Here Be Tractors

I’m back – did you miss me?

I shall draw a veil over most of the trip there and back – suffice it to say that while London to Northern Ireland via Holyhead doesn’t exactly rival Cape to Cairo in the great overland trips of the world stakes, it certainly gets into the top ten list of train journeys to die before you make. And I would like to add, while I’m on the subject, that three hours to explore the delights of the Holyhead ferry terminal is about two hours and fifty-eight minutes too many. Oh, and that putting up a dot-matrix information board with the message ‘Please see posters on platforms for details of trains’ is somewhat missing the point of a real-time travel information system. But that is all I will say on the subject.

No, what I did want to blog about today happened right at the end of our journey out there, the supposedly easy part, once we’d picked up the hire car. This is by way of a public information service for those urban dwellers out there who don’t get out into the country much. We were nearing our destination after a trip which had, for reasons I will not go into*, had taken 12 hours longer than it was supposed to do. The other half was distracted by the need to multiply every speed limit by 1.6 to get it into kilometers because that was all the car would display, and so when we saw a sign pointing us confidently towards Newcastle, we took it, even though it was pointing confidently off to the left and Newcastle was, as far as I could tell on the standard issue car hire map that was showing the whole of Ireland on a sheet of paper approximately the size of a tea-towel with most of the space taken up by showing you where all the other car hire branches were located (just in case, you know, you wanted to hire another car on top of the one you already had) and leaving lesser landmarks – little places, like Belfast – to be guessed at, was somewhere to our right. (sorry was that a parenthesis too far? It’s been a long day). Sometimes, particularly in that corner of Ireland, little things like logic and geometry need to be left behind when navigating, so off we went, trusting the sign, and it was only when Kilcoo inexplicably turned out to have been replaced by Rathfriland, did we realise we had fallen prey to the one-legged signpost. Anyone who lives in urban areas where the local youths can amuse themselves by mugging people and selling crack may not realise this, but out in the countryside where people have to make their own entertainment, one-legged signposts cannot be trusted. Two-legged ones are fine. The local yoof may decorate them, or shoot airguns at them, but that’s about it. But one-legged ones can be rotated to point pretty much anywhere the locals choose and should therefore never be trusted. If you ever find yourself at the end of a muddy track looking at a field and thinking that Ludlow, or Chipping Camden, or Little Giddings has changed since you last visited it, that’s probably what happened.

Anyhow, we made it. And now we’re back. Work tomorrow …

* I promised

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10 responses to “Here Be Tractors

  1. Welcome back, and yes I missed you. I’ve reread all your selected old entries during your absence.

  2. So … is the other half right?

  3. Ah ha, so you were made welcome by the locals then.

    Maybe you might even broaden your travelling experiences to pop along the old district line some time and have a brew.

    Did you enjoy a Guiness by chance??

    Why did your letter enter thingy ask me for DEath the other day??? – it’s still bothering me

  4. Tube Dude – I have no control over the letter thingy but it does come up with some very disconcerting words at times.

    I’m extremely partial to Guiness, as it happens. Are they serving beer on the district these days? That would make for an interesting commute …

  5. mmmm, that would make it a very pleasant ride, and life in the stations more bearable – however LU wont go that far, sadly.

  6. I was hoping that question would be overlooked.

    Anyway I’ve read your blog from the start, as you know, and I still find it as good and enjoyable to read as I always did. It’s changed, which is to be expected, but remains one of my favourite favourites.

    Sorry I’ve waffled and haven’t answered it, but on balance I think that he’s not right!

  7. Well, the letter thingy is asking me for ‘BRasS’. As in Bold As, especially as it probably won’t let my comment be published ANYWAY. By the way you were so quick to read my blog last night – 0.5 minutes after publication – that you may not have seen the photo I posted minutes later. It’s v cute.

  8. I indeed missed my daily dose of nicely packed sarcasm

    welcome back

  9. Welcome back mate

    Trains do my head in also lol – as for a ride of a ferry /me pukesssss

  10. Flighty – very tactful.

    Babymother – if you’re just going to leave spammy comments trying to get people to look at your blog, no wonder they don’t get through

    Hannah & Hyperion – thanks

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