Monday, 9 August 2010
We've gone on holiday by mistake
As a non-driver, I am always navigator, and am generally told I do a pretty bang-up job. However, on this trip, I failed to take into account some of the local hazards. To start with, it seemed as if the drivers of every kind of large vehicle had collectively decided to test their skills in very narrow roads. We encountered dustbin lorries, caravans, buses, coaches, tractors, wide loads of hay, a cement mixer and even a vintage steam roller on tow.
By the time we got there, Mr Kitsch was already a bit frazzled. But after a short rest, he said he was up for a jaunt, and as it was the middle of the afternoon by this time, we decided not to go far - just to the local sights of Clatworthy Reservoir and Wimbleball Lake. At first, driving through all the country lanes was a joy - rosebay willow herb in flower on the high hedges, and the occasional glimpse of a valley through a gate.
Every millimetre on the map turned into miles. As I was map-reader, the others kept asking hopefully if we were near home, and I had to reply, "No... just a little bit further," and watch their tired and wan faces collapse back into hopelessness. The sun started sinking and we thought wistfully of the Chinese takeaway we planned to have, as we toiled round each blind bend and 1-in-5 hill. When we finally got back to Wiveliscombe, you would think we had completed a round-the-world trip, the relief was so immense.
It says a lot for the resilience of the human spirit, that the next day, Mr Kitsch was still willing to drive the hour and a half to Woolacombe and then to Ilfracombe. "The roads are much better" I told him, and he believed me. To be fair, a lot of the roads were better, but there are still a lot of A-roads that shrink to a bus width in places. It was still a roller-coaster, and this time we were coming back in total darkness.