I’m sorry to tell you this, but when you’ve finished this article you will be in a slough of despond so deep you’ll wonder if it’s worth ever owning a car again. There is no redemption here: no light at the end of a tunnel. Abandon hope all ye who love to drive.
What prompted this attack of the blues was a poster. My wife and I were exiting a supermarket car park when we saw the offending promotion. On it, an image of two smug, complacent, disgustingly wholesome people – whose lives are clearly totally devoted to saving the planet from the likes of you – beaming out at us and telling us how we can all use our car less because there is an accessible alternative: the great British omnibus. This poster was on the back of a Wiltshire and Dorset bus which conveniently pulled out in front of me and proceeded to stop every ten yards, or so it seemed, to pick up the sort of people who somehow go through their lives without the correct change. This promotion, incidentally, was from the same company who, in July this year, announced that services would be curtailed in the New Forest and elsewhere because of a cut in subsidies. So, there you are: your taxes are required to subsidise buses you probably won’t use whilst paying the same road fund licence for driving less and waiting in the rain, possibly in vain and with an increasing sense of hopelessness, for a bus to come along – should you need one – to take you to a place somewhere sort of in the proximity of where you need to go. Except on Sundays.
It gets worse. Driving on the A346, for example, used to be a pleasure. The straight stretches, hidden dips and sweeping curves were all seemingly designed for driving pleasure. Not any more. Now look: farm vehicles have every right to be on the road to go about their business. I understand this. Most agricultural drivers will move aside when they can. Sadly, There is one farmer who delights in driving his largest, slowest tractor on the A346 at exactly the same time as me. How does he know? All he seems to do is drive to a lay-by café a few miles distant for a cup of tea, or at least that’s how it appears to me, and then wait until I’m on the return journey to drive back again. It’s uncanny. There are many stories such as this in the great lexicon of my motoring life. If these things happen to you then know you are not alone.
The point I’m making is this. Increasingly, and from every angle, we poor downtrodden motorists are being hampered and hammered by rules, regulations, costs, expense and specious green issues in increasingly heavy traffic on roads increasingly like those of a third world country. Sadly, it’s not going to get any better. The end of driving for pleasure is at hand. Give up and comply; forget about buying that supercar and begin to understand your place as required by our grey government in their grey suits and grey offices. Go and order an electric car. It won’t give you any pleasure and you won’t be able to go any distance but at least you’ll be seen to conform. Take the bus. Either that or go out and buy a tractor.
Geoff Maxted is a freelance writer and photographer.