Is It April 1st Already; Or Are We Just British?

22 Mar

When I first read this report on Sky News, I had to double-check the date: a coach company has arranged tours of one of Britain’s busiest motorways…and tickets have sold out.

Some highlights:

The trip […] involves a four-hour drive around the world’s biggest ring road for the bargain price of £15.

To enhance the excitement,

…passengers will not be told in advance which way around the ringroad they will travel. […] “We’re keeping it as a surprise whether we’ll travel clockwise or anti-clockwise…”

Some facts:

It  was the most expensive motorway ever built in Britain with the 11-year project costing just over £900m, the equivalent of £7.5m a mile.

By the time it was officially opened, it was already out of date because so many people wanted to use it. As a result, it usually has among the worst traffic jams of any road anywhere within the UK and regular roadworks.

Why am I even surprised?  We are a nation of geeks, after all: we not only invented trains, we invented train spotting – the art of writing down a registration number whilst wearing an anorak.  Must have been exciting back in The Rocket’s day, scribbling the registration number 1 in a notepad.

Don’t forget plane spotters.  It was British plane spotters who were arrested in Greece some years ago because the Greeks, like most right-thinking people, assumed they were spying.  Who can blame them?  What sane person spends the day at a cold and windy airport, writing down numbers?  By the way, have you met my husband?

It was the British who insisted, upon the invention of the automobile, that a man with a red flag walk in front of it, to warn people and hysterical horses of the coming terror.  The state of our roads are such that, if that man lived anywhere near one of our motorways, he would probably still have a job today.

Britain: a nation of nerds, and we have the coach trips to prove it.

44 Responses to “Is It April 1st Already; Or Are We Just British?”

  1. WonderfullyFi March 22, 2012 at 11:34 #

    Ah, you always make me giggle Tilly x


    • Tilly Bud March 22, 2012 at 11:51 #

      I’m glad; everyone needs at least one smile a day 🙂


  2. calmyourbeans March 22, 2012 at 11:43 #

    Reblogged this on calmyourbeans.


  3. Janie Jones March 22, 2012 at 12:09 #

    Apparently people have nothing better to spend their money on either.


    • Tilly Bud March 22, 2012 at 12:09 #

      Crazy, isn’t it? But kind of sweet, really. 🙂


  4. adinparadise March 22, 2012 at 12:32 #

    Absolutely hilarious! You’ve just got to love the British sense of humour. 😉


    • Tilly Bud March 23, 2012 at 12:04 #

      I do! But we can’t seem to make decent sitcoms anymore 😦


  5. vivinfrance March 22, 2012 at 12:36 #

    Unbelievable. Thanks for giving us a chance to read this. Remind me not to book up!


    • Tilly Bud March 23, 2012 at 12:05 #

      You’ve got no chance – it’s already sold out.


  6. jmgoyder March 22, 2012 at 13:46 #

    Every time I see an email indicating a post from you, I know that as soon as I press the button I will be laughing my head off. You are a one-off, Tilly! Thank you for your beautiful humour!


  7. lanceleuven March 22, 2012 at 13:55 #

    They’re not going to tell them which way around they’ll be travelling?? But how will they contain their excitement? Surely it’ll cause sleepless nights the day before the trip undermining their ability to fully appreciate the wonder and spectacle? Oh, what mean torturers they are!

    But on a more serious note, if someone can publish a book about motorways, nothing surprises me. Interesting to note that there are only two left on Amazon, so grab one while you can!


    • Tilly Bud March 23, 2012 at 12:06 #

      Good grief! What a land of geeks we really are!


  8. judithatwood March 22, 2012 at 13:59 #

    Yes, you guys are geeks!


    • Tilly Bud March 23, 2012 at 12:08 #

      The truth should hurt but it is so glaring that we have to collectively shrug our shoulders, hitch up our anoraks, and join the queue for the next trip. 🙂


  9. Pseu March 22, 2012 at 14:02 #



    Maybe there’s a business here… undercutting their price, with an ‘added’ slant?

    If folk are willing to spend that sort of money on a crazy enterprise, you could have a marvellous time writing factiods about the motorway, then borrow your plumber chappie to give a stand up commentary.

    (I’ll only take a small commission for being the ideas person.)


    • Tilly Bud March 23, 2012 at 12:09 #

      You are in serious danger of making money here…


      • Pseu March 24, 2012 at 01:22 #

        wooden that be loverly?


  10. laurieanichols March 22, 2012 at 15:13 #

    I had to go read about the tour, it includes sightseeing of Heathrow Airport terminal 5, I’ve been to Heathrow a very nice airport but I don’t know if I would take a motor coach to see it from a distance. Epping Forest sounds nice and the “magnificent” Dartford Crossing bridge, why did the report put quotes around magnificent? Are they being funny?Finally the Lakeside shopping centre, it sounds nice. Everyone knows that the British are the Kings and Queens of comedy and humor and this report explains why, thank you Tilly for reminding me how funny the British are.


  11. gigihawaii March 22, 2012 at 17:21 #

    LOL. I probably would not cruise the motorways, clockwise or anti-clockwise. There are probably better ways to spend my money, eh?


  12. Elaine March 22, 2012 at 18:56 #

    I round trip of the M25? I think not… I live a stone’s throw from it and it is known round here as the M25 Car Park! Not only are there always traffic jams on it, there are almost always road works too. As you said, as soon as it was finished they realised that it wasn’t wide enough so there have been years of widening works – making it five lanes in each direction in some places.

    Still, we Brits are known for our eccentricities, so perhaps a tour of the M25 isn’t too far fetched – I wonder if there will be a competition for the participants to guess which way round they are travelling??


    • Tilly Bud March 23, 2012 at 12:14 #

      I sincerely hope so! How much better can it get? 🙂


  13. judithatwood March 22, 2012 at 21:32 #

    Dear Tilly Bud, I’ve named your blog for the Versatile Blog Award. Stop by to see the particulars. And please don’t feel obligated to do anything. Congratulations! Yay, you!


  14. kateshrewsday March 22, 2012 at 23:16 #

    Apparently it’s sold out. Beats me why: every time I drive on the M25 I have a night dreaming of tail lights coming towards me very fast. Erk.


  15. slpmartin March 22, 2012 at 23:23 #

    I’ve just come up with a brilliant idea…I will offer to provided personal tours of LA traffic jams to those folks who want to experience an overseas adventure like that arranged on one of Britain’s busiest motorway …airfare and lodging not included in the price. 🙂


    • Tilly Bud March 23, 2012 at 12:17 #

      Now you’re talking. See Pseu for her commission 🙂


  16. alisonamazed March 23, 2012 at 00:36 #

    Well, imagine all those poor souls who don’t own cars who have never had the pleasure of being in a traffic jam? I just imagine this being very popular with the pensioners for a ‘day out’. The one thing I wonder, if it has sold out already does that mean there will be repeat trips, and after the Condems have rented out the motorways to the Chinese (which I understand DC wants to do), there will be tolls charged and how much more expensive will the tickets be then? Add to that the loss of pensioners income as per GO’s latest Can’t Budge(IT) (the debt that is) in about 5 years time they probably won’t be able to sell it as it will be too expensive. It reminds me of a Doctor Who episode when Billie Piper was his companion….


    • Tilly Bud March 23, 2012 at 12:22 #

      I remember that one, with the cat?

      The story was on last night’s news and you are right – it was almost all pensioners 🙂


      • alisonamazed March 23, 2012 at 16:27 #

        That was the one where they were in a futuristic world and people lived in their cars stuck in traffic jams on the motorway, and if they had three people in the vehicle, they could go to the express lane. Problem was, everyone who got the express lane was attacked by car-eating monsters.


      • alisonamazed March 23, 2012 at 16:28 #

        The Face of Bo was also in that one and gave his last energy to help the Doctor open the skies….


        • Tilly Bud March 24, 2012 at 10:45 #

          That’s the one. Do you remember when they revealed who the Face of Bo was?

          If so, don’t say here. No spoilers allowed!

          If not, then you have something to look forward to. 🙂


          • alisonamazed March 24, 2012 at 10:57 #

            Yes, they revealed who the Face of Bo was in a different episode, but I’ve forgotten now…it’ll come back to me.


  17. eof737 March 23, 2012 at 04:08 #

    Typical ain’t it? 😆


  18. colonialist March 23, 2012 at 20:40 #

    Be still, my palpitating heart! Could any excursion be more exciting? And mystery, too. It is all too much, please pass the smelling-salts.


  19. bluebee March 24, 2012 at 04:52 #

    The “eccentric” tag is certainly not amiss


  20. sarsm March 24, 2012 at 10:23 #

    I’m so proud to be British!


    • Tilly Bud March 24, 2012 at 10:46 #

      You are British in the best way – living in another country 🙂 🙂 🙂



  1. Letter From Britain - October 27, 2012

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