The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.

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4:26pm on Monday, 1st March, 2010:



Today's post is about mud. No, not that kind, this kind.

Today, I had to go to the supermarket and Colchester in the morning, then to the university for lunch and my lecture. I calculated that I should arrive at the university at about 12:15, when there would be spaces in the car park (people going home after morning lectures or to have lunch). 11-12 is the worst time to try to park, so I didn't want to get there in that window.

As it happened, I couldn't go to the supermarket because the road was flooded. There was a van there towing vehicles out. As a result, I went to the local shop instead, which was quicker (and didn't have everything I wanted). This meant I got to Colchester earlier, left Colchester earlier, and arrived at the university at 11:45. Oh great.

Well, as luck would have it, after driving around a bit I spotted a parking space under a tree. It would mean getting hit by branches, but hey, it was a parking space. I took it.

I knew as soon as I stopped that I could be in trouble.

The overflow car park has been closed for a couple of months because it got so boggy that the unicersity's Estates section got tired of towing vehicles free and invoked some general "health and safety" excuse to shut it down. This never bothered them in the past but apparently it does now. Closing an overflow car park doesn't mean the vehicles that previously used it would be kept at home, though. No, they had to find other places to park. Just like the overflow car park, these too got turned into mudbaths.

Where I parked was such a mudbath. It had special slots for wheels to go in where they couldn't get out. I was hoping it might have dried up by the time I needed to leave, but it hadn't.

It was 25 minutes before my vehicle was free. After trying to push it out myself, and spinning the wheels with various pieces of rubble and vegetable matter underneath them, all to no effect, I was beginning to think that I may have to use my weapon of last resort — put the rubber floor mats under the wheels. I did this once about 15 or 20 years ago and it works, but it doesn't do the floor mats a lot of good so I was reluctant to try it. Fortunately, a couple came along to help, and even more fortunately a passing student joined in. By rocking the car, they were able to push it forward, and I could then drive under the tree and over virgin grass to turn round and get out.

So: one grassy car park becomes a mudbath; they close it; people park on grass elsewhere; that also becomes a mudbath. I wonder what they'll try next? I can see we're going to end up parking on the roads...

Referenced by Unsustainable Sustainability.

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Copyright © 2010 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).