November 20, 2012
I had an encounter with a wonderfully courteous lorry driver today.
In fact, it was even a quarry lorry driver. They’re a bit of a bugbear around here, quarry lorries. Our road and Nearest Village form a massive shortcut between the local quarry and Big A Road. Technically, the quarry lorries aren’t supposed to go down our road because in many places it’s basically as wide as a quarry lorry (if the hedgecutters have been past recently) and it’s also made out of tarmac about as durable as cheese. Unfortunately, human nature being what it is, the lorries still take the shortcut and so this morning as I set off in the rain for a conference on marketing sustainable travel, musing that probably lesson one was going to be ‘don’t turn up all wet and bedraggled from coming on your bike’, I wasn’t surprised to hear a lorry coming up behind me. I was just whooshing down one hill preparatory to tackling the next, and it was a point where the road does actually widen out enough that a lorry could pass a bike. Unfortunately, it was also at a point where an enormous puddle had spread out halfway across the road. I knew what was going to happen next. Lorry sees cyclist. Lorry *must* overtake cyclist. Lorry overtakes cyclist just as cyclist has choice between cycling through the puddle and cycling under the lorry. I was gritting my teeth and preparing to plunge through the puddle when I noticed something odd. The lorry was not overtaking me. Not only that, but it wasn’t accelerating to overtake me. In fact, it was dropping back, giving me loads of room to pull out around the puddle, and pull back in in time for it to – safely and courteously – pass me before the road narrowed again. After I’d picked my jaw up off the floor, I gave him a grateful wave and got two cheery toots of the horn in reply.
So thank you, quarry lorry driver, for making my morning. Although really, you still shouldn’t be using that road …
March 22, 2012
So, it was my birthday yesterday, and there is exciting birthday-related news but you will just have to wait until Monday because that’s when I have to wait till. Suffice it to say that between them my mother and the other half have excelled themselves and it turns out that if you ask for something often enough then eventually it may actually happen. Indeed, I believe that several major world religions are based around just such a premise, though I may be simplifying a tad here.
But anyway – while you, and I, wait with bated breath, I bring you exciting news which is that the ford is almost dry* – for what must be the first time since last April. We went down to check it out for ourselves and on the way back, as we passed the smallholding we like to think of as the Petting Zoo, noticed that two of their ducks were out on on the other side of the road, enjoying the find afternoon. Just as we watched them dither on the verge, apparently deciding whether to cross for home, we heard the thunder of an approaching quarry lorry, scourge of our otherwise peaceful roads. The ducks seemed to hesitate, then think about it, then step out into the road anyway, quacking companionably to each other and making no real effort to hurry. We both winced and couldn’t quite bear to look but lo and behold the lorry – and bear in mind I’ve seen quarry lorries force whole families into the ditch without even slowing as they charge down the road – braked to a walking pace as the two ducks crossed entirely unscathed, without so much as a feather out of place.
There’s been a bit of a campaign against the lorries, which aren’t supposed to use our road at all as it’s not rated for heavy traffic, but nothing has had any effect. The alternative route takes them too far out of the way and so they will continue to cut through whether we like it or not. But now that we know they brake for ducks (though I’ve seen a couple of flattened hens, so it’s not for all poultry) then maybe all we need to do is take on a pair or two each, and let them roam… eventually it’s got to end up being quicker for them to go the long way round.
*The ‘ford closed to pedestrians‘ sign is still there, however, and we believe will be now until the end of time