ALL ROADS LEAD TO NOWHERE…
Rick takes a trip… or tries to.
There is a conservative estimate that there are 1,300,000 traffic cones on UK roads. There is also a conservative estimate that I’ve seen most of them. If only I could insert them into the rear ends of those responsible for them.
Travelling by road is the lifeblood of all musicians and much of that travelling is done at night or in the early hours of the morning. I will now relate a true story about my journey home from a show in the West Country last year that had a simple four-hour route of going up the A303, joining the M3, down to and around the M25 to the M11 then onto the A11, turning off at Bury St Edmunds to get home.
Reaching the A303 it was blocked off with ROAD CLOSED signs on the barrier and a diversion. Never mind, I thought, it’ll take me down to Southampton and I can join the M3. Adds a few miles, but hey-ho…
True, it took me to the M3, but that was barriered off with diversion signs heading north. Never mind, I thought, I’ll end up at the M4 somewhere and head east.
That diversion took me to the M4 which was also closed. Never mind, I thought. I’ll get up to the M40 and head down to the M25.
I got diverted through villages, swamps, housing estates and cart tracks and finally ended up on the road from Cheltenham which took me into Oxford, which had loads of temporary roundabouts made out of cones with absolutely no diversion signs anywhere.
By now it was four am. I went around a cone roundabout twice and took what I thought was a way out. Then I stopped. Partly because I had no idea where I was and nor did the Sat Nav. Also the flashing blue lights were a bit of distraction.
“Good morning, sir,” said the policeman as he stuck his head through my driver’s side window. “And where are you going?”
“I’m trying to go home to Norfolk. I started down on the coast south of Southampton.”
“Your best route would’ve been the A303, sir.” “Closed.”
“Well, the M3 then.”
“Then the M4.”
“Closed. That’s why I’m looking for the M40.”
“That’s closed, I’m afraid.”
“Can you tell me how I can get home, please?”
By this time his partner had joined him from the police car.
“Could you tell me when you had your last drink of alcohol, please?” “August 5, 1985.”
He looked at me, bewildered.
“In that case, sir, it should have cleared your system by now.”
I blew into the intoximeter, or whatever it’s called.
“Zero,” he said. His partner laughed.
“Okay,” he said. “Follow us, we’ll get you onto the M40. It’s closed but there’s no roadworks so you’ll have the road to yourself. It’s open at High Wycombe, you exit there. You might catch the morning rush at Heathrow, though.”
I got home at 9.30am, had a shit, shower and shave and left for the next show at 10.30…
“I got diverted through villages, swamps, cart tracks…”