I was sick of the road anyway.

It wasn’t just for fun, though. Yesterday was a drive from home (M1) to Chislehurst, in order to attend the wedding reception of Merialc. That particular run was OK, thankfully – even with the prevalence of roadworks etc. – until reaching the Dartford Crossing, which was as shafted as always, and took half an hour on its own.

Today I went round the other half, having decided to visit my parents who live off the M40. The roadworks on that section were far worse, although at least we were moving, if slowly.

It’s been a fun weekend (which I know means I need to either get a life, or get out more) but Lord above, the M25 does annoy me.

Weirdly, it’s not because of the generally shit quality of the road, the ongoing road works, or the tossbag drivers. What annoys me is that the M25 had the chance to be a great road, a great future-facing way to deal with all the possibilities relating to the increase of traffic round London for the next thirty to fifty years. And instead, it’s a lofting great white elephant. Why? Because no politicians or planners had the guts to stand up and say “Look, this is what we need, but let’s future-proof it, let’s make it all five carriageways each side, plan for a huge increase in traffic, and make it work properly”.

It could’ve been so good, and instead it’s just a bag of shit.