Early Mornings Don’t you Just Love Them!
In the United States, if you are approximately 45 miles away from your destination and driving in a car you can roughly calculate that, you should, in most cases arrive within an hour or so. We have friends who live and work in Europe and here too, drivers can estimate with a degree of accuracy how long a particular journey will take. Unfortunately, Britain’s roads and traffic congestion does not permit us to do the same. A journey on trunk roads and motorways that should normally take just 30 minutes, can indeed, last for half an hour. At other times, the same journey could take you much, much longer.
Recently, when driving to a nearby university to deliver a lecture, one of a number of lectures delivered over a period of several weeks, a journey that could easily be accomplished in thirty minutes took nearly two hours to complete. Such is the congestion and traffic problems that can be encountered on our roads.
Today we had a teaching assignment at a school about 80 miles away. This school is located on the other side of a major traffic blackspot on the M6 motorway through the city of Birmingham. To ensure we got to the school in plenty of time, we were up at 4am and on the road for 5am. This gave us three and a half hours to drive 80 miles. On a good day we would have avoided much of the rush hour traffic and had time to have breakfast before arriving at the school to start our teaching sessions. The journey could be expected to last perhaps as much as two hours, unfortunately, this was not the case and it took nearer three hours to complete.
Only by allowing plenty of “float” in case of traffic problems can we endeavour to arrive on time for meetings, teaching sessions and so on. The drawback to doing this is that we have to get up very, very early. There are something like 22 million cars in the United Kingdom and with the forecasted growth in the population many more cars will probably be on our roads in the future. Public transport is often not an option due to the inadequacies of the service offered, so we just have to grin and bare it.
We do try to cut down on our car journeys, share cars to help with our carbon footprint and where possible take trains, but often when going to a school these are not options.
So I guess we will simply have to get used to early starts.