Funny how things in life look different when viewed from a different perspective. I retired from full-time and even part-time occupational work back in April. My tax returns were always easier as I chose to keep my accounting in-line with the UK tax year which begins at the beginning of April. I always hated doing my tax return in the past but now that is one task I will be glad to be rid of. All that aside, life has become far simpler since April. I haven’t driven my van much since then either though for a few months prior to April my workload had dropped significantly anyway. Now it is non-existent except for private domestic work where having a van has proved to be very beneficial. Last year for instance I barely covered 1000 miles between MOT tests! Now, when I go out walking I see things from a new angle and notice things I probably didn’t notice too closely beforehand. Then I was behind the wheel but now I am on foot and see the bad behaviour of many motorists. Yes, there were times, many times, I came across bad drivers and their antics but I get to see far more of them as a pedestrian! As with most towns in the UK there are speed limits to adhere to, 20, 30 mph zones are commonplace and are there for good reason. As a motorist I was and am well aware that speeding motorists are a danger to both motorists and pedestrians alike, even to themselves. It seems however that some motorists don’t think the limits apply to them and regularly flout them. I sometimes walk along the seafront where the speed limit is 30 mph throughout the year, generous in my estimation especially during the warm months when there are always plenty of pedestrians about and the likelihood of accidents are greater. I say accidents but really they are the result of a lack of concentration and usually caused through speeding.
Lately I have taken that walk in the early hours of the morning when it is still dark yet I see motorists speeding along at easily twice the speed limit in some cases, that is 50 to 60 mph! What would they do if suddenly there was a pedestrian crossing the road or a dog running wild? There are many people walking dogs on the beach sometimes and they have to cross the road from the car park to get there. They are madmen, maniac drivers who, instead of setting out earlier find they now need to speed because they are late for work. Not all motorists I see act that way I hasten to add, just a few of them. Each time I go out walking it is usually in the morning and often before the ‘rush hour’, the rat race to get to work but sometimes during that time. The bad driving isn’t limited to car owners either, many large commercial vehicle drivers are just as bad. Yes, things look far different when viewed as a pedestrian and from the perspective of someone who has no need to rush anywhere!
Wednesday was one of those days that simply annoys. When I awoke all was fine and then I found one or two things to annoy me and throughout the rest of the day it continued. The day itself was bad as far as the weather was concerned, very wet and very windy but that in itself is never a problem with me. It used to be. I left the house in a good mood leaving myself forty minutes to get to my destination about 15 miles away. It shouldn’t have taken that amount of time under normal circumstances but nevertheless did and for several reasons. Within the first half-mile of my outward journey I encountered a speeding driver, two illegally parked drivers who caused the main flow of traffic to grind to a halt, an idiot waiting to make a right-turn at traffic lights but taking the whole carriageway to do it thus preventing the traffic behind from moving past on the left (we drive on the left in the UK) and goody two shoes keeping strictly to 25 mph in a 30 zone thus hindering traffic flow. Further ahead a motorist turning right at the lights who wouldn’t make the move despite their being nothing to prevent it. I turned right behind but was left standing as they were obviously speeding down the road to make up for the lost time waiting at the traffic lights unnecessarily! I stuck to the speed limit. A car pulled out from a road on my left without much thought for those on the main road, me! At the next junction someone else did the same thing. I was beginning to think those on the road that morning had death wishes. The onward journey was pretty much the same, drivers taking unnecessary chances and considering the driving conditions were somewhat treacherous, sheer lunacy. Occasionally the early morning sun shone through the clouds into the faces of those drivers too which made matters worse. Part-way through my journey I saw a refuse collection vehicle parked at the roadside whist being loaded with waste. The tail-back caused by that one vehicle was over a half-mile long! Why they had to collect at that time in the day, the rush hour, is beyond belief. You would think the council responsible would be just that, responsible. I was glad I was driving in the opposite direction but couldn’t help feeling sad for the poor souls being held back on their respective journeys. As I got nearer to my destination there was heavy congestion due to the road works in a couple of places along the same route. I was held back for some time at the temporary traffic control lights. When I finally turned into the road at my destination there were absolutely no places whatsoever in which to park my van. The road was narrow and vehicles stood nose to tail down one side leaving the other side free for moving traffic. No passing places had been left and chaos ensued. Fortunately I was able to squeeze onto the small space behind other vehicles on the driveway of the cottage I was visiting. The old lady invited me in and I assessed the work I was asked to do. Shortly afterwards the road was devoid of any vehicles and I was then able to park my van on it. I had to move the van because one of the cars on the driveway would be driven away ten minutes later. My task was to remove two lights from the dining area and replace them with others. One on the wall and one on the ceiling beams. Both were difficult as I had expected, annoying little problems with each of them. One of those removed was a brass spotlight which incidentally was faulty and couldn’t be repaired but I had been asked to re-site it upstairs. It was a low voltage unit and the transformer had burned internally. It had been moulded into the base and couldn’t be removed but it could be converted to a high voltage unit with some modifications and a little ingenuity. Why did I offer to do it? It presented me with all sorts of challenging problems but because the old lady had set her heart on having it upstairs I set about doing the conversion. A new unit it seems was out of the question and probably couldn’t have been purchased anyway as the old one was so old and out of production. It took me a while to do but eventually I got there after some cussing! Resiting it presented me with further problems, naturally. The lady had an old dog which continuously walked back and forth around my feet and was being somewhat of a nuisance. Well I couldn’t really object so I just tried to avoid it. I asked the lady what was wrong with her dog and she told me it was suffering from the doggy version of dementia. When I went upstairs to fit the two lights I had removed downstairs my phone wouldn’t stop ringing. Call after call most of which were nuisance or spam but they were enough to interrupt at the most inappropriate moment. Finally I was able to finish the work, pack up my things and after payment drive back home. I was held up for forty minutes in a queue of traffic controlled by more road works and arrived home late for lunch. Whilst sorting out my paperwork I discovered my phone wasn’t in my bag. Thinking back I remembered where I had left it, back at the cottage! Fifteen miles away! I have never done that before. Crikey, I had to drive back to collect it. I telephoned ahead to make sure it was there and off I went again. This time I took a different but longer route to avoid road works. I was there in half an hour. On my way back home I stopped at a farm shop and had a freshly made sandwich, made by the young girl serving me. Just like a ‘Subway‘ only better. Breakfast had been nine hours earlier so it tasted that much better. Once I was back home all the problems of the day had melted away.
Recently and without any consultation or publication many of the roads in our town have been given reduced speed limits. Many roads formerly 30 mph are now 20 mph, some formerly 40 mph are now 30 mph. There are still a few residential roads which are untouched at 30 mph. Now I am all for safety measures, especially in built-up areas and residential areas but some of these roads are main thoroughfares for local traffic and bus routes and driving along at 20 mph is a nightmare. Have you ever driven long distances at 20 mph? Yes, if everyone drove at this speed it would reduce the numbers of fatal accidents considerably but I think a limit of 25 mph makes more sense and is a far easier speed to maintain along the main roads without it being excessively hazardous to pedestrians. It will be very difficult to police such enforcement except by using cameras but their use is limited for financial reasons apart from the problems with administration that may result. Modern vehicles, whilst faster are easier to handle than their older counterparts and have more efficient braking systems. The main reason accidents happen is due to a lack of concentration by the driver not observing road conditions or speed limits or simply ignoring them all. Whatever limits are imposed there will always be some drivers who will ignore them. Some measures taken though I feel are ridiculous and serve no real purpose in trying to reduce bad driving and accidents, all they do is infuriate and annoy good drivers who do observe the rules. I have nothing against rules and regulations but they have to make sense and be there for legitimate reasons and not as a means to annoy drivers in general. I think today’s standards of driving are appalling too considering how difficult it is these days to pass the driving test. I come across bad driving almost every time I venture out onto the roads at peak times. I see mothers dropping their children off at school and park wherever they like restricting traffic flow, drivers of both sexes in that much of a hurry to get to work or get back home that they almost totally ignore the speed limits. Often I see tail-gaiters driving at speed behind the vehicle in front just to get where they are going quickly. One day they won’t make it, why don’t they just set out earlier? So like I said, I am not against rules, regulations and reduced speed limits if they make sense and are enforceable.
At a clients house the other day I was asked why I was acting so cheerfully despite the problems I was having doing a certain job for her. My reply was that it wouldn’t make any difference whether I was annoyed or not, the problem would still remain and I would still have to get round it! I told her that I don’t get upset or annoyed with pretty much everything these days because if I did it would only be me who suffered but there are still some things that I find annoying. What is the point in getting all worked up over things you have no control over though? It just isn’t worth it. I have to say at this point that I have a page on this site dedicated to ‘Annoying things’, those things which indeed do annoy me at times but the main thing is I don’t get upset about them as perhaps I once did. Annoying they may still be but more of an irritation and something we all have to live with and endure at times. There is nothing wrong about having things that annoy, it’s how we react to them that matters. One of my pet dislikes in life are bad drivers, those who cannot handle their vehicles safely, responsibly or skilfully and those who think the rules apply to everyone else but themselves. I dislike aggressive drivers and those who think they own the road. Whilst out driving recently I came across a section of road, about a mile of it, that had a revised speed limit imposed upon it reducing the speed from 40 to 30 miles per hour. The change has been well signposted and reminding signs are dotted along the route affected so there is no excuse for disobedience. The road itself is a major trunk route between my town and the next one some seven miles away and is quite busy at certain times of the day. I observed the speed limit as I drove through the section of road affected but was being tail-gated by a larger vehicle whilst doing so. As the speed limit reverted to 40 miles per hour I increased my speed accordingly but the opportunity to overtake me was there at this point and the following driver couldn’t get passed me quickly enough. As he overtook my vehicle he had to exceed the 40 mph restriction and he then accelerated away at something like 20 mph faster than I was travelling which was 40 mph. The sad thing was that I caught up with him a half mile ahead as he was stuck in a queue of traffic at the next junction. I was in the inside lane driving through and he was in the outside lane to turn right. The point was he had ignored the speed limit and it hadn’t made any difference at all but it could have resulted in someone being injured through his negligence. That sort of driving annoys me but as I am unable to do anything about such incidences I never let it get to me. I won’t allow someone elses bad habits ruin my day. I got the awkward and annoying job done through persistence, perseverance and by having a jovial attitude to it all.
Yesterday I had to pay a visit to the doctor as I have at this time a rather nasty rash on my body. I was prescribed some ointment and hopefully that should be enough, if not I will need a referral to a dermatologist! Anyhow I thought I would dress up rather than down as I had plans to dine out later. Well it was my day off! So E and I went out for a drive around about 1.30 and we ended up at a pub/restaurant about twenty miles away. Now if you have been following my blog you will already know that E and I go out for ‘lunch’ quite often but this time it was a bit special, at least for me. An ordinary meal normally it turned out to be one of the best meals I have enjoyed for a long time. Sometimes it goes like that doesn’t it? It was such a lovely experience we didn’t want to go back home! We were plodding along at 30mph! However on the way back home we got stuck behind a guy who thought 30mph meant 10mph! I really do not know why some people are on the road at all. If they lack confidence to at least drive at or near the allowed speed limit they shouldn’t be on the road at all if by doing so they hold everyone else back. Okay if it were a matter of being on a dual carriageway, no problem because they can be overtaken but when it is on a main thoroughfare and on a single carriageway where overtaking is very restricted then they should get their act together. Speeders are a nuisance but those who drive uneccessarily slowly are even more so.
Today I am at work but I have only one small job to do and will be home well before lunchtime. It has been a rather busy week this week and it doesn’t look like slowing down for the forseeable future. I prefer it this way though.