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9:14am on Wednesday, 13th September, 2017:



Having driven back to Essex from Yorkshire on Monday, I drove back to Yorkshire from Essex on Tuesday. It's the annual conference of the IGGI Doctoral Training Centre, being held this year at the university of York. Hence, I'm in York.

The drive was quite exciting. The hotel doesn't have a car park, but instead has a discount for a nearby public car park. That car park closes at 10pm. It's a 4-hour drive from Colchester to York (230 miles), and I had an MSc oral to attend from 4pm-5pm. Add half an hour to fill in the forms for this, and I didn't set off until 5:30pm. Still plenty of time to get to York before 10pm, though.

I ignored the satnav's pleas to send me via Stansted, and went via Ipswich instead. There were no hold-ups, and it was a good choice. The Stansted route has a beast of a roundabout to negotiate, plus hefty queues as you get closer to Cambridge.

When I drove up to Yorkshire on Friday, I missed a turn. The A14 is one of those roads where you have to turn off it to keep on it; I didn't turn off it, and consequently wound up taking the back road into which it matamorphosised. Yesterday, I didn't make the same mistake: I turned of when I was supposed to turn off. I wish I hadn't, as I was immediately greeted by mile after mile of 40mph speed limits, something to do with building a new junction so that in 5 years' time the A14 won't turn off itself any more.

I was still well within schedule to get to York before 10pm, though, and powered up the A1 on cruise control at 70mph, despite the best efforts of Storm Aileen to stop me. Well, that was until it stopped someone else ahead of me. I don't know quite what happened, but traffic suddenly stopped and remained stationary for 40 minutes. Then, it just started up again. I had no phone signal so the cause remained unknown.I could have got out and asked the truckers what the word on the CB radio was (which one woman did), but I didn't want to get wet.

My satnav was now telling me I'd arrive at 10:20. I within-the-speed-limit-sped off, and there were no more delays. Every so often, the satnav would knock off another minute, until I was 10 miles from York and it was telling me I'd get there at 10:02. I knew the clock was fast, so it might be more like 10pm, but then I maybe the car park had a fast clock too.

I was maybe 300 metres from my destination when I reached Micklegate Bar through York's city wall. It's being repaired. There are panels and ll sorts round the base, making the road underneath so narrow I wasn't sure I could make it. I had to go through, though, so went for it. I'd come at it at a slight angle, so had to slow right down to strighten up, then made my left turn and followed the road round to the car park.

The car's clock said 10:02. My watch said 9:58.

The barrier raised, and I was let in.

I think I'll take the bus to the university from here.

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Copyright © 2017 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).