I’m on the road again!

Back on the road again, most of my friends are aware that I’m a complete car nut. I have a petrol driven, V8 Lexus Sport capable of 160 mph. (Innocent face – who me officer?) I also claim that I am saving the environment by trying to use up as much fossil fuel as I can so the my great grandchildren will not have to suffer the lack of ozone layer like my generation.

I went into lockdown at the end of February 2020 because of my great age and having been diabetic since 1989, when the diabetes came to light when I was climbing on Snowdon. You could say that things went downhill from there, and I finished up in hospital.  My test strips hadn’t turned green, they were black.

I am considered vulnerable. But I am enough of a rebel to have argued the point that high doses of insulin caused a huge increase in my weight, which had exacerbated the problem.

However in the passing years I had taken my diabetes by the throat, lost a vast amount of fat, joined a gym and worked out for around three hours each weekday. Replaced insulin with pills and gradually reduced pill intake to one pill a day.

However my management in the form of my lovely wife instructed me that the NHS have declared that you should go into lockdown because you are vulnerable so you must go into lockdown.  So into lockdown I went.  She excused herself by saying that she didn’t want to lose me before my time. Aaah! Not aagh!

In mid lockdown a telephone consultation with my diabetic nurse informed me that I’d cracked it and I was no longer considered a diabetic. Even this made no difference to my jailer. Did I mention that she’s only a year younger than me?

My car was collected by my garage and taken away for its yearly service and M.O.T. in March 2021. For the last 12 months my  car had covered just 820 miles.  The odd trip to the GPs surgery and a short run by the wife either  to charge the battery or an occasional trip to the Supermarket.

There sits my car, fully serviced and legal, panting at the bit and I get a letter from the NHS telling me that I am no longer considered to be vulnerable.  Don’t ask me why because I have no idea.

However the country is still in lockdown.  I sneaked out and took the car for a little warm up, just 20 odd miles.  The management made a remark that she was about to phone me in case I had broken down and did I wear a mask?

Then Boris offers his reprieve from  April 12th. Gyms open, but I have an alternative appointment which means 100 miles round trip. To Corby old town in the North of the county.

Gosh I was so looking forward to the trip. However by the time I arrived home I must say I was a little disillusioned. Main A Class roads with potholes at least 4 inches deep.  Then as I neared my destination there were queues of gigantic articulated forty or fifty ton lorries, some semi eighteen wheelers. The majority of them appeared to be left-hand drive leviathans with foreign plates, all seeming to heading towards my destination.

There is a Corby Transport Euro Hub in that direction.  I don’t like anything to do with the Euro anyway. Fortunately my SatNav came to my rescue and diverted me to the East to the old  part of Corby town, more like a village with a one way system and no parking.

Ten minutes to complete my business and I told my SatNav to take me home. Unfortunately the route home was ten miles further than the outbound and very busy traffic albeit coming towards me.

On the opposite side of the road was a broken down van who had one of those French traffic triangles in the road behind him while the poor driver was changing his punctured back wheel.

One of those horrendous 40 ton articulated monsters hurtled towards me.  I was about to describe it as a Pantechnicon but when I typed the word, my  predictive text altered the word to pandemic.  Probably a better description of those awful things being driven by crazy drivers on the clock.

Fortunately my recently fettled car had its ABS braking system checked and tested and when I slammed on my brake pedal, everything worked and I managed to stop in time for the lunatic driver to hurtle through the gap. He missed both the driver of the broken down van and my car with inches to spare.

It crossed my mind that had I been taken out by the oncoming lorry it would have been assumed that as I am old and had hardly driven for a year it was probably my fault.

Anyway I managed to complete my journey without too many incidents or the need to change my underwear.  I did divert to a favoured woodland walk for a breath of fresh air and a commune with nature to get my head in a more favourable place.

I decided that no way is it time to give up driving. It wasn’t that my driving skills had got rusty, I’d just forgotten that it’s normal to have to treat others in the road as potential killers. I also decided that if I need anything from Corby I’ll do it online.   

I remembered once I arrived home that the easing of lockdown had also meant that hand car washes had reopened.

I had used my pressure washer a few times during lockdown when the car was either covered in bird poo donated as a thank you by birds visiting your wife’s bird feeders and lately covered with half the Sahara desert sand diverted by the horrible weather.

I digress, I took my car to treat it to a full valet at my favourite car wash, which had also been shut down by Boris. We, that’s me and Lexie were greeted like long lost friends by some really, happy to be back at work, East Europeans who were working frantically like, well, East European car washers.

Lexie is happy,  parked looking shiny and unblemished with wheels gleaming like new and I have promised her an outing next Monday when I’m back in the gym after being AWOL for over a year.  What will it be first?  Treadmill, cross trainer, spin bike, rowing machine, exercise machines, free weights, followed by a visit to the spa.

Will it be a swim and then a laze in the hot tub and meet all my long lost buddies.  Am I really looking forward to getting out of bed for a 6am start and a three hour workout?  You bet I am.

As Captain Tom Moore said “Tomorrow will be a better day”!

About Jake

Long retired travel writer, author and freelance journalist. Educated at Wolverton Grammar and Greenwich Naval College. Happily married since 1958, with a married son and daughter, a married granddaughter and an adult grandson. Hobbies rock-climbing, dinghy racing and ocean racing. Still regularly working out in the gym.
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