I stole the title from a news article. According to T. S. Eliot, it is OK to steal from the work of others.
The Highways Agency closed a bridge in Nottingham on Thursday night to check some damage they had found during a routine inspection. Along with thousands of others I did not know this when I set off to take Julia to work at 8.00 that morning. (To clarify – thousands of others did not know, but only I was taking Julia to work).
A journey which should have seen me spend about 45 minutes in the car, took me two and a half hours. I won’t describe it, or the behaviour of some drivers in the queue. Nor will I complain how bad it was for me or how useless the Highways Agency are (though this is very tempting – they were totally useless in warning people and totally useless in setting up diversions). They were great at closing the bridge and causing chaos, but I could have done that with a few signs – that’s they easy bit). I won’t even moan about the fact that the bridge, which was supposed to be closed until Friday mid-day, is now likely to be closed until Wednesday.
I am not even going to remark that many people must suffer worse inconveniences than this on a regular basis.
No, today’s gem of wisdom is that if the fairly small matter of a closed bridge brings a city to gridlocked chaos, where would we be if something serious ever happens?
Despite having a prize-winning bus system and an expensive tram system, neither was much use. The buses don’t have bus lanes on the ring road and the trams don’t necessarily go where we need to go, though the network is expanding.
The second gem of wisdom, and I can’t help feeling smug at managing two in one day, is that this is why we can’t get people out of cars and onto public transport. Even when things are running properly Julia has to take two buses and two hours to get to work by public transport. I have never even tried, as it would take two buses and the best part of an hour to do a journey that only takes me ten minutes by car.
So, from one point of view, the problem is poor public transport. From the other it is that I’m selfish. When the world comes to an end, I will have to take my share of the blame for pollution. But in my defence, the bus would take the equivalent of three working weeks out of my year, and deprive the world of a substantial chunk of my writing. This may, or may not be a price the world is willing to pay, but it does at least allow me to say this is the way the world ends, gets me back to Eliot to complete a circular blog.