I seem to spend a lot of time driving up and down the M5, mostly between Exeter and Gordano services near Bristol with occasional trips as far as Walsall. I have begun to notice that some things happen on one trip that might not occur on other trips. The recent Bank Holiday weekend for instance I saw quiet a few caravans parked on the hard shoulder. People drive their family car round a big city and then decide to tow their caravan a couple of hundred miles or so down to beautiful Devon with out even wondering if the car is up to the job. Motoring organisations and caravan clubs have been telling people ever since the M6 opened 50 odd years ago that a check under the bonnet of the car at such things as oil, water and fan belt is best done at home before you set off, not by an expensive mechanic at the side of a wind swept motorway.
Most of my trips are done during the day when the road is a mix of cars and HGVs with a few coaches. Then most of the cars seem to keep (with few exceptions) to the speed limit. Last Wednesday evening I left Torquay at 6:30 heading for Walsall. On the motorway I realised there were almost no HGVs and the cars were moving much faster. Car drivers on their way home drive much faster it seems.
Sunday I went up to Walsall with 51 passengers. I took them all to our depot in Wednesbury where they left the coach and boarded minibuses to be taken to their very own front doors. All had had to do was drive the empty coach a couple of miles to my hotel and have a quiet evening. No sorry, said the transport manager, One of the drivers hasn't turned up and you will have to drive a mini bus. I managed to get every one home, just, before running out of driving time. I had to sit in the bus for half an hour before I could drive back to the coach and on to the hotel. No sorry, there was a suitcase still on the bus that shouldn't have been there. It belonged to someone who had got on a different minibus. I had the address but no satnav so I rang the owner up and got directions. Not very go directions as it turned out and I spent an hour wandering aimlessly round Walsall before finally reuniting owner with case. Then back to coach and hotel. I still had plenty of time on my hands so I took the 405 into West Brom. West Brom on a Sunday evening is not the world's most inspiring place (see photo), sorry West Brom.