by David G. Thorne
It is universally acknowledged that Hexhamite is a superb driver. The King of the Road. Poop! Poop! Schumacher bows before my prowess at the wheel while the Stig is not fit to kiss my bumper.
Okay, perhaps a bit of an exaggeration. However, it is fair to say that I know how to handle a car, I know the Highway Code and I know when I have right-of-way. It seems sometimes that I am the only one.
As a dutiful son, I make a point of paying regular visits to my sprightly old Mater. Reaching the matriarchal pile involves driving along a meandering avenue, which the powers-that-be have determined poses a “road safety risk”. That being, children who enjoy a game of football in the road stand a good chance of falling under the wheels of a passing motorist.
In the dim and distance past our schools used to teach us that re-enacting the cup final on a busy thoroughfare is generally a bad idea and Darth Vader taught us the Green Cross Code to avoid unnecessary splattage. Roads were understood to be the domain of the motor vehicle, which made them dangerous places to play.
In these more enlightened times of course we think differently. Two legs good, four wheels bad and all that. The motorist is a menace who should be discouraged from using the roads at all costs.
Which is why the functionaries at Town Hall have installed a series of double chicanes along the mile long approach to the home of Hexhamite’s grande dame. The theory goes that, by being made to weave through these obstacles cars will be forced to slow down. Naturally the boy racers see them as a challenge to be navigated at top speed. Q.E.D.
Each set of chicanes is accompanied by road signs at either end, indicating which lane has priority. This is to avoid drivers meeting bumper to bumper in the middle. Simple? Yes, if drivers actually understood what the signs mean! A cursory perusal of the Highway Code makes clear that priority applies across the whole distance between the two signs. If a car is already in the chicane section, then he has priority irrespective of what the sign says. So why do the road hogs come whizzing round the corner, see the priority sign and plough headlong toward the vehicle trying to leave the section?
Notoriously susceptible to road rage, Hexhamite has stopped remonstrating with the clowns who claim to have right-of-way when they do not. Now I simply switch off the engine and start reading the Telegraph, thus blocking the entire street. My opponents may curse until they are blue in the face, but they always concede defeat and back up to allow me to pass.
Drivers should realise that the chicanes are a road safety measure, not a game of chicken. Playing brinkmanship with Hexhamite in vexed mode is like playing Russian roulette with a bullet in every chamber. Not recommend. Poop! Poop!