Life without a Sat Nav

We have just returned from a long weekend in Norfolk, a place which will be forever remembered ( by me at least) as “no signs Norfolk”.  I don’t think I have ever driven so many miles without seeing signs to tell me either, how far to my destination, or even if I was going in the right direction after negotiating a T junction bereft of a sign to inform me if I should turn left or right.

The signlessness ( is that a word)? began when I turned off the A11 just north east of Newmarket onto the A1065 heading for Swaffham and at that point there is indeed a sign to indicate that I was travelling in the right direction but no clue as to the distance. Now in these days of the “sat nav” I still rely on my road map and therefore had a rough idea that it was about 25 miles. However, as I live in a fairly signfull ( I don’t think that’s a word either ) part of the country I would expect that over that sort of distance there would be 4 or 5 signs counting down the mileage to my destination, for example when I leave my home to go the Chichester the first sign I see tells me that it is 18 miles away and over that distance I am informed that it is now 15 miles then 10 miles then 5 miles etc; but on that 25 mile stretch of the A1065 there wasn’t a single sign to tell me how far I had to travel. This you may think ( that’s if anyone is reading this ) is purely accademic because if I carried on along the road I would eventually reach Swaffham which indeed I did, but by the time I got there I was starting to doubt my erstwhile super honed sense of direction. From Swaffham I then wanted the A47 to Dereham  a route which according to my afore-mentioned map I was to join at that point. Except there was no sign, and it wasn’t until I had travelled 3 miles in the direction of Kings Lynn that I realised I was going the wrong way.

Eventually we arrived at our destination, booked into our small but comfortable hotel and settled in for the next three nights. At this point it’s worth revealing that the reason for the trip was a christening and family get together in the tiny village of Great Dunham ( don’t ask why it was held there, it would take far too long to explain )  and  very happy occasion it was too. The little church in the village was built circa 1000 AD but on our recce to find the village we couldn’t be sure if it was the right church because ( you’ve guessed it ) there was no sign and it looked derelict which is hardly surprising after 1011 years however a friendly villager assured us that as it was the only church so we were home and dry.

After the christening and buffet lunch everyone went their  separate ways and we returned to our hotel in Dereham which I found quite easily because we’d been crafty and done the recce. The following day we went to Norwich and the signs to get there were surprisingly comprehensive but once there trying to get out was a different matter, there were signs for Gt Yarmouth,Cromer, Lowestoft and even Ipswich, there were signs hidden by tree branches and walls but not a single sign for Dereham and I couldn’t simply retrace my steps because of the one way system. So after what seemed lile a global circumnavigation I decided to take the “wimps” way out and ask for directions. The kindly person who  helped me wasn’t a Norfolkian or a Norwichian, he was in fact from the sub continent and having visited India a couple of times myself I can well imagine him feeling quite at home in a place with a serious lack of signs.

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Roll up! Roll up!

The other day I was lazily watching people passing by in the street and finding it quite interesting how disparately they were attired. It was a nothing kind of day, not too hot nor too cold (possibly mid teensC) nor was it wet or windy and yet I was surprised at the way passers by were dressed.

In those prevailing conditions I would probably have worn something light, maybe chinos and a shirt or a lightweight sweater or jacket but the general mix was surprisingly varied. I saw people in shorts and tee shirts, jeans and sweatshirts, fleeces and anoraks (one with hood up), the odd wooly hat and a multitude of baseball caps (some of which were inevitably worn back to front) and there was even a man in a trenchcoat complete with hat and scarf. Interspersed among all those were of course all the different sporting type tops (usually worn by very unfit looking people) along with jogging bottoms and training shoes.

The thing which struck me the most about the wearers of shorts and teeshirts, was the amount of tattoos on display and I wondered if this mode of dress is a “look at my tattoos” statement as opposed to a”phew! it’s really hot so I’ll wear shorts and teeshirt” statement? I’ve even seen shorts or those short/longs  being worn on days when brass monkeys would be diving for cover all to display the above mentioned indelible art work and it’s not just the men!!

In my younger days every Whitsuntide, (that’s now Spring bank), there used to be a Fun Fair in the local market  place where I lived and along with all the various rides, coconut shies etc; there would be little kiosks where for a small fee,  (I think it was tuppence) you could guess somebodys weight see the fat man or even the tattooed lady!! I never paid this princley sum myself but had I done I would now be quite miffed at having had to shell out the price of some candyfloss or a toffee apple to see something I can see for nothing every time I people watch.

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Oh No!!!

Having just read an article that the world is due to come to an end very soon, I must admit I’m a tad upset.

According to a certain Mr Harold Camping (aka carry on) ( get it)?  the world will end at 1800 hrs on the 21st of May this year EEK!! does he not realise that I have planted lots of stuff in my garden which will be nowhere near ready for cropping by the 21st so what should I do? He goes on to say that a chosen few will go up to heaven and the rest of us are doomed to the pits of hell. But wait, he doesn’t say how the few will be chosen, maybe I’ll be one of them and will be able to nip back down and pick my runner beans when they are ready.

Mr Camping claims to have thousands of listeners to his myriad of radio stations which are situated world wide broadcasting in numerous languages (funny, until I read this article I’d never heard of him) and for a “fee” you can tune in and listen to his programmes. The size of the “fee” isn’t mentioned but the article does state that his organisation is worth $120 million.

The secret of the exact date of the apocalypse has been worked out by Mr Camping himself after extensive study of the bible revealed hitherto unknown secret codes pointing out the real meaning of biblical prophecy.  He then used a mathematical equation in conjunction with these prophecies and came up with this earth shattering news.

Why did no-one tell me this before? I spent all those years going to Sunday school and this was never mentioned, I was told that if I was good, I would go to heaven, so I’ve really tried my best follow that advice, but now I find that some multi millionaire in the good old US of A is going to hand pick a chosen few who will be the only ones allowed to join him there.

I was beginning to feel rather despondent about the whole situation until I got towards the end of the article only to read that Mr Camping had actually been wrong before about his timing of the  arrival of the horsemen, but just so that I can hedge my bets, if there’s anyone reading this who is one of the chosen few, please will you come and pick my lettuce and tomatoes, I don’t want them to go to waste.

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The injuction is mightier than the pen!

It would appear that the tabloid press is not best pleased, that the rich and famous are spending part of their vast wealth, taking out injunctions to stop said “gutter press” from printing details of their private lives. It would also appear that, if rich enough, one can actually take out a “super” injunction which makes it illegal for the press to even say there is an injunction!!!!!!!

Personally I couldn’t care less what  premiership footballers or  tv celebrities get up to behind their spouses backs and the fact that if these extra marital relationships get reported in the press, actually sells papers amazes me. Why are the public interested in this nonsense? Most of the tabloids I have seen (usually while at the barbers) can hardly be described as “newspapers”  simply because they are totally devoid of any news, just mainly full of chit chat and opinion.

Are the “great British public” so lacking in interest and excitement in their lives that they will spend money to buy a publication which prints details of the peccadilloes of people they don’t know, have never met, or are unlikely to ever meet and not only that, invent scenarios which are published on the internet naming (wrongly) people who are supposed to be involved in this nonsense? Frankly I’d rather take the dog for a walk, do some gardening or learn some lines. Alas though I know I’m in a minority,or the press Barons wouldn’t be mega rich it’s obvious somebody buys enough of this “pap” to swell their coffers, but I really do think that more people should ” get a life” open their eyes and realise………..That the Emperor has no clothes on!!!!!

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Just as I was beginning to think that “better offer” was the only reader of my ramblings, I have come to realise that they must be on the “must read” list of the highways agency. In a recent venting of my frustrations “see man having trouble with umbrella”I was hyper critical of a certain junction in Woodingdean, now lo and behold, having navigated through said junction yesterday evening (in very light traffic) I see that my suggestions for this junction are being followed to the letter!!! Oh the power of the internet and HURRAH! for blogging, from now on( when the road works are finished and the temporary traffic lights are no more) the driver will be able to UNDERTAKE at this junction because a few feet have been cut from the grass verge and another lane opened.

Does this mean that my humble words are being noticed? or will people think that I already knew of this major change(improvement) to this junction? Either way, as long as I don’t have to queue halfway back to Falmer has got to be a plus. But hang on a second, the thought has just occurred to me…. there is a football stadium nearing completion in Falmer so have the powers that be now realised that to get all the fans away from the stadium smoothly and without long tail backs at Woodingdean something has to be done? Oh the power of football especially now the “seagulls”are in the Championship. well at least there’s less frustration for the humble motorist,

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World War 3

When George (dubya) Bush and Tony Bliar (no typo there) decided to invade Iraq, they reasoned that the invasion was justified because Saddam had “weapons of mass destruction” some of which were undoubtably chemical weapons, but as it turned out, these so-called “womd” were non-existent.

This begs the question, what would G (dubya) think if he visited any of our garden centres or hardware stores where it seems to me that there are enough chemicals on sale to start World war 3, the array of products on sale is quite frankly astonishing.These toxic potions with names like Weedol, Zapol, Killol, Burnol, Desroyol, and Slaughterol would, if used by everyone on a regular basis, denude our gardens of all living creatures including the birds which would have no insects left to feed on.

The same applies to the plant foods, we have a myriad of choices such as, Growol, Supergrowol, Megagrowol, and Safeforanimalsandchildrenol, all of which are guaranteed to make your veg grow faster, greener and stronger than the plants in the warm and moist Amazon rainforest!!!

What did we do before all these chemicals were available? Well for the ubiquitous house fly there was the fly swatter ( we still have one) which works perfectly well, whereas these aerosol thingys can be quite noxious.  I remember once being in a kitchen where a meal was being plated, the worktops were covered in  goodies of all kinds, suddenly, a fly appeared and without more ado mine hostess grabbed an aerosol and proceeded to chase the fly around letting loose enough toxicity to destroy a platoon of soldiers wearing gas masks and at the same time completely oblivious of the spray going onto the food she had been preparing. I have even seen spiders being sprayed with aerosols, now correct me if I’m wrong here, but don’t spiders KILL flies???

Ah yes but! I hear you say, if it wasn’t for the pesticides and herbicides we wouldn’t be able to grow anything!!! Well my answer to that is, look no further than the bees. No bees means no pollinating,which means nothing grows anyway. So lets be careful  what we ZAP with our sprays because after all we managed before all this toxic stuff was available. Well we must have done or we wouldn’t be here would we?



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Man having trouble with umbrella!!

Over the past 17 years or so I have made numerous journeys along the A259. First to Brighton (where my daughter lived) then to Hove (when she moved) and latterly to saltdean (after another move).

Now, I reckon ( and this is a conservative estimate) that on 85% of those journeys I have been held up by one form of road works or another. This road has to be the most worked upon road I have ever used. The term “worked upon” is relative because most of the time the road is dug up, nobody seems to be working upon it.

I always groan in exasperation when I see the dreaded road works sign (you know the one I mean, it looks like the silhouette of a man struggling with an umbrella) or the temporary traffic lights especially when the lights aren’t working or are calibrated to let dozens of cars through travelling in the opposite direction and only five or six through in my direction of travel. The calibration has usually been changed for my return journey giving the exact reverse of what I had to suffer on the way there.

Now you might say (some have) that the clever way to Saltdean is along the A27 to Falmer, over to Woodingdean, down to Rottingdean and “voila” only a short stretch of A259 to negotiate. Do not for one instant think I have not tried it, but unfortunately that means I have to negotiate the Broadwater, Lyons farm area (see the blog,”traffic chaos gets a green light” written by Better offer) or drive along the A259 and up to the A27 through Lancing. After that apart from a few sections of highway where ones life is threatened by maniacs it’s usually plain sailing (or driving).

However we then have the traffic light controlled junction in Woodingdean. Now this junction has obviously been carefully thought out and thoroughly planned, to give the maximum amount of frustration to the motorist. I have on numerous occasions been stuck in a queue stretching half way back to Falmer because of said junction. The problem is, that traffic turning right towards Brighton has to wait for the traffic coming up the hill from Rottingdean before making the turn ( I applaud this obvious safety measure) then there is a filter allowing three or four vehicles to turn right, so “what causes the holdup?” you may ask. Well the traffic going straight on down the hill towards Rottingdean can’t undertake the cars waiting to turn right because the road at that point is too narrow by a matter of two or three feet and to make matters worse on that left hand side there is a grass verge between the road and the footpath which is about ten feet wide and a bollard sticking out. This problem could be resolved by taking two or three feet off the grass verge, moving the bollard back by the same distance so that it ends up in the same position in relation to the verge and footpath, thus allowing cars to undertake.

The problem with that of course is that it would mean more road works (or even a temporary traffic light) lasting for a few months. Ah well! Hobsons choice I suppose, but it would be nice to arrive in Saltdean calm and less stressed no matter which route I had taken.


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