Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Perfect Commute

I may be only a few years into my working life, but I already know the importance o the daily commute. Over the space of a few years I went from one extreme to another. Sit back, relax and let me explain. When I was on placement from summer 2002 to the following summer, I clocked up on average 600 miles a week. That is right, nearly fours hours of driving every day. I suppose, as it what was a year, it was acceptable and I had to just grin and bear it. My colleagues would comment that it must be soul destroying. My reply would be that it is in face character building. Then in June 2004, I started my first 'proper' job after University. The commuting time had not changed, just the journey. I now how to catch a bus into the town centre, then walk to the rail way station, catch a train into Marylebone. Then jump on two tube trains to the office. I would leave the house at 6am and return nearly 8pm that evening. Not much of a life, really.

Fast forward to December 2004, when I was only a month into this blog I had the perfect commute. My office is seven miles from my house, down a main dual carriageway and then around a few country roads and I am at work. The journey in ideal circumstances should take ten minutes. In fact, on 25th July 2005, I set a world record of ten minutes exactly. I know what you are thinking, as I live so close to work, I would make the most of it. Get up at 8am, perhaps even 8.15am and leisurely make my way into the office. Nothing could be further from the truth, if I fell into that trap, I would slowly become so complacent that I would get up as late as possible to be in work, just in time. Instead, I opt to get up early and be in the office early.

However the dream of the perfect drive was broken by the powers that be. Mainly the Highways Agency and local district council. Work began on the proposed expansion of the Handycross Roundabout in October 2005 and was due to finish in December 2006. I was not confident that the work would be completed in time and opted to avoid the junction completely as much as was humanly possible. My drive home would take me under the by-pass, over Marlow Bridge and through the village and over the M40. This added on average twenty minutes to my journey time. I longed for the work to be complete so I could return to my preferred route.

As Pav dropped me off home Monday lunchtime, I noticed a new sign on the by-pass regarding the exit for the M40. Could it be open? As we drove the half mile up the road, I could see the new filter lane was open. Fantastic! It was only five months late but I could once again begin using the by-pass for my journey home. It was quite a revelation and I looked forward to care free journeys home. Even though I was in the family 307 and not my beloved A3, I got home with no problems. Perhaps this was not the best day to judge. The evening after a Bank Holiday Weekend, there was absolutely no traffic up to the Handycross Junction, I literally sailed home. Brilliant. Amazing what the difference one filter lane can make. Thankfully it will also stop complete idiots stopping in my lane when they realise they should be out to the right to get onto the M40 northbound.

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