If You Take a Walk Through Mt Vic Tunnel.

“Show us your tits love”
Cried an oversized bricky perched aloft his scaffold tower.
“Look at the arse on that” Echoed another cry from the crowded platform, each builder bending their neck to spy at the view. One nudged Paul “if she was a car I’d love to drive here hard and fast”.
“Aye and it’s got the air bags for you to crash” Gary snickered.
“Come on love… You’re not shy are ya?”

Sandra continued walking, ignoring all cries that came from the now drooling pack and no sooner had she turned the corner than the wolf whistles had died down and she returned to a slower more relaxed pace. ‘I need a new route to work’ she mumbled beneath her breath as she sighed and turned into Dickson Street.

For many a walker, cyclist and even a runner taking the path through Mt Victoria Tunnel in Wellington face a similar experience, maybe a little amusing and enjoyable on the couple of occasions that you may experience it, but come the 5th, 6th and definitely the 20th the joke has grown old. Like Sandra it’s not a nice experience. For walkers it must be worse, as a runner I speed my pace up to get the hell out of there, but yet I’m not sure if all the attention is aimed at us mere pedestrians or if it’s some other kind of game.

We’ll take a pause here, as comparing the mere objectifying of woman to a simple annoyance through a tunnel is by no means the same… But I’m sure is equally annoying as it is not needed, but like the builders, the drivers feel it is justified.

I’m talking about the honking of car horns. A barrage of ‘beep beep’ and it only takes one to begin the chorus. It has roots and reminds one of the running of the ‘ Great North’ with ‘Ogie ogie ogie’ ‘Oi Oi Oi’ as the cars and their owners try to create a tune.

Runners get it all the time, as you run along, Gary in his mates Ford Fiesta learns out of the window to shout instructions, just incase you had managed to get this far somehow running in an incorrect fashion but thanks to Gary you now know to lift those knees up. And like Sandra your mind straight away sends a curse to these people. Why do they feel the need to shout at you or in the case of the cars, beep their horns.

No one yet can explain this phenomenon from Wellington, no one seems to know when, how or why it started, but like the woman walking past a building site being objectified with wolf whistles, you can gaunatee that if you were to cut through the tunnel on state highway 1 then a cacophony of car horns will be accompanying you on your journey and while I’m informed it’s not aimed at those using the raised walkway, one but can’t help that maybe just maybe it is in some way and if not then why not…

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She Did Have a Pony, But it May Have Been Called Mara-duke

Now it’s no secret that I admire the British Train System, and while that may be seen as controversial then my simple defence is what other system is designed for moving large bodies of people around the country quickly? I often choose train over road to the puzzlement of my friends but as I shoot up the A1 to be hit by traffic jams, or encounter road works on the M6 all I can do is sit and wait. In fact what I have to do is stay awake and concentrate. Whereas speeding through the wonderful british landscape in a carriage my only commitment is to stay awake long enough to have my ticket inspected by a member of the on board service team or if you are still stuck in the 80’s a ‘Conductor’.

Train travel is wonderful and while I do buy into the arguments off the state of our rail system I also see the plus side. Where else can you catch up on work, read, listen to music or just sit back. The whole enjoyment of sitting back and looking at the ever-changing picture outside as you speed through different towns and cities, only to have your vision plunged into darkness as you venture into a tunnel where you emerge in a different county and yet another impressive view from you window. This is a true joy to behold as you pull into stations built by hand 150 years ago, cross rivers and cut through rock all done at a time when the specialist tools were a hammer and pix axe.

But you already know I love the railways and the engineering that helped build them for all to use, however there is one other reason why I use trains to travel and that is the other passengers. Oh yes the joy of my fellow humans. Who needs the soaps off an evening where you have real life characters sat next to you. There are several characters that entertained me on this trip, two of which I named Beryl and Peril paid up members of the blue rinse brigade, who were obviously travel companions but did not utter a single word between them, instead at 11am they pulled out there picnic from the Morrison’s carry bag and began to tuck into a ham roll.

There have been many delightful characters that have paraded the carriages. Sometimes the conductors provide the entertainment as I can remember travelling to Oxford and as the train manger came round to check tickets from the previous station he said the following “Tickets from Banbury, tickets from Banbury come on now don’t be shy some one has to live there”

Yesterday the woman in front of me was a little posh, well she sounded posh and was eating a crayfish sandwich on malt brown bread, opposite her she had a daughter who was wearing a face like she had been smacked with a wet fish. The entire journey I tweeted about them as they amused me and I started to create a life story for them. As the journey went on it was obvious that daughter did not want to take part  in the activity of train travel or the indeed the activities that followed once they had reached their destination. I had decided that she must have just been told her pony had died, the pony being called ‘Princess’ she was after all at least 14 and her hand was dangling a cuddly toy a sure sign she was a spoilt brat. The funny thing was as I carried on listening to the short blast of dialogue between mother and daughter, daughter taking part in the conversation by keeping earphones firmly attached in her lopes and Mother only pausing from reading the ‘Daily Mail’ to join in the discourse, I discovered that she did own a horse and was about to take part in trials. The trouble was I never did find if I had guessed the name of the horse correctly, but it’s funny how your first impressions are mostly correct.

Either way train travel rocks and I’m sure me falling asleep or speaking loudly on my phone about my job entertains others in the way that my fellow passengers brings me such pleasure and allows me to enjoy the simple form of travel.

Weekend on the A46

Well this weekend was spent drinking and driving. Not together I would like to point out. I don’t even have a shandy or lemonade top when I drive, even when I have several hours between each activity. However with that aside, I carried this two past times of mine out on separate occasions. I was of visiting a very good friend down in Warwickshire.

Now before we go on, I should say that my knowledge of this area, is very limited. the Midlands seems to be a big place, with lots of towns that you’ve heard off, but would never have associated them as being placed in the middle of the country. With all that being said this area of the country seems to lack history. The inventory of the weekend was pretty empty, my hosts struggled to find activities to please my narrow mind, however we soon did find areas of interest, but due to cost I vetoed them.

This blog is all about my weekend, and what I learnt, and what my eyes saw.

The Weekend began picking up my friend who had been up visiting her Mother, and she would play the part of the sat nav. As you may know from other adventures in my car I am not the biggest fan of the M6, north and south bound, however travelling at a nice 60, to increase my MPG, keeping the rev’s under 3000 I enjoyed the drive. The M6 seemed to have disallowed any lorries or idiots on the road, and after two hours we arrived in the village where my friends had relocated to. The First night was spent drinking a box of cider followed by several cans, while watching my favourite of all past times, the wonderful act of comedy. The players were part of the Channel Four Gala, and to be fair, a lot of my comedians failed to feed my appetite for this enjoyable pastime.

With the morning I was treated to a cooked breakfast, and then it was on to decide what the day would bring. Now a lot of people would guess we would head to Warwick Castle, and we would have if it was not for the entry fee, of £36.00. We did find a castle only pass for £16.00 but even for me this was slightly too much to hand over, but we headed to Warwick anyway to have a look around the town. Now the town is very nice and there’s a rather nice church, I was trying to work out how old the church had stood for by looking at the gravestones, but all were dated after the 1800’s. There was however an interesting history with the Church, as it seemed that it use to have windows at ground level, that have now since been bricked up. This brick, looked new, but also looked worn which could suggest the windows being bricked up due the window tax which could date the church back to the 1700’s if not before.

From here, we looked at a possible wedding venue,(my friends are getting wed) which is connected to a later building I saw on my visit, but use to be an old hospital. With the castle being rejected by myself and I can understand some of the shock in reading that. Me rejecting seeing a castle, but even a lover of these buildings, the thought of entering a commercial castle, built for fun and attraction did not appeal, plus I’m a cheap skate. We did however move on to a toy shop, that had model trains at the back of the shop, and lots of discounted engines and carriages. How I wish I had room for my own train layout.

We quickly got back in the car, after I had almost orgasismed  at the train sets and off we set to Coventry. Now my friends did not want to return to this concrete town, as they found it boring with nothing there. I however wanted to experience the cathedral, and boy what a sight. The old bombed ruin stands in equal stance to the 1950’s concrete and coloured glass marvel. The rest of Coventry was nice, I think I have a thing for 50’s and 60’s architecture, especially when it is mixed in with that of Tudors or other classic designs.

Now we had already been to Coventry once today, as the first visit on the list of my friend’s place of work to see his theatre. I did joke that there really most be nothing to do, if we are sight-seeing a university, that is called Warwick, but is actually in Coventry. Luckily I don’t think they do a degree in geography.

Now while in Coventry I did spot a castle, an old style Motte and Bailey, I have included a picture of the evidence so you can all see the proof, and wonder why I got so excited by a patch of grass with nothing on it.

We then headed to the transport museum, which is really a car museum, or history of the motoring vehicle as opposed to a transport museum which I told them so on the feed back form. “Where were the trains, and canal boats” I wrote. However apart from seeing the land speed record-breaking car, and the Chopper, my first bike that I learnt to ride on… actually thinking about it I could have learnt on the Chipper??!!??, anyway apart from that there were two interesting pieces. The old style cars from the early 1900’s were good, but what was better was the old buses, and the double-decker bus test. I did not know this, but every bus is tilt tested to 28 degrees, to make sure it doesn’t fall. It’s little things like this, and my love of concrete modern towns and Castles that will help me remain single.

From Coventry we retired back to my friend’s home, and had Chinese, which took an age to get. Other people were coming into the shop, and getting their food orders quicker than us.

The next day we went to Stratford, to see a mutual good friend and their new addition to the family. There eldest had a Brio Train Set, which kept me entertained, along with the giant pop up book and touch and feel books.

We moved on to a castle, a castle that we walked around, but weren’t allowed in, even tho my friend had a sticker from when he last visited, he refused to hand it over for me to sneak in. Next time I’m going in as reading about Kenilworth its full of history, from Normans, to Tudors, through to the Civil war, and the reigns of the Georges, including the Lord who built the hospital in Warwick. It also looked immense, and extremely impressive.

After that there was just the very nice Sunday Lunch, with home-made gravy, and plenty of Coach Trip and Made in Chelsea which I feel my friend may now be hooked to as well.

The drive home was just as pleasant, a little bit rainy, but again, I did 60 m.p.h and got home in good time. In reflection it seems that Warwickshire is home to history, and a lot of Tudor houses for some reason and plenty of driving on the A46. But I didn’t go down to sight see. Well I did want some castles, canals, and trains, but I achieved the main purpose of the trip, and that was to spend time, and catch up with one of my best mates.

Motorways

I like driving. I love it and wished that I had persevered with it when I was seventeen, but alas I went to Manchester to study and found that I didn’t need to drive, or thought that it wasn’t needed.

Years went on and work came flooding in. Loving train travel I didn’t need to use a car, I was always busy and stayed in Manchester, until I lost out on a job due to not being able to drive. This was quickly followed by work drying up and the option was clear, learn to drive to increase the work I could apply for or become a fish struggling to stay alive in a water hole that was fast disappearing.

A year on I am now using my licence for work. I have in the past used it for little jobs just out of convenience and ease, but the work I am now involved in would have not been possible or would have been made near impossible if I travelled by my first love of the British Train System.

So in my little polo I am running up and down the country on all kinds of motorways and roads, and I love it. I wished I had learnt to drive sooner if not just for the cheap insurance and the ‘No-Claim Bonus’s’ I would have picked up by now, but also because I love it. Wales had nice roads, the Lakes do not. Well the A66 off from the M6 is nice.

But the true reason for this blog post is the stretch of roads where people seem to be allowed to drive, who have no or little experience of the task ahead of them. Now I would not say I am an experienced driver, but I feel I have enough miles under my belt and have driven motorways a lot (I do spend my life on them). I would also say I am a safe driver; I look at my MPG and plan ahead but I do also speed. Well most of the time…. there are occasions when I have slammed on the brakes. But all in all, I slow down at lights, change gear, just so I don’t have to stop, I leave a gap when stopping to pull out, and leave at least a car and half between myself and the driver in front.

So still I have failed to explain what the post is. It is simply people don’t know how to drive on motorways, and the way some are just boring. Within the blog I will be exploring those roads I love and those I love to hate. The other part of this blog has been inspired from my journey to Lancaster today and trip to Keswick but is a pressing issue that seems to happen to me quite a lot. Normally taking place on the A1/M1 to Newcastle, or the M60 from Stockport. That is the rain, and heavy rain. The kind of rain where the wipers are useless and the spray blocks any vision the wipers had cleared for you.

So what is it about this weather that upsets me so much? The actually question should be what do other drivers do to upset me. Most of it is what they do normally, but when it’s weather like this people should follow certain rules.

  1. Leave 3 times the space
  2. Have your lights on
  3. Indicate when pulling out or into lanes
  4. Don’t speed

Coming back from Keswick the other day there was heavy fog. I mean heavy, you couldn’t see the front of the bonnet, and travelling there I was lost in a warp of mist and heavy rain that clouded my vision. On both occasions people still sped past, neglected to have lights, be it dipped beams or fog lights on.

Today was a nightmare has people did not obey these simple rules, but even when the sun is out, people tend to be up your bumper or squeeze into the gape you have left between the car in front meaning you need to touch the brakes to increase your distance. People staying in the middle lane even when it is empty in the inside. I will admit at rush hour I will sit in the middle, but that’s because I can’t be bothered weaving in out because of the trucks but come the evening I with 60% of other users, will endeavour to use the motorway as it is intended. This lane hogging and refusal to move from your position is why I hate the M6 so much, and the M61 as well. The M25 is nice compared to the M6. So what are my best motorways and what are the worst ones. Well I enjoy those nice quite ones, or the ones that work like the M55/A55/M1/A1/M62/M66/M65 I hate those roads like the M60/M56/M67/A57, the junction by Leeds of the M62 and Newcastle on the A1 and M56 where the exits are also the slip roads onto the fast highway.

So apart from showing some more of my geekiest for love of motorways which I am becoming less fond of on a daily basis because of the sheer stupidity of other drivers. But if the weather behaves itself then there are several nice stretches of roads to place you foot to the pedal and sit back and enjoy the journey.

However this song and this band make me happy, so i thought I would leave you all with this.