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4:36pm on Tuesday, 30th December, 2008:

Up the A1


To get to Yorkshire, we usually drive up the A1. Today was no exception.

When I met my dad before Christmas to exchange presents, I also went up the A1 (because we met at the half-way point). There were some signs along the way where roadworks had been removed, that warned the speed limit was still in place for:

reasons of public safty

I didn't bother to blog it at the time, mainly because I forgot about it until the next day. I did mention it to my wife, though, so we were on the look out for the signs when we drove up today.

Disappointingly, though, they had been altered. They now warn that the speed limit is still in place for:

reasons of public safety

Damn those people with stickers!

(And why do they never sticker out the first letter of Scunthorpe on road signs? I would, if I had the right kind of sticker.)

For lunch, we went to Blyth Service Station, near Worksop. This used to be legendary among people travelling up and down the A1, for its utter awfulness. I remember stopping there once on a school trip to Wembley and deciding not to buy any food when I saw that the woman serving it was wearing slippers, had her hair in curlers, and was smoking. I sat with my friends, and one of them who had been foolish enough to order some soup found it delivered by an old woman who was also wearing slippers (odd ones), who was also smoking, and who had one eye closed like Popeye. Because I was hungry, I got a chocolate bar out of a machine: when I opened the wrpper, I found it was mottled with this white stuff I'd never seen on chocolate before and have never seen since.

Still, that was 35 years ago, and the original Blyth services has been closed down now. Instead, we have a new building on the other side of the road, so we thought we'd check it out. Regretably, it appears to be the spiritual successor to the original. Signs all over were advertising jacket potatoes, but when my daughter asked for one she was cheerily informed, "we don't have any jackets" as if she'd asked for devilled quail's eggs. She went for sausage and mash, of which the best that can be said is that the mash was filling. My wife and I had cottage pie, which, judging by the amount of hard bits in them, were made of real cottage. Maybe I'm getting a bit fussy in my old age, but I like my mince to be, you know, minced.

Oh well, it only cost about the same as four or five 10-inch pizzas from Pizza Hut...

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Copyright © 2008 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).