I know all about horrendous traffic jams; after all, I used to live in a city and have to commute from suburbia to the city centre for work every day. Queues, tailbacks, accidents and traffic jams were expected and endured. Here in the sticks we are blissfully free of the high volume of vehicles that cause such problems on a daily basis, but we don’t actually need a lot of traffic to cause a road block here.
A while ago I set off from home to drive the relatively short distance to our local town to collect my mother, a journey of around 10 minutes along our narrow, winding but little used lane. As I arrived at the top of our track leading onto the lane I saw a car go past in my direction. No problem there. I pulled out and followed. What I hadn’t seen was that a little way ahead of them was a horsebox.
About half a mile along I noticed that the car in front had stopped and was inexpertly reversing around a bend. In front of them the horsebox had come to a halt. They had met a large articulated lorry on its way to a local farm coming from the opposite direction. This was on the worst possible stretch of road, and it was stalemate. With nowhere to turn around and no passing places large enough for even a small lorry to squeeze into, someone needed to reverse, and it had to be the horsebox.
I waited a few minutes to see what would happen – held by curiosity rather than any expection for a speedy resolution. Sure enough the horsebox edged slowly backwards wavering and veering alarmingly. The car in front of me reversed untidily into a narrow driveway but left the front end sticking out, effectively blocking the road completely. And I wished I had my camera with me!
In the end I did the only sensible thing. I reversed a few hundred yards up the hill (you learn to reverse competently when you live somewhere like this) into the nearest farmyard, turned around and went the other way, grateful that there is an alternative route. My 10 minute journey took over 40 minutes in the end but I probably did quite well. I have no idea how long the other vehicles were stuck there, some considerable time I would imagine. And no, my mother wasn’t pleased that I was late!