The everyday blog of Richard Bartle.

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5:15pm on Tuesday, 2nd October, 2018:



I went to London today for a meeting, along with three of my colleagues. They were getting on the train at Wivenhoe.

I could have got on the train at Wivenhoe, too, because I was visiting my mother first thing and she's only about 15 minutes away. However, I would have had trouble parking and would have had to come back to Wivenhoe, too. I therefore decided to join them on the train when it stopped at Colchester.

So, I left my mother's with about 50 minutes to drive something like ten miles. The queue to get onto the main road wasn't bad at all, and when I got onto the dual carriageway I breezed along until maybe a mile from the exit. Then, both lanes slowed to a crawl.

The problem is that one of the main traffic roads in Colchester, Cowdray Avenue, is being widened. It's being widened because it's a bottleneck. Closing off two lanes in order to widen it makes it even more of a bottleneck. Turning two double mini-roundabouts into two roundabouts makes it worse. People are avoiding it. They're going on the A12 instead. The queue to join the A12 from the direction I was coming had backed up and was now over a mile long.

Still, plenty of time. I could have walked to the train station from where I was and still made it. Sadly, I was in my car, not walking, and the traffic was slow slow slow. I got off the dual carriageway and joined the cars of people going to work or dropping their offspring off at school. The minutes ticked away. I watched as traffic lights changed and our line didn't move.

Eventually, I got close enough that I could see the trains at the station, including the one I was supposed to be getting on (when the one my colleagues were on came up behind and was coupled to it). Getting to the station was another exercise in patience, and not getting out of the car and shouting at the person blocking us all off who had decided that the keep-clear, yellow cross-hatched lines didn't apply to him.

I finally got to the station, ran (yes, ran) to buy a ticket , found there was no queue (well there would have been if I hadn't run in front of someone else heading for the ticket booth), purchased my return (quite hard when out of breath) and then ran for the train.

I made it just in the nick of time. It was 8:37 and the train was due to leave at 8:38.

Huh. It turned out there'd been a lineside fire at Bethnal Green and the train was cancelled. I took another train ten minutes later and met my colleagues at Stratford.

If I'd been late, of course, there would have been no lineside fire at Bethnal Green. It's good to have that kind of power.

When I got off the train on the journey home, there was a man being fined for not having a ticket. He was complaining that it was unfair he'd been stopped two days in a row. The ticket inspector said, "That's because you didn't have a ticket yesterday either".

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Copyright © 2018 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).