Being Driven Round the Bend

There’s nothing like a bad traffic jam to bring out the worst in people. Today I spent five hours in the car covering a distance that should have taken three and a half hours. There was an accident on the M5 (allegedly, though I saw no evidence of this when I passed the police cordon after spending forty five minutes at a complete standstill), and by the time I pulled off the motorway for a much needed caffeine fix it’s fair to say my mood was considerably damper than it had been when I embarked upon my journey.

Back on the motorway the “accident” cleared and I was on my way, practically tasting the delicious freedom at my disposal. Unfortunately, however, an urgent toilet break at Exeter  that saw me crossing three lanes of traffic without properly completing my mirror, signal, manoeuvre procedure led to a rather offensive dressing down via the medium of sign language from an irate man in the car beside me. And so the journey continued.

After what felt like an age I pulled off the final dual carriageway and began making my way through the country lanes towards my destination. It was at this point that the road in front of me was blocked again; this time with sheep rather than people. This was not, it’s fair to say, to be my day.

Thankfully I did eventually reach my destination, a place I have no intention of leaving for the next thirty six hours until it’s time to drive back up to Heathrow for my flight to Hong Kong on Sunday. Read that and weep abusive driver….

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The BK lounge (and Starbucks drive-thrus)

If you’ve never heard of Dane Cook then I urge you, right now (or perhaps after you’ve read this post), to open your web browser and type “Dane Cook BK Lounge into your browser.” Once you’ve listened to the audio clip the search throws up you may return here to profusely thank me for the recommendation (listen to his other clips too, he’s a funny guy) so I will say in advance that you’re most welcome. De nada. No really, it was nothing.

So anyway, on the topic of drive-thrus (I refer you back to the above so you will understand the reference), I was today amazed to find a Starbucks drive thru at a motorway service station. Not just amazed but somewhat thrilled, given that not half an hour previously I had remarked they really should be drive-thru coffee shops besides motorways for weary travellers who just needed a quick pick me up without the fuss of a proper stop off (clearly I have the mind of a forward thinking marketeer).

Despite having obviously made a fanfare of this ground breaking new development (as evidenced by the array of green and white balloons around the entrance) Starbucks had failed to do one very important thing: Signpost the drive=thru for the humble, tired and caffeine deficient motorist to easily find. By the time we found it we had circled the normal Starbucks cafe twice, driven around the car park for five minutes and taken a wrong turn at the petrol station which nearly saw us crash into an eighteen wheeled truck. Then when we did finally locate the drive thru entrance the muppet in front of us took exception to his beverage and spent a further five minutes admonishing the teenage boy serving at the hatch, whose excitement at landing the job was clearly waning by the second.

In short, it probably would have taken half the time to park up and go into the Starbucks in the service station. But when the boy handed over our iced coffees with a beaming smile and we pulled effortlessly back onto the motorway all was forgiven. “What a great idea,” I said. “If only I’d thought of that.”