Margaret Gow: Gloomy weather and misery on the roads

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Well, I reckon it’s the end of summer as we have hardly known it – yet again I haven’t used the lovely patio furniture, and the garden is dripping gloomily with more moss in the lawn than ever.

There are loads of berries, yet the birds are sensibly staying put for the time being and I am wondering if they know more about the coming winter than we do; remember that old “saw” that a glut of berries means a hard one to come?

Indeed, for some there won’t be either berries or leaves by the time you read this if the weather forecasts were right last weekend.

If that were not enough, the clocks have gone back (the only good thing was that extra hour in bed last Saturday) and dark nights are with us once more.

Fortunately, I don’t have to drive very much these days, but I can’t help noticing the state of our roads and – remembering my course – signs in our area. I am not sure who is responsible for the ones leading from the A1 both north and south on to the B668, but they are an absolute disgrace except for the jaunty new additions for Kendrew Barracks.

The one under the A1 is new, but the other two have developed a dainty pink background and are hard to read in daylight. At night they may as well be in Chinese.

On this particular route the advance of the cable burying has been long-winded, and since it is a major police and ambulance route for the A1, has caused a great deal of chaos.

Both Cottesmore and Greetham have been almost in a state of siege lately with hardly any means of escape!

I had occasion to go to Northampton last month, and wonder how those who have to travel to work between there and Corby remain sane, given the amount of roadworks and density of traffic. The A43 is a misery.

A few years ago when improvements were announced, many drivers had hoped for passing places to be put in place: instead, two new roundabouts were installed which no doubt helped those wishing to turn on and off to villages but did nothing to alleviate the dreariness of travelling in convoy behind enormous lorries and – usually – oncoming vehicles appearing when overtaking was possible.

And just don’t ask about the route to Northampton city centre! Wellingborough used to be determined to throw people out on a virtual centrifuge: nowadays they, Northampton and Grantham seem determined to keep visitors corraled. Thank goodness the latter has a 
bypass, as the one-way system must be a nightmare for long vehicles.

Talking of bypasses, will somebody tell me why Oakham’s is set at 40mph when for nearly all of it runs through open countryside, whereas Northampton’s, entirely enclosed by buildings, is set at 50 mph?

Perhaps it’s a plot to entrap more of us into paying fines and, yes, I know I have a bone to pick, but it makes you wonder . . .

One last thing: I beg of all you drivers to remember you have a thing called a handbrake.

If you use it at junctions and traffic lights, it will be kinder to those poor devils following you in that you won’t be blinding them with the fairy lights all around the rear of your modern car.

We can flip our mirrors to darken the headlights of those following us, but nobody seems to care a fig about the dazzle from those in front! “Do as you would be done by”. Please!

And remember to wave ‘thank you’ to those who pull in for you to pass. It’s called “Good manners”.