Bank Holiday Motoring Miseries - THe Growler
What is it with you Poms, as my Australian cousin living in London says? Every August Bank Holiday since time immemorial countless Brits and their families sit sweltering (or in the rain) in endless queues of traffic try to get to somewhere which will be full of people just like them when they get there. They will be miserable, squalling kids, over-priced "services", rickety caravans wobbling along holding them up if they ever do get moving. Tabloid headlines will shriek "HOLIDAY TRAFFIC HELL TRAPS MILLIONS!" or some variation on the few words it is possible to get into 3" headlines on the Daily Wail, all of which must have been repeated in some form or another "n" times since the fiery summer of 1949 when we were already picking blackberries on my birthday in mid-August. Yet every year they all do it, they all know they're going to be miserable and yet, gritting those British teeth, they do it all over again, like voting New Labour back in, and totter back to work on Tuesday more dead than alive so they can exchange "how was it for you on the A272" stories on Tuesday.

It was ever thus, like some sort of grim tribal ritual, some lemming-like compulsion to conform and is nothing new. The French are even worse, except they do it for a month.

By contrast Father would absolutely refuse to go anywhere by car on a Bank Holiday. "I spend most of my week in the damn City being bally miserable because I have to", he would pronounce, "But I'm damned if I'm going to miserable for the fun of it". And so it was, if the weather was fine, we kids would be led on long country walks with picnic baskets, or else played games and squabbled while Mother read the paper and Dad dozed off at the local cricket match. If the heavens opened for the weekend, as they often did, it was games of charades or Monopoly indoors, Dad's corny jokes and conjuring tricks we'd all seen before but which we all laughed at anyway, Mother scolding us if we showed up without hands duly washed ready for trifle and blancmange for tea.

How much more sensible, I always thought.

Bank Holiday Motoring Miseries - L'escargot
Lucky you to have had a dad who worked in "the City".
And lucky you to live in a country which which does not have the the same traffic problems that we have.

Stop gloating.

L'escargot by name, but not by nature.
Bank Holiday Motoring Miseries - THe Growler
I'm not clear how a whimsical observation that the Bank Holiday motoring condition in Britain, and the response to it have changed little over the years in essence, becomes a "gloat".

Where I live we wish, oh we wish we could only have your traffic problems.

Take a look at ours, and it isn't even raining, a holiday weekend or a rush hour. No gloat there, it was me stuck in it.
Bank Holiday Motoring Miseries - Rob the Bus {P}
Hmmm, methinks that L'escargot may have got out of bed on the wrong side this fine morn... ;-)!

Spot on, Growler. I am constantly bemused by our nation's (as a whole) insistence on doing exactly as you said. On Monday, we are going to Crowborough for a family barbeque (no, we're not barbequeing the family...) and I am, quite frankly, dreading the drive as it is on the way to Brighton. Gawd help us, stuck in traffic along with the lemmings, as you so succinctly put it.

Like your dear old Dad, I refuse to give in to this lunacy and stay steadfastly at home on a Bank Holiday. Where on earth is the fun in sitting in a traffic jam for four hours, arriving at your destination with just enough time to build a sandcastle (if you can find enough space on the beach, that is), then having to sit in another traffic jam for four hours to get home again?

Ain't people strange?

I'll raise a pint or two to you, Growler, when all of us here in Limeyland meet up. Take care...


Bank Holiday Motoring Miseries - THe Growler
OT but on your final remark, but Bafta is down south in Cebu right now buying his house, hoping he and I can get together in Manila on his way through back to UK for a BR Exiles meet and sink a few ice-cold San Miguels, in which case we shall return your compliment.

If you're on that particular route to Crowborough this w/e may I recommend the Neville Crest And Gun for a reviver. I wonder if the stuffed bear is still in the hallway.
Bank Holiday Motoring Miseries - Ian (Cape Town)
On Monday, we are going to Crowborough for a family barbeque

Oh dear, another traditional outdoor pastime gone horribly wrong.
I blame Neighbours and Home and Away.
Barbeques are fun.
The logic is simple... and I will add obligatory motoring links thus *, lest I suffer the wrath of the moderators
Get lots of thornwood, though charcoal briquettes will do at a pinch, drink a beer, arrange logs/briquettes into a neat heap. have another beer. Use firelighters to ignite the bonfire - DO NOT USE PETROL*/ACETONE/TURPS etc - this is not only silly, dangerous and more-haste-less-speed, but also gives a horrid flavour to the meat.
Use of petrol/turps etc also leads to the firewood burning far too quickly, sending plumes of acrid balck smoke across the neighbourhood, annoying mrs Splugget fro number 22 who has just put out her washing, and mr tomkins from 27, who has just washed his car*.
Always ensure you have enough flammable stuff at hand (wood etc) to keep the fire going. Get twice as much as you think you need.
Otherwise, half way through the cooking process, with three feeble coals to cook your sumptuous fare, whoever arrived last has to get into his car* and dash around trying to find a B&Q which is still open, and hasn't sold out of charcoal. Drink copious amounts of beer while the fire reches the correct consistency - should be reasonably hot, with glowing coals covered in grey ash.
Gentlemen shall converge near the fireplace, swilling ale, and discussing the relative merits of various motor cars* which they haven't got a hope in hell of ever driving, let alone affording.
Ladies will sit in the kitchen, talking babies/tupperware etc while making salads.
Once the fire has reached the neccesary temperature, the gentlemen can steer their way clear of the new conversation - why Schumacher is an absolute ponce, yet a very good driver, but not as good as Jackie Stewart, and prepare to cook the meat.
Please note MEAT. Thick, blood-filled lumps of cow (Yes, we know about mad cow disease - go on, be daring!) and sheep, NOT a packet of sausages, some safeway hamburgers and some chicken wings. The MEAT should have been standing in a family-recipe marinade for at least 3 hours.
After consumption of more ale, the meat should reach the proper stage for eating - slightly dark on the outside, and deliciously pink and warm on the inside. NOT black outside, with pink ice crystals inside.
After partaking in the feast, more ale is consumed, after which gentlemen are openely encouraged to partake in fist-fights at the slightest excuse, while ladies play hunt-the-carkeys* to ensure the menfolk don't get nicked on the way home.
Enjoy your barbeque.
Bank Holiday Motoring Miseries - THe Growler
LOL Ian, holiday BBQ's. Everything stinks of smoke and charred animal corpses afterwards. Mind you those gas fired jobs you can carry in the back of your pickup* are a bit better than losing your eyebrows squirting recalcitrant barbecue pellets with lighter fluid.

I have some Kiwi friends and dread the occasion. There is no nationality more carnivorous than that of New Zealand. Everything has to be done outside in sweltering heat and humidity amid clouds of smoke and ricocheting gobbets of oil and fat.

Lamb patties to start, sausages made of lamb, followed by lamp chops, beefburgers, more sausages, try the pork mate she's not a bad bit, and finally a lump of bleeding cow (meant in the physical sense, altho' the other could equally well apply). This is all one meal mind you. Oh and I forgot the chook (that's chicken to you).

Mine host puts on one of those rubber aprons like you see in Discovery Channel Crime Night documentaries about pathologists conducting post-mortems , and this is soon covered in unpleasantness. Meanwhile he has been through the several cans of Steinlager stage and is now on the Wynne's Bin 444, boasting about Carlos and the All-Blacks and how the Wallabies are a load of poofters, with the result that what is proudly forked on to your plate triumphally may not necessarily be either edible or pleasant to look at.

As you say the distaff side is sensibly in the kitchen making salads and discussing whatever women making salads discuss, or at least they were until it's time to set off.

The fact that all this had first to (a) be packed and transported by motor vehicle* (b) and conveyed in dense traffic* to some beauty spot populated by enormous Filipino extended families: 30 or more is not unusual for one group, then the whole process has to be reversed afterwards only worse because of the washing up stinking out the car* makes one wonder what it's all for.

Me, give me a holiday weekend, I just see what's on the cable movie channels, switch on the answerfone, pull up the drawbridge call up Ernie at the wine store and get him to deliver a few bottles of the needful, dial 911-1111 for Domino's motorbike* home delivery, turn up the air-con, settle down with Growlette on the sofa and watch re-runs of Gone in 60 Seconds*, Vanishing Point*, Mad Max*, ah, bliss.
Bank Holiday Motoring Miseries - king arthur
while ladies play hunt-the-carkeys* to ensure the menfolk don't get
nicked on the way home.

The last time I played a game of hunt-the-carkeys with the ladies it had absolutely nothing to do with cars or driving of any sort....

Bank Holiday Motoring Miseries - Clanger
This weekend, I'll be mostly mowing the lawn, cutting the hedge, washing the cars, sneaking off for a run on the bike and trying to make the chain-saw start after I overhauled it.

On Monday we shall probably walk 10 mins to the village gala day, watch the events and then put the world to rights with my esteemed neighbours in the beer tent.

Try and go anywhere on a bank holiday weekend? Not likely.
Stranger in a strange land
Bank Holiday Motoring Miseries - Flat in Fifth
Try and go anywhere on a bank holiday weekend? Not likely.

yepp, moi aussi!

Of course it doesn't help living in one of those places where the city folk seem to flock lemming like at high days and holidays, so once we hit the main road its jammed.

A walk down the riverbank and a peruse of the flower and horticultural show tomorrow methinks.

Off topic: If anyone wishes to visit the new PC World in Kidde, they've got some decent offers on, and on top of the discount seeing as the tills also aren't programmed correctly, think of the VW ads...

Christmas will be cheap(er) this year: hur hur.

Bank Holiday Motoring Miseries - HF
Just slightly off-topic - but can anyone explain exactly why it is that men, who generally don't go anywhere near an oven all year round, suddenly get an irresistable urge to become chefs once the barbie's alight?
Bank Holiday Motoring Miseries - Cardew
I wonder just how much of the Summer bank holiday traffic chaos is media hype. According to West Midlands police and the AA the traffic on Friday evening was lighter than a normal Friday and the TV showed pictures of the notorious M6/M6 junction with the traffic flowing freely.

The reason Railtrack have given for closing lines to carry out track repairs is that Bank Holiday traffic is much lower than normal.
Bank Holiday Motoring Miseries - Rob the Bus {P}
>>the TV showed pictures of the notorious M6/M6 junction with the traffic flowing freely.

I presume you mean M5/M6 Cardew? ;-)

Odd that - are you sure that the TV pictures you saw weren't of MkII Cortinas/Hillman Hunters/Vauxhall Vivas and in black and white? I only ask as a friend spent an hour and a half negotiating the M6 from Corley services to the M54 turn yesterday. He certainly didn't experience free-flowing traffic!

Add to that the 17-mile queue on the M1 and a quite different picture starts to appear...Also major incidents on the M60 and M62 caused absolute mayhem, so I am reliably informed.

It is just inconceivable that some of this country's major railway routes are shut on the last bank holiday of the year. I used to say (and no offence to our friends over the pond) "Only in America" with a bewildered shrug of the shoulders. Now I say "Only in Britain..."


Bank Holiday Motoring Miseries - Cardew
Correct M5/M6 junction. TV interview with police traffic control said all traffic flowing well and made special mention of that junction which is usually at a standstill. Teletext also said the expected traffic chaos didn't happen.

Not defending closure of any railway line - especially as it is done to save money at the cost of huge disruption to paying public. However spokesman stated less customers travel on a Bank Holiday than normal days.

I am merely wondering if the massive exodus of Brits to the seaside etc on Bank Holidays is a myth.

Just wondering - not stating it as a fact.

Bank Holiday Motoring Miseries - Clanger
Can't help, HF. I (a random bloke) do subsistence and kids cooking on a "proper" cooker, and watched some sausages on my daughter's instant barbie last week, but otherwise treat the hot charcoal with extreme suspicion and avoid if possible.

I'll be interested in the answer, in case it's some sort of infection that I need to avoid. ;-)

Stranger in a strange land
Bank Holiday Motoring Miseries - Dan J
Even after having negotiated half of the country Friday afternoon I heartily agree with Growler. No other choice this weekend - Oh for the love of a good woman! :) Could've stayed in then...

Just slightly off-topic - but can anyone explain exactly why it
is that men, who generally don't go anywhere near an oven
all year round, suddenly get an irresistable urge to become chefs
once the barbie's alight?

Well HF, I always fell into this typical male camp once upon a time. However, a distant ex of mine's father once had his entire family round one Summer. It was another relative's wedding a few days beforehand and he decided to offer them a "proper" British barbie - we're talking relatives from all over the world here. Anyway, the entire lot of them, and we're talking 30 odd people, ended up in casualty with acute food poisoning. From what I could glean from the information I was allowed to here, certain elements of the family aren't talking to each other anymore and certainly not to him!

I try to leave it to the professionals these days... :)
Bank Holiday Motoring Miseries - Dan J
to here? try to hear!

How come when you proof read a post, it is always correct. However after clicking 'post this message' you spot a damn great boob!

Wonder how often Mark (with his handy post-posting 'Edit' button) does it!
Bank Holiday Motoring Miseries - PhilW
Is it just Bank Holidays? Probably every day at certain times - and especially Fridays. Took me 6 hours from Dover to Loughborough last Friday (usually about 3) - only one slight accident, not helped by the fact that those new signs said two lanes were closed so everybody filtered to one lane but two lanes were open.
yesterday nearly 4 hours Leeds to Lough, Mainly because of Junction 34 (Sheffield Meadowhall) and the bridge repairs where M1 goes to 2 lanes anyway and is now down to one for about 100 yards "for safety reasons". Presumeably for safety of the non-existent workers at 8pm Sat evening. A little bit of thought could have directed some traffic down the slip road and back on to M1, or perhaps removed the 100 yds of cones for the weekend and saved everybody about an hour or so.
Whose bright idea was it to make some bits of our busiest motorways 2 lane in places? (J34 M1, the M6/M1 junction on M1 and those several on the M25)You can bet they never have to use these roads when busy.
All Mps should be made to drive back to their constituencies at 5 pm on a Friday - then something might be done.
Or perhaps they are too busy voting to improve their pensions.
Bank Holiday Motoring Miseries - Rob C
Now a very weird thing is...the couple who live opposite us are both retired, I suspect they are closet Morris Dancers, but this Friday they were loading up car with camper/trailer thing, roof box and bicycles.

My question is, if one is retired why go on holiday on a bank holiday? i.e. with everybody else.
Bank Holiday Motoring Miseries - HF
Hawkeye - sounds like you are one of the more sane amongst us? I'll still be interested in that 'answer' if it's ever forthcoming from someone though!

Dan - what can I say except LMAO? I had assumed that you were going to secretly arrange an impromptu barbecue at our meeting on the 7th (not making a point here of reminding anybody at all about this but I am referring to the BR meet-up on 7th September - see appropriate thread for details). I was looking so forward to ploughing my way through a slab of burnt meat with blood flowing through its veins. But it seems I am to be disappointed.

Seriously though, Dan, I'm kind of glad you mentioned this story. Can you imagine the suing we'd get if we had an entire Backroom full of salmonella poisoning?

As for typos - sorry but nearly fell off my chair on that one. I agree, lord only knows how things appear right or wrong to M and DD, because I am sure every time I am about to post my posts they look fine. Later - yes, sometimes they change. And suddenly make no sense whatsoever.

Ah well - just had to delete a few sentences of even less relevant stuff.

Should be akip anyway...

Bank Holiday Motoring Miseries - frostbite
And suddenly make no
sense whatsoever.

I am reliably informed that the name for this is 'disqwertya'.

Bank Holiday Motoring Miseries - drbe
Who was it that said (apart from me of course)

"Only a fool leaves his grounds on a Bank Holiday"

I couldn't agree more.

Don drbe
Bank Holiday Motoring Miseries - pdc {P}
I used to work all bank holidays, at double time, plus a day off in lieu.

My friends thought I was bonkers, wanting to be at work while they were with the rest of the country trying to get to DIY stores, the seaside and such like.
Bank Holiday Motoring Miseries - No Do$h
Grrrr! Bank Holidays!

Being aflicted with a job in the Midlands (for now) and a home in Sunny Dorset, my return home on a Bank Holiday weekend is tantamount to sitting in a tub of vinegar whilst lightly abrading my skin with a cheese grater.

I have no choice. I want to get home. So I take the valium and spend 5 hours doing a two and three quarter hour journey, staring at the miserable looking kids stuffed into the back of dad's car underneath the pile of bikes, tents, toys and boiled sweets. Or enjoy the variety that the back of a caravan has to offer. (Say, I have a swell idea, let's launch our new caravan in..... white!)

Needless to say, when I get home I don't leave home for ANYTHING until I have to go back to work on the Tuesday. All possible purchases are made mid-week and Stella and I (my wife, not the beer!) get a selection of friends over for a bbq or just order in loads of curry. It's easier than bbqing your friends, they tend to wriggle so.

Boy, do we know how to have a good time in this country.
If I don't reply it's nowt personal, I'm just working!
Bank Holiday Motoring Miseries - henry k
The one piece of good news as far as I am concerned is that few people read a map or plot a back up route.
I do the driving and my wife does the navigating as she does all over the world.
We take good maps.
Preview alternative routes before starting off.
Are prepared to take a little longer.
Enjoy the view instead of a rear bumper.
The main rules while on a diversion are simple. Give me clear instructions early. I will feedback any features along the way. If we take a wrong turn then either we turn round or we may go two sides round a triangle but no one blames the other.

Unfortunately we just had to undertake some urgent travel over the weekend and we saw some beautiful countryside avoiding many miles of A road and M way queues.
We are lucky to be able to do this.
I understand from my children that Geography at school isnt like it was for you Dad. It isnt about reading maps. So this bit is good news for the future. Good old OS maps.


Value my car