Sunday, August 19, 2007

Things that get my goat

Driving into town yesterday, to do the weekly shop, the Horse Doctor and I found ourselves stuck behind a caravan. There's nothing particularly unusual about that, especially at this time of year.

I've never been able to understand the caravanning mentality - why pay a fortune for an unwieldy box on wheels to tow around the countryside when there are hotels pretty much everywhere? The cost of even a mid-range caravan would cover a family staying in far greater luxury over several years worth of holidays. But that aside, I have come to accept these foibles, quirks and eccentricities that make us different and interesting.


This caravan exhibited much of the characteristics for which the breed is so universally derided. It was tootling along at maximum of forty miles an hour, and it was sticking resolutely to the middle of the road, thus making overtaking impossible. This again I can accept - albeit grudgingly. The road isn't particularly wide between here and Aberystwyth, and it twists and turns like a twisty-turny thing.
I did, eventually, manage to overtake on the long straight through Pantycrug*, and carried on at a more decent pace until I came to Capel Seion. Here, because I am a law-abiding subject and also because I know the police like to lurk in the hedgerow with their speed-trap cameras, I slowed down to the regulated thirty miles per hour.

It takes only a couple of minutes to get through the village at this speed. By the time I was approaching the far side, the car towing it's caravan had caught up and was so close behind me I could see reflected in my mirror the startled expressions on the faces of the bugs splattered over its headlights. It was weaving in and out, too, as if trying to build up the courage to overtake, impatient at being slowed from it's regulation forty miles per hour.


This has happened to me before, and it's not just caravans that do it. Quite often it's little old ladies who think that they're the safest drivers in the world because they never go faster than forty. I've heard them tell stories about how dreadful the police are for stopping them, and how they should be out there catching real criminals, not persecuting the innocent. Point out to them that they were breaking the law and the internal conflict causes their heads to explode.

These are the same people who think that they are careful drivers because they automatically indicate whenever they make a turn - then can't accept the blame for driving into the bicyclist, pedestrian, truck or tree they failed to notice. According to the Highway Code, you should only indicate an intended manoeuvre if there is someone who needs to be given that indication. Putting on the flashers to turn left off an empty road is a waste of time and suggests that you're not paying attention to what you're doing.

It's a petty thing to get riled about, I know. And I'm not exactly blameless when it comes to driving, as last Monday's tired motorway dash proves. But at least I knew I was tired, even if I chose not to do anything about it. Yesterday's annoying caravanner was not intending to speed through the village, he was oblivious to it, unaware of how fast he was going and wrapped up in his own little world far removed from the several tonnes of steel and plastic of which he was meant to be in control.

He was, in short, thoughtless, and so he gets my goat.



* which sounds like something you need moist toilet tissue for, but is in fact pronounced pant-uh-creeg and means heather hollow.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Gabriele C. said...

Eek, don't get me started on vans and bad drivers. I want to have a machine gun mounted on the front of my car. :)

August 20, 2007 8:23 pm  
Blogger Gabriele C. said...

Back too, now I come think of it.

August 20, 2007 8:24 pm  
Blogger JamesO said...

At the risk of mentioning the war, Gabriele, my dad always used to refer to caravans as Messerschmits when we were kids. Overtaking them was 'shooting them down,' and we used to all shout 'Die, Nazi!' as we roared past.

Come to think of it, the seventies is probably why they invented political correctness.

August 20, 2007 10:43 pm  
Blogger Gabriele C. said...

And life was a lot more fun without political correctness.

August 21, 2007 2:16 pm  

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