12 December 2016

Reappearance

Sitting in a traffic jam on the M1 motorway. An ambulance with blue lights flashing and siren blaring wove in and out of the lanes. It was pitch dark and we were on our way to Rugby. Sunday night in the heart of England. 

A glowing little petrol pump symbol appeared on the dashboard and as the stop-start progress of that slow motion traffic jam inched us forward, we began to imagine how much fun it would be to run out of petrol there. Not. No hard shoulder to pull onto because of ongoing roadworks and a ten mile tailback behind us. How would the recovery vehicle get through? Nightmare scenario.

After forty painful minutes, the jam almost magically unravelled itself and we made it to Watford Gap service station under our own steam. It was a relief, I can tell you.We hardly spared a thought for the unfortunate travellers whose vehicles had apparently collided and we saw no evidence of the accident.

Onwards to Dunchurch just south of Rugby. We had a room reserved in "The Dun Cow" and we were just in time for dinner. In this village - once an important stopping point for stagecoaches - Guy Fawkes and some of his fellow gunpowder plotters holed up here in 1605. They were in a pub called "The Lion Inn" but nowadays it is a private residence known as "The Guy Fawkes House".
Sunday in London was bright and beautiful. We walked over Wandsworth Common with dozens of dog walkers. Seabirds sat in a line on a wooden platform by one of the ponds as footballers competed for a leather orb, hoping to drive it into the opposition's net. 

We carried on to Clapham Common, passing humble terraced houses that now sell for over a million pounds apiece. Then down the back streets to Balham. We bought French onion soup and fresh rolls for lunch, having feasted the night before on delightful Nepalese dishes -  Momo Cha, Pokhareli Lamb, Bhuteko Bhat and fresh Nepali bread from a tandoori oven. Excellent.

Earlier today we walked around a rather gloomy Rugby. But at least it wasn't raining. We visited the new Rugby Hall of Fame above the town's library and we also  strolled by Rugby School, observing the statue of William Webb-Ellis and a massive bronze rugby ball embedded in the sports ground close to the spot where Webb-Ellis allegedly picked up the ball and ran (see first picture).

Visiting Rugby - as I said earlier to the dog lady in Dunchurch graveyard - it was indeed a once in a lifetime experience.
London on Sunday.....

28 comments:

  1. I've never run out of petrol; touch wood, crossed fingers I never do. (Aren't I clever? I can type with my fingers crossed)!

    I'm glad you didn't run out, particularly when stuck in the traffic jam. How awkward and frustrating that would've been!

    You had a busy, but very pleasant weekend, it appears.

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    1. Held up in that very slow-moving traffic with the engine idling, it seemed we would run out of fuel in a few more minutes. The only other time I ever ran out of petrol was almost forty years ago. The breakdown guy was not amused!

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  2. It's nerve-wracking running low on petrol and not knowing whether you will find a petrol station before the car splutters to a halt.

    Alphie

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    1. It sounds as though you have suffered similar anxiety Alphie.

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  3. Now I liked the first part of your story . I was predicting you'd run out of gas. Bummer. I was wrong. Walkining, as you do, gives a much better view of things.

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    1. I thought you would be rooting for me Red - hoping the car would NOT run out of petrol!

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  4. I wonder why pikachu is on the statue? at least he's a happy chap.

    Every minute in a traffic jam with a petrol light on feels like an hour, doesn't it?

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    1. In Dunchurch, the statue of Lord John Scott - a nineteenth century MP and landowner - has been secretly dressed up for several years each Christmastime. One year he was Homer Simpson, another year he was a penguin.

      And yes, it certainly does feel like that Kylie!

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  5. Traffic jams are horrid, even worse if you're low on petrol. Interesting to see the bronze rugby ball.

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    1. "Horrid" is a good word to describe motorway traffic jams on dark December nights.

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  6. I can imagine your terror at the thought of running out of petrol in a traffic jam. I was at Clapham Common and Balham on Friday visiting my daughter. I didn't realise my favourite author Thomas Hardy had lived in Rugby. I thought he remained in Dorset all his life.

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    1. Sorry for the confusion ADDY. That blue plaque is in London - Trinity Road - between Upper Tooting and Wandsworth Common. Hardy lived and worked in London as an architect and as a writer for many years before returning to Dorset.

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    2. My fault. If I'd put my specs on, I'd have seen it was a London County Council plaque!

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  7. I like that part of London. My favorite picture is definitely the big Pikachu statue, though! Hilarious!

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    1. See this link for the statue beneath Steve:-
      http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1686900

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  8. Good to know you are back without anything worse happening to you than being stuck in a traffic jam for 40 minutes.
    The Nepales food sounds intriguing. I wonder whether their bread is similar to Indian Naan bread?

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    1. Yes the bread is very similar but the other dishes were distinctly different from typical Indian fayre.

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  9. That glorious blue sky - it has been thick fog here all week, so lucky you. And I always wonder how it is that traffic jams on motorways always suddenly dissolve into thin air.

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    1. Yes. That is one of the mysteries of the universe. Traffic jams are not covered by either The Bible or The Koran.

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  10. Oh it's a rugby ball - I thought it was a bbq covered up for winter!

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    1. It is called "Birth of The Egg Ball" by sculptor Gavin Turk. By the way, if I was playing rugger against you. you would get a damned good scragging my lad.

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  11. Love the photo of the deep blue sky in London - who would have thought is could be Mediterranean blue at this time of year? It's bluer than it is here at the moment !
    Glad you didn't run out of petrol, had an interesting weekend away, and dined well. Rugby is not the most prepossessing of towns, but then the same can be said for many places.

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    1. I'd rather visit Rugby than one of those concrete jungles on the Spanish coast with their apartments, British bars, straw donkey shops and waiters who are called Manuel.

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    2. Ah well, you'd know about these things of course YP.

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    3. I was trying to wind you up CG... but it appears that I failed miserably.

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    4. Never mind YP - I don't wind up very easily. I save my ire for things that really matter in this world. Your vision of Spain, true alas, though it undoubtedly is in many places, isn't one that bothers me.

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  12. A beautiful part of the world I've yet to see. Staying on point... yes running out of fuel leaves one feeling helpless, albeit temporarily. Here it is only prudent to keep tanks full during the cold Canadian winters. Cheers!

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  13. Glad you survived. There are many places I would make once-in-a-lifetime experiences. A 'leather orb'? Surely not.

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