16 December 2016

M1

Once more unto the breach! The M1 motorway is the spinal cord of England's road system. When it opened in the late nineteen fifties, families would occasionally get out of their cars and picnic on the road's grassy embankments. That was in a time of innocence when traffic was very light.

Nowadays, convoys of monstrous lorries trundle up and down the lanes sandwiching endless shoals of cars and vans. Some of us are going south and some are going north. There are endless roadworks, variable speed cameras, accidents, mysterious traffic jams caused by congestion, sirens and idiot drivers on mobile phones. It is not a pleasant way to spend your time - especially on dark December nights with the windscreen wipers swishing.

We went up and down the M1 last weekend and we're doing it again this weekend. Shirley is taking her pair of golden tickets for the "Strictly Come Dancing" final down to Elstree Studios in Borehamwood. We are going to stay in the nearby Ibis Hotel and she will join the ticket validation queue at five o' clock in the morning with her deckchair, blanket and flask. What a crazy and extremely unkind process!

Let's hope she is successful. The Princess Frances will arrive in Borehamwood later in the day as I set off to watch Borehamwood F.C. take on Barrow in the English National League - not a military skirmish but a football match.

And then on Sunday, it's back up the M1 again. The road is usually quieter on a Sunday with fewer big lorries but you still have to have your wits about you and at the end of the tension-packed journey you have to prise your white knuckles from the steering wheel. Someone should write a song about it "...and I was only twenty four minutes from Luton, a half  hour away from your heart..."
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M1 TRAFFIC UPDATE

We set off from Sheffield at 2.40 in the afternoon and arrived at our hotel at 8.15 in the evening. Five an a half hours for what should have been a two and a half hour drive. Motorway signs advised us that the motorway was closed because of an "incident" between junctions 25 and 26, not far from Trowell Services. Like everybody else we had to leave the motorway and work out a detour, through Eastwood, Heanor, Ilkeston and the western suburbs of Nottingham. It seems a mad man had been on the loose. He killed his wife and then went on a driving rampage along the motorway which resulted in his death. The full details are still emerging.

"STRICTLY" UPDATE

It is half past midnight. Shirley is sound asleep. I have just been over to the TV studios' rear entrance where four brave souls are already camped out for the night - more than eight hours before the ticket validation process begins.

35 comments:

  1. I admire Mrs Pudding's fortitude, not only with being out at 5am in the cold but also the actual show.

    With your recent David and Goliath victory, you should be in just the right frame of mind to tackle the M1, enjoy!

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    1. It's freezing and foggy out there tonight Kylie. This sure ain't Australia. As for the M1 see my update below.

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  2. I hope Shirley gets in to see "Dancing". I'm sure she's excited and will enjoy it if she gets in. Fingers crossed...her dedication and determination deserve the end reward. :)

    I stay well away from the busy, hectic motorways these days. They're not places I wish to be, and even more particularly at this time of the year.

    Weekends are ridiculous on the motorways here...particularly between Brisbane and the Gold Coast (to the south of Brisbane; and between Brisbane north to the Sunshine Coast.

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    1. It is now 1am on Saturday morning. She has had two hours sleep and is just about to go over and join the queue. Going this early she is bound to be successful. Thanks for your kind wishes Lee.

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  3. Good luck to Shirley and her Strictly tickets. Mrs P would kill for the chance to see the final.

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    1. She would kill? That's scary! And you allow this potential murderer to share your bed? Keep one eye open young man! You never know...

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  4. "with less big lorries". Oh YP how could you? You've quite ruined my afternoon. I do hope that Lady Pudding is successful.

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    1. What are you talking about Graham? I wrote "fewer big lorries". You may need your eyes testing again.

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    2. Haha. I anticipated your response and did a screen shot just to remind you when you next catch one of my transgressions. We are getting predictable after our time together.

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    3. Screenshot?...Grrr... you dastardly beast!

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  5. The wonderful thing about driving on French motorways is that lorries (apart from refrigerated ones)are banned from the roads on Sundays.

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    1. That sounds like a damned good law to me Sue.

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    2. It is the same here in Germany. Plus our summer school holidays are stacked so that not all federal states have them at the same time. Still, it is madness on the motorways - and more often than not, there is just one person in each car.

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  6. I only recently discovered the way to use less and fewer....I think it was something along the lines of......you can have less milk, not fewer, and by chanting that I can figure it out. Good luck Mrs YP. I hope that they let you in ! I am babysitting so will probably miss most of it on TV. We are out Sunday eve at the Albert Hall, so I shall def. miss the results.
    I hope that the motorway behaves for you. Every day local radio seems to be reporting hold ups and accidents on our patch... Bucks, Beds and Herts !

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    1. See my motorway update below Frances. Nightmare!

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    2. Frances you were not, I assume, a teacher of English so you are excused. Newsreaders and teachers are not.

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  7. If she's there at 5 a.m. I would think her chances would be pretty good. As for the M1, I don't drive in England so I have no idea what it's like, but it looks like a big ol' American Interstate highway, and they can be quite nightmarish depending on the region -- so I can imagine what you're talking about!

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    1. I have driven on American freeways from LA to New York City, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Atlanta and beyond but I ain't never seen nothin' to compare with the M1 when it's busy. No siree.

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  8. Hope Shirley's dreams come true... I shall be watching Strictly from the comfort of my armchair with a box of chocolates! (I know, I know, not the same atmosphere as the real thing.) As for the M1, I now refuse to go on motorways. I never did like them and now they petrify me - whether as a driver or especially as a passenger. Long-distance travel for me now means driving on A-roads or going by the train.

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    1. When watching the Strictly final, it will be easy to spot Shirley. She will be asleep after queuing from five in the morning to get her tickets validated.

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  9. Now I'm curious about your tune. Go on! Our freeways are choked with traffic and will have to be expanded to 3 lanes.

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    1. Don't wind me up Red! I am like a nuclear bomb when I go off - BOOOOM!

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  10. Oh, dear Brother Pudding, I very much doubt that the traffic will be light on Saturday. It being the last week-end before Christmas and all. Do try to calm yourself and not blame Shirley and Frances for your upcoming misery.

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    1. You have misread me Mama Bear. I am calm like a Buddhist monk or Green Lake, Colorado when the air is completely still.

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  11. Do hope Shirley is successful. Wish her luck from me.

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  12. Fingers crossed that Mrs YP is successful, after her night-long vigil. I realise, that as I write this, the poor lady will still be waiting patiently. Will you go along to give her a break, and keep her place in the queue - is that allowed?

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    1. It is 10am now CG and she is back with ticket numbers 9 & 10. I hope she will have a couple of hours more sleep before The Beloved Daughter arrives from Balham in south London.

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  13. Result ! I'm so pleased to hear that your good lady was successful - hope those seats are in the front row, right where the action is. Hopefully it isn't going to be a free for all once she's in the studio?
    Wasn't it Peter Sellers who made a record about "Bal-ham, Gateway to the South"? Something about the ever changing traffic lights....?

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    1. Well I must say, I hadn't heard of that Sellers song CG but thanks for pointing it out for me CG. You are a veritable gold mine of information.

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  14. Yay, so pleased her pain was worth it. Tickets 9 and 10 sound like front row stuff.

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    1. They were on the front row by the camera position that points up the dance floor towards the band.

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  15. Wow! She is really going to get to go? Fantastic, Shirley! Take pictures!

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    1. No pictures Sister. All audience members have to surrender any cameras or cell phones before entering the studios. Mother and daughter have just got back to our hotel room delighted with the experience and "buzzing".

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  16. So pleased that Mrs YP and Frances got their tickets. I managed to watch most of it apart from a 15 min. break to drive to St. Albans. So pleased that Ore won, especially as he apparently had no previous dance training! Hope that the M1 behaves for you. Give me a wave as you pass J10 .

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.