My drive up from Bradford to Dundee for Leah’s birthday bash was quite enjoyable, especially given the great weather we seemed to luck out with this weekend. This is a good thing as it’s not the shortest drive in the world – around 5 hours. And for the duration you can almost see the pound coins flowing out of the exhaust pipe due to the ridiculous cost of fuel these days. Mind, given that the public transport equivalent would have cost around twice as much and not given me a fraction of the convenience I suppose there’s not much choice.
Now I can’t remember if I’ve written about this before, but if there’s anywhere in the UK that’s worth driving along, it’s the coastal part of the A1. Running roughly from Alnwick past Berwick and onto the Scottish border, it’s fantastic. When you can see the sea, it’s a great view and there are many places to stop and enjoy the scenery. As you zoom through the countryside areas, the first phrase than comes to mind is “green and pleasant land”. A far cry from the filth and depravity in most of our major cities.
Rolling hills, ferns, trees, lush grass. Even the few man-made additions such as the train lines just seem to fit as the trains whoosh by in natural hollows like a well laid-out train set. In one location I almost came a cropper at a speed camera. Although marked in the now legally-required bright yellow and red stripes, this decoration actually helps it blend into the orange shrubbery just past it. Sneaky.
Partway up, there’s a power station overlooking the coast. Obviously, this would be expected to be an eyesore, but it’s been painted a bright powder blue. Yes, it stands out, but it at least looks clean. And the blue helps it blend a little with the sky past it. Thinking back, I don’t ever recall seeing it look particularly filthy though I have only been using the A1 as a main north/south route for a couple of years.
As mentioned above, the only thing to really spoil this drive is the prevalence of speed cameras. One in particular annoyed me as it has been placed around half a mile after a handful of junctions. Surely if they’re genuinely located for safety it should be just before or on the junctions to ensure cars aren’t speeding where other traffic is joining the road? Which just proves that they are there for revenue.
But in a country run by a blinkered nanny state headed by the uncaring, greedy, power-hungry and just plain stupid; with an economy going down the tubes so fast it should consider competing professionally in the toboggan or luge; with scum ruling our streets and the police’ hands tied by ridiculous legislation… There’s still a drive like this to make you realise there are still places in the UK that make you feel proud.
The party itself was a rousing success. With a mandatory fancy dress policy, copious amounts of beer, a chocolate fountain and umpteen Scots in attendance it would have been difficult for it not be. My fancy dress wasn’t my first choice – that would have been my Rocky Horror outfit which actually debuted on Red Nose Day some years ago. Sadly, I couldn’t find it in the cellar – I’m sure it should still be down there but it wasn’t amongst any of the bags I went through. So I improvised. Old lab coat, old shirt, something that looked like intestines and 21p spent on red food colouring.
Not a lot more to tell, really. One person ended up asleep with his head down the loo (there may be a video of this on YouTube…) but a lot of us just headed off to Leah’s house to continue the party into the night. I was exhausted after the long drive and little sleep so I wimped and crashed comparatively early.