Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Random thoughts from a long road trip

Today's recipe, Aloo Gobi, is going to have to wait until tomorrow. I'm too knackered to work out where I put the recipe book.

In the last 30-odd hours, I've driven 554 miles for work, split 230 + 10 yesterday and 130 + 180-odd today. On the minus side, I couldn't find another Terry Pratchett book on CD to listen to so had to get something else; on the plus side I've clocked up over £230 mileage allowance.

The trip was mainly a show-my-face PR stunt at Site, followed by a meeting in the Manchester office (130-odd miles away on the other coast of Britain to Site).


The poppies are out. Particularly yesterday morning, several fields were completely covered in them. They look exactly like some of the illustrations in the Country Diary Book of Crafts, which I always thought were too garish until I saw them in real life.


Unable to get a Pratchett that I don't already own, and unable to replace my old copies on tape with copies on CD (I'm stuck in limbo with the taped ones), I purchased Torchwood - Another Life at the bookshop on Saturday. Quite a good book, although obviously set before the second series was written.

It lasted the journey up so this morning I listened to Radio 5. It might be talk radio but unlike most of the music radio stations, the presenters don't equate being cruel with being funny. Ever wonder why Capital Radio declined after Chris Tarrant retired? It's mainly because his replacement, Johnny Vaughan, thinks being nasty about someone is funny.


Thank God for Test Match Special this afternoon. I listened to the cricket all the way home: England versus the West Indies. (England won.) TMS is a national institution and has been broadcast for the last 50 years. Their whole ethos is to recreate the effect of a group of friends sitting around at a cricket match chatting and giving a running commentary to their mate who's gone to the bar/tea tent/toilets/is blind. It works, too.

The presenters have their own special group of fans, mainly women, who deliver an endless supply of homemade cakes and snacks. Doesn't matter which country they're in (TMS follow England to matches around the world), a cake will miraculously appear at the door of the commentary box with a note from one of their admirers.


Somewhere along the M62 between Leeds and Manchester is a sign which proudly proclaims it to be "Britain's Highest Motorway" at 1228 feet. How sad is that? 1228 feet is nothing to boast about - I'm sure the Hume Freeway in Australia goes over double that height on it's way over the Great Divide (if not triple), and there are dozens of main roads in the US that do the same.


I love the M6 Toll Road outside Birmingham. Yes, it now costs £4 each way, but it cuts at least an hour (if not 2) off the drive from the North West. You can go the old way down the M6, which is free, but it just isn't worth the hassle. Average journey time for me to travel the toll road is 30 minutes, complete with a toilet break at the services.

About half way along is the Lichfield Canal Aquaduct. As far as I can tell, it's still a disconnected trough designed to hold the canal but without a connection to either side. It's one of my Seven Wacky Wonders of the World (no, I don't really have a list).


To keep going on the drive home, I drank a can of Red Bull. Yes, it works as a kick-start, but it's disgusting stuff. It may give other people wings, but it always gives me heart-burn. However, it was either that or take a second dose of Thyroxin.

- Pam

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