Flight Path


Today, Jackie Jackie drove us to Louisa and Errol’s at Mapperley Top, a suburb of Nottingham. When I say today, I mean all day – all eight hours. Rather more than anticipated.

As we travelled along the A35 we imagined the autumn leaves may have all fallen by the time we returned three days ahead.

As we progressed along the M25 we were reminded that we were on the Heathrow flight path, as several planes passed overhead. In another sense the motorway itself was a flight path, being the thoroughfare through which so many people flee from London for the Cotswolds on a Friday

M1 hold-up

when the first of what were to be several queues began. The speeds shown above the traffic are those that will keep the traffic moving. The huge container vehicle shown on the left, having crossed over chevrons, was about to fill the gap between us and the car in front. The reason for the queues is that most drivers ignore the posted limits and continue until they have to stop. This is termed a standing wave.


Soon we came to a standstill.

M1 jam

This was the first of many. They at least gave us the opportunity to look at the scenery.


Periodically raptors hovered above.

Burger King

We stopped at Newport Pagnel Welcome Break Services for lunch at Burger King.

Davis Haulage van

Half an hour later we continued the journey which was to take another four hours. This is because we faced 17 miles of road works necessitating a lane closure. We spent more time studying the back of Davis Haulage van than we usually do studying ponies’ rear ends in The New Forest.

Traffic Officer van

It took a long time to reach a Traffic Officer


warning traffic that a small van had broken down.

The further north we travelled the more wind turbines we saw.

Clouds over M1

Shortly before sunset the clouds darkened over the motorway.

Eventually we turned off at junction 26 and headed for Mapperley, as shown on the map. Then, like rats in a maze, we drove all over the place seeking something we recognised. We sought local guidance. Only then did we learn that there were two Mapperleys, and that our goal was on the other side of Nottingham. Errol phoned and advised us to go straight through the City Centre. We did that and I found familiar ground. It was dark by then.

We enjoyed a splendid evening with the family. Louisa cooked us a wonderful paella with garlic bread and salad. She and I drank Chateau de Grezels cahors, 2013. Jackie’s beverage was Fosters, and Errols, Stella.

To follow was watching Jessica and Imogen performing with Nottingham City Gymnastics Club for Children in Need TV.


  1. Do people actually drink Fosters Lager? I’ve never met anyone here that does. When I worked my way around Australia I did it mostly in pubs, clubs & bars and I have never poured/drawn or served a Fosters.
    Eight hours on the road, must be a long way, I never realized there was such great distances in England;
    8 x 110kmh = 880km (550miles? ) Take me from Sydney to the Victorian border or pretty close to it, I think,
    Hate those wind turbine things, ugly and kill birds 🙁 I saw quite a lot when travelling down Somerst and Devon back in ’05, Also big heaps of the things in California.
    Be better to harness the waves in the oceans and seas.

  2. Eight hours in the car is not fun (at least for me)–and worse when you’re delayed by traffic. I’m glad you had a good time once you arrived at the correct Mapperley.

  3. I must say, taking a road trip with you is never a dull moment, Derrick. I love the first grouping of photos! Sadly, all of our colorful leaves will be falling tomorrow with 40 mph winds in the forecast along with plummeting temperatures. Time to fire up the crock pot!

  4. I can imagine the emotions as the day deteriorated. . . “Oh look! Pretty autumn leaves on the lovely country road”, turns into traffic snarls, fast food hamburgers, grey skies, a wrong turn, and then at the end of it the reward is a Fosters? Well, I am sure the gymnastics display would have cheered the soul.

      1. You mean Nottingham? Because I also had the impression you neared London, and I was confused because when I checked the map it looked like a northwards trip through Oxford – a bit over three hours on my mapmaker. What a shock you must have received – eight hours!!!

          1. Last time we were in England, we experienced something similar. It’s incredible to become aware that these fast highways have been reduced to this crawl. What’s the answer? Build a bigger highway – destroy the village life – and then even more cars will come? Or return to the age of rail, with faster tracks and government buying back into the process?

          2. I agree with you. What a shame that the country who led the world in rail transport has come to this state. If the “authorities” would embrace rail then they could control the supply and demand, rather than leaving road usage to the fickle finger of fate. It is the same here. No vision.

  5. Sounds a bit like our recent trip from Nottingham to Dorking – at 11pm we were virtually stationery on the M1 for an hour.. You have my sympathy. Will be driving through Mapperley shortly, so will keep a look out for you. 🙂

  6. Reading through, one senses the mood shift as you sat in traffic. I enjoyed your wit, deftly inserted in your sentences. Better to make the most of a trying situation you can do nothing about.
    Glad your day ended nicely.

  7. This was an amazing adventure, start to finish! Your photographs in the beginning reminded me of Anneli’s in their luminescent appearance, Derrick.
    I am so happy you made it safe and sound Abe had a lovely visit with Louisa and the girls. Will look forward to photos of the enchanting gymnastics and children performance. 🙂

  8. Do you remember that scene from “One Foot in the Grave” when the characters were stuck in a traffic jam? I sometimes go an hour out of my way to avoid toll roads and busy highways. It isn’t just the traffic, it is the five lanes of fast traffic with semi trucks barreling past and everyone weaving in and out and going over the speed limit without keeping the correct distance between cars.. It is scary. But then I once drove to Florida from Wisconsin via the back roads. I saw some fascinating things and met some interesting people. The state of Illinois is putting a new highway in that is going to by-pass our little town. I see the handwriting on the wall as right now we are on the only highway with a straight line to some tourists sites. I’m glad that day is behind you. I just learned last week that 25% of the railroad in the USA is owned Warren Buffett and 25% is owned by Bill Gates. This used to be illegal before the USA became so capitalistic.
    Eight hours is over-the-top maddening for a three hour drive.

  9. I can only admire your patience! Thank heavens for your blog, so that you had a reason to take photos of trucks, wind turbines and traffic jams!!

  10. Like ancient Greek heroes, you travelled far – facing great obstacles, beholding strange flying creatures & many-armed giants singing to the wind, met a King from a foreign land, and traversing a maze of urban wonderment/cement/concrete -well it took a bit of concentration – arrived at quest’s end. 🙂

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