Friday, 20 April 2007

Long Journey

So, yesterday was my monthly visit to Worcester. For various reasons (none of them very exciting) I decided that I would drive instead of getting the train. In retrospect this was an extremely stupid idea. Having previously established that my geography sucks, and having only recently discovered where on the map Worcester is, I had to completely rely on the AA route-finder to get me there. Apart from various traffic jams the journey didn't go too badly. Until I got lost on the M42. The directions told me to take junction 4A sign-posted M5... I passed junction 5, then junction 4 and then junction 3A.... so I turned round and went back. Still no 4A... so I turned back around and kept on going towards Birmingham (having previously established that Worcester is near Birmingham). Junction 3, Junction 2, Junction 1 - oh dear, I'm thinking I'm lost. And then, out of nowhere, Junction 4A. How?! Why?!

Coming back was even worse. I got lost in a series of mini-roundabouts and ended up on the M5 heading to Bristol! Ended up going cross country to Cheltenham and Oxford before eventually coming South on the M4... which lands me on TOTALLY the wrong side of London at M25 Jct17!!! It would have been quickest to go counter-clockwise home, but the traffic dissuaded me from this course of action... so I decided to re-trace my morning route back to the M11 and junction 27. Until the traffic reports started telling me about accidents and long delays from Jct29. I stopped at South Mimms (where I had, coincidentally filled up with fuel that morning) and rang my Dad to ask for advice! He said to go South on the A1 and go either through London or round the North Circular. I never found the North Circular, but I do know my way around London (the only place where I DO have a sense of direction!)... so at 8pm I was one block from my office and I finally headed home down the 53 bus route!!! I'm not taking any more journeys into the unknown unless I get Sat-Nav. The stress is just too great!

The avoidance of Junction 27 turned out to be a good thing... they had to shut the motorway from 27 in both directions as there was a horse got loose! The mind boggles.

For those people who don't live in London (or even England) - a word about the M25. The M25 is a motorway which encircles London (apart from a small gap on the East side for the Thames crossing of the Dartford Tunnel and the QE2 bridge. The road is 117 miles long, has 31 junctions and took 9 years to construct (in sections). It is the butt of many jokes, as traffic is extremely congested around much of the motorway (despite numerous widening efforts, and variable speed limits, etc.). My favourite M25 tale is from a book called "Good Omens" by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman where the M25 is formed in a demonic sigil and traffic on the motorway "acts like water on a prayer wheel". That would explain a great deal!

The eight or so hours I spent in the car did give me ample opportunity to listen to talk radio, which amused me for some time. I like BBC Radio London (until I get out of range) and then BBC Radio Five. However, I was pretty fed up with the day's news by the time I got home last night!

It's quiet in the office today as the Partners are off at head office for the "Partners Meeting" and the rest of us are frantically trying to get our Bill completed. I guess you have to be careful what you wish for... a while back I expressed the view that "we never go to measure anything properly any more" and then this billing lands in our office which wants to be measured to SMM7. As I observed to the office at large, I'd been done by now if it wasn't for SMM7!!!

For those who don't know (and probably don't care either) SMM7 is the Standard Method of Measurement (Seventh Edition). It is the rules followed for the measurement of construction works. The theory being that if you measure to SMM7 everybody knows exactly what is included and how. Sadly it requires large amounts of co-ordinated information from the design team - which you rarely get!

Now I've finished boring everybody, I'm getting back to work.