Reaching the wedding

I wasn’t ready to drive to London late on Thursday, so headed straight to the Harrow campus on Friday morning. After a full day of lectures I met up with Abi at half 6, then we headed off on the supposedly twenty-minute journey over to our friends in Kilburn. Having never really driven in London before, I came to this conclusion: I have no clue how people do it without dying.

It was mental. I’d wait for the exit to clear at a yellow box-junction and have three people overtake. People jumped red lights as I was trying to turn right in front of them, then took umbrage at my being in their way. And don’t even mention roundabouts. We reached our destination an hour later, then set off for Devon at about 2000. We arrived at 0300, after hitting two major traffic jams on the M4.

I’m normally ok in long queues of traffic, but watching the SatNav’s ETA tick over into the early hours was a little depressing. So, I kept the others and myself entertained with classy music, and taught them the Norbert Dentressangle game1, which I’m sure they greatly appreciated. I, of course, won the latter 🙂

Next morning it was up at 0700 for the wedding, and it turned out to be a lovely day indeed.

  1. three points for the first person who shouts ‘nooooooooooooooorbert dentressangle’ on first sight of a truck []

Odd traffic spike

My website hits went through the roof on Tuesday:

Odd Spike

I have no idea why this happened. Technorati isn’t suggesting I was linked to by anybody with major traffic, all the hits were to the front page rather than any specific article, and I didn’t actually post anything during the day. Given that hits on my feed went up by a similar percentage I’m guessing it was some kind of insane bot, although the disparity between unique and total visitors doesn’t really tie up with that. Dunno.

Aaranovitch on traffic wardens

David Aaranovitch writes an excellent piece on traffic wardens and calming measures:

Ask almost any conscientious school governor or PTA activist. You can send out a zillion letters, put up a gallery of posters, invite endless consultation — and no one but the same half-dozen parents will respond. Then, as in the case of the school-run permits, suddenly it affects them. Wardens are moving them on as they attempt to triple park in a narrow road. Bang! Why didn’t you tell us? It’s a disgrace! Boom! There’s a campaign group and the local paper moans about a dearth of discussion.

Perhaps indignant passivity is a product of representative democracy, in which the citizen almost expects to be protected from her own prejudices by the enlightened representative. Under this system we are free to dissociate ourselves from the results.

I wonder whether this doesn’t infantilise us all. Perhaps we should be forced to live more directly with the consequences of our own decision-making, through much greater use of local plebiscites or the setting-up of citizens’ juries, who can hear all the facts and then decide on the complicated question of, say, whether the discomfort of motorists is more important than the lives of children.

It does irritate me when drivers complain. You’re in a car capable of killing anybody in an instant. The onus is not on other people to accommodate you.

Does the same apply to speed cameras? I think it’s extremely likely. I’m trying to educate myself on road safety so that the next time somebody explains how they’re justified in speeding in a 30mph zone I can properly nuke them from orbit.