Sunday, October 22, 2006

London driving

Frankly, I'm not keen. I am fine on the motorway,but when I get into London three words keep playing over in my head - 'Swiss Cottage Roundabout'. I know that the way I come into London it is an unavoidable road junction, but oh god, it is so scary. Reidski having spotted I am a wimp in this situation (Cries of 'Oh my bloody god!' mixed with the occasional scream of terror seem to have given me away on that front.)is kind enough to come and meet me when he can before Swiss Cottage so that he can demonstrate his London Driver Credentials, and get us through that madness in one piece. After that, if he is happy to carry on driving I am not going to argue, especially as people are so incredibly impatient in London. Today he got hooted to hurry up when a light turned green as he took approximately half a second to put the car into gear. So anyway, thanks to Katy Newton for this inspirational tale of how to deal with ignorant road users, which I look forward to putting into practice when next in London traffic.

Except would I dare? Last night we went and saw Lets Zep, who are a truly brilliant tribute band. According to the posters at least, Robert Plant said of them, 'I walked into the concert hall and saw myself'. They were extraordinarily good although why someone who can play guitar like the Jimmy Page look-a-like can is not in his own band is just a mystery. Best bit of evening was watching Reidski's lad and his mate head banging away. Worst bit was getting to meet the lad's mum, also known as Reidski's ex, by a sheer piece of malevolent misfortune on the tube train on the way there. Not that she wasn't very nice, as she certainly was, but quite frankly one could have done with a bit of preparedness for such a first meeting to try and avoid the becoming a tongue tied gibbering idiot scenario that did in the event occur.

Back to the would I dare question.

As we left the concert a bloke some yards in front of us saw fit to throw a glass bottle over his head and it smashed into pieces. Luckily no one was hurt by the flying glass, but luck was the only thing that prevented that. Reidski told the twat in language that he would understand just exactly what he thought of him, and I found myself screaming at him that 'There are kids back here you moron.' Or words to that effect. And I was simultaneously advancing towards him to tell him in a more up close and personal way what I thought of his stupidity when I heard Reidski caution against it and I stopped. I suddenly realised that confronting a drunk who thinks nothing of throwing a glass bottle around might not be the wisest thing I had ever done.

So thinking about it, the next time I get hooted at by a little old lady in a 1975 Ford Capri Ghia, I will definitely 'have a word' Katy style. On second thoughts, I can see the headlines now -'Police hunt Septenarian Road Rage Killer'so maybe I just have to accept I am truly and deeply a wimp, and 'Get Out Of The F*$$£|^G Way.'


Lisa Rullsenberg said...

My ability to wander in where angels would run screaming is nigh legendary. Usually follwed by "Neil, why is that person advancing towards us looking to do us damage?"

... I'm not the smartest of social animals...

Anxious said...

Um, get the train to London instead?

I must say, I drove in London for years with no problems. It's when I moved to Somerset that I became terrified of driving - there are maniacs around here.

Reidski said...

I agree, it's when you get out of London that you realise how bad and rude drivers can be. As for London, there is an alternative view of drivers and that is about letting people pull in to the traffic, allowing traffic to join the queues and allowing buses to pull out. We're not all like that, but I like to think that London has more than it's fair share of polite and understanding drivers.

Now, let's get on to that arsehole who flung the bottle - I can still see his horrible drunken face in front of me and, with hindsight, I really wish I had decked him!

Gill said...

I can only drive on a road where there are 2 sheep in the middle.

Jim said...

I do believe Scotland does have a reputation for friendly considerate driving. Although I wouldn't know as thewife, who drives more than me is one of the worst silent road rage offenders I have encountered. If I didn't know better I could picture her in a Ford Capri Ghia. Now there was a a motor!

J.J said...

Lisa, there are maniacs out there.

Anxious, I much prefer the train, and in the week they are great, but weekends spell 'engineering works' and 'replacement bus service', and those two things together equal 'nightmare journey'. Country roads are scary for late night drinkers and ice. I hate them too!

Reidski, yes I concede there is a bit of give and take on London roads. But you do have your own unique version of the highway code. Where I live for example, red light means 'Stop!'

Gill, I always worry about suicidal sheep when driving in the Lake District

Jim, yes Scotish drivers are good. Lots of nodding,waving and stopping for a chat at passing places. Mrs TNR - road rager????Surely NOT!

Gill said...

They aren't suicidal, it something the tourist board arrange to stop you falling asleep on the M6.

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