Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Larry's Last Day Of Christmas: The Journey Home

All too soon the time had come for me to leave Essex and return home to Dorset. I had had a wonderful time, and was truly sad to leave. However, the fun wasn't over yet.....

The drive from my Sisters house to my house takes no more than 4hrs, which includes a stop at the half way point - Fleet services. It is a very easy, and direct route: A127;M25;M3;A303;Home.

At least it should have been.

For some reason, on this occasion, my Sat Nav decided to take me on a tour of the old North Circular Road. At first I didn't notice - we all trust our Sat Navs, just like we all trust our fridges - they are the only appliance we leave on when we go on holiday. Soon, however, I was becoming concerned as the landscape I was driving through became less familiar. I knew that I should have been on the M25 by now, and had no idea where I actually was. I repeatedly asked my Sat Nav if it knew where it was going, and it assured me it did. I had my doubts.

Eventually I did get back onto the M25 - but not until I had popped over to see the M4 briefly. I don't know why my Sat Nav took me that way - perhaps it thought it knew a short cut. For whatever the reason, I was glad when I eventually reached Fleet services - even though it was HEAVING with travellers.

Not those sort of travellers - there wasn't lucky heather strewn across the car park, and thousands of cross-eyed toddlers with their ears pierced running around saying "Do you like dags?"

But there was lot of people at those services.

I fought my way through the hordes and got myself a Cappuccino and a Muffin. I thought there was a Costa at these services, but could only see a Starbucks. It wasn't the same. It was spelt differently for a start.

One cappuccino and muffin later, I was back on the road and looking forward to a much easier 2nd half of my journey home. However, it wasn't easy.

As worryingly diverse as the first half of my journey had been, the second half would be frustratingly slow. I was beset by delays almost as soon as I rejoined the M3. I am only on the M3 for a few miles before I take the A303, but today those few miles would take an age. I can't even tell you why we were queuing for ages, trickling along at a Snails pace. I passed no obvious scene of an accident, and there were no roadworks.

Eventually, I escaped the M3 and hit the A303. Now I could get moving!

No, I couldn't.

The A303 runs through Salisbury plain, where Stonehenge is. The stretch of road that runs past Stonehenge is notorious for queues and delays because apparently, this pile of ancient stones is so mystical that drivers have to slow down to gawp at it. Yet it is not that mystical to warrant actually visiting the site, paying the entrance fee and actually walking round it.

So a queue of slow driving, Stonehenge gawping idiots hampered my journey home. By the time I got home, I had been in the car for five and a half hours, and had angrily munched my way through one packet of Mr Tickle Jelly Chews, such was my frustration.

However, I had made it home - and the journey could not detract from what had been a wonderful week in Essex.

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