I haven’t done much driving while we’ve been in England. Just a bit concerned as to whether my driving skills were up to scratch when faced with the rather more aggressive English drivers. So my wife has done most of the driving, and she’s happy to do it. She’s always had more confidence in driving in unfamiliar places than I have.
Those of you who know England will know that the M roads are the major ones, and have three lanes of traffic on either side, and in the inside lane drivers go full bore. The A roads are dual carriageway, and not quite so intensive. Then there are the various lanes and smaller roads, that mostly have larger numbers, like the A508, which comes into Roade where we’re staying.
I thought the other night I’d drive back from Northampton centre into Roade, since we were familiar with the territory, and there was little hope of me getting onto a wrong piece of road. So off I went with confidence, and was getting on well until we came to one of the final roundabouts before the Roade turnoff. Through a mixup of communication between the GPS, my wife and I, I turned off onto the M1. Panic stations. Once you’re on there, you can’t get off until it lets you off. So here I was, the person who didn’t really want to drive in England, driving on the most extreme road in the UK.
We quickly learnt, from our trusty GPS, that the next turn-off was eleven miles down the track. Eleven miles on the M1! However, I girded up my loins, metaphorically, since it’s difficult to do it any other way in a moving vehicle, and reminded myself of the sermon my nephew-in-law had given in church the previous Sunday. He’d spoken about the power of Words, and told us that words can change even our physical behaviour. So I said to myself, This isn’t a nightmare - it’s a challenge. I realised that any traffic that got into the same lane as me quickly saw that I was an old and doddery driver and needed to be passed, and because there are all these lanes, passing is a breeze. So for most of the time I had the M1 to myself…as it were.