Tag Archives: Planespotting

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By the time it was officially opened, it was already out of date because so many people wanted to use it.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.

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