Yesterday, I met up with a friend for lunch and our venue was to be a nice garden centre that was fairly equidistant between our respective homes.
I set off a bit earlier than I needed to because I am a cautious traveller and arriving late for appoitments and dates is one of my bugbears and flying by the seat of my pants is another. I thought I would have a bit of a potter around whilst waiting for my friend to arrive, maybe check out any seasonal planting that could be added to my growing collection of plants out the front of the house. Also, it was a beautiful day weatherwise - warm, sunny and just right for admiring the colours of Autumn in a leisurely drive across the countryside.
How could this day trip idyll possibly go wrong?
I'll tell you how...
...I set off, window down, mood up 😃, singing along to the radio. Out of town, through a nice little village called Boxley, up the hill (careful on that dogleg corner!) and onto the flat and...
"ROAD CLOSURE AHEAD - FOLLOW DIVERSION."
Okay. Well, my sense of direction is pretty non-existent. My natural instinct is always to turn left which is not good if you want to travel in directions other than circular, but hey! There were going to be diversion signs to follow. It'd be fine. I still had plenty of time. I was driving in the countryside. No panic.
There was ONE diversion sign. Very soon, my journey became diversionsignless. I knew roughly where I was...until a roundabout appeared signposted in three directions to places full of housing estates and traffic and did I know where I was going? Ha! I did not!
I took the first turning, drove, literally, around the houses and landed back at the same roundabout. I took the next turning, drove around another set of housing estates and landed back at the roundabout. I took (yup, you guessed it!) the final turning. Travelled round some more houses, spotted a sign to a shopping centre I recognised to be near the garden centre, followed the sign to that then...
"ROAD AHEAD CLOSED. FOLLOW DIVERSION."
Again? Really??St Christopher, where art thou? Well, I followed this diversion and,surprise surprise, got lost. And finally ended back at the original roundabout. I reckon if you had watched my travels from a cloud I would have traced the shape of a slightly wobbly clover leaf.🍀 But not a lucky clover leaf.
By now I was getting fed up and time was a-ticking by. My friend texted to say she'd be ten minutes late - freezer trouble, don't ask - so I retraced the original diversion that had led me to what I shall now call 'The Roundabout Of Hell,' back to the open countryside, down Boxley Hill and...
...got stuck behind an accident involving a car and a dodgy looking lorry which had spread bits of itself across the road.Lots of dodgy looking men were milling around looking like they were hoping the police weren't going to arrive and if they did, how quickly would they be able run away? The ambulance had already arrived and someone was directing traffic past the accident so I wasn't stuck too long. I met a police car as I travelled through Boxley village. I thought, I bet he'll find lots of stuff amiss with that lorry when he arrives.
So, back to town and off up a different hill. This time I knew where I was going. But knowledge did not prevent me from getting stuck behind two horse boxes, a tractor towing a bailer and an old chap who clearly thought any speed above 20 miles an hour was a bit Alton Towers. He was certainly doing a fair bit of Alton Tower swerving.
I then had to negotiate the small towns of Rainham and Newington which are notoriously slow in the traffic movement department because they have, basically, a single and insubstantial road going through them and lots of cars wanting to use that road. Also, the road is peppered with about 27 sets of traffic lights within the space of a mile and not everyone is as good at observing traffic light rules as I am so there were a lot of blocked junctions causing even more slowness.
A journey that should have taken 25 minutes took 80. I was so stressed when I arrived that I had to have an enormous cream scone to recover.
Today, I have stayed put. I have done a massive amount of writing in preparation for the start of NaNoWriMo tomorrow (aarghh!). I've had a nice Twitter chat with a Twitter chum. I have drunk lots of tea and watched Primrose and Camilla enjoy the sunshine in the garden. I have listened to interesting radio programmes and, as soon as The Archers is finished, I am going to do some sewing and some design work for my creative embroidery course.
But best of all - I haven't got lost once!!