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Whickham and District Motor Club Limited

30 mph

I suppose I should have thought about it as soon as I realised I was following a Kia Sedona, with a tow bar, a roof box and a very scuffed tailgate. It was also being driven by a man in a hat, which is always an indicator of slow progress to come. Not that everyone in a hat is slow, as can be proven by the many racing and rally drivers who also wear hats when they are driving, however, this hat was a trilby. Now I like a trilby as much as the next man, but when a man wears one whilst driving a car, that's clearly not right. Its almost as bad as wearing an overcoat whilst driving, generally, it should simply not be done. There are, of course, times when a man can wear an overcoat whilst driving, such as the London to Brighton run, or the Mille Miglia in a car with no roof, when admittedly, a hat may be worn. A cloth cap is more appropriate headwear on such a run, but a man in an overcoat and trilby driving a Kia Sedona simply is not right.


Of course, I knew what was to come as we sauntered down Sunniside Bank. The warning sign greeted us with a beaming smile as it proudly displayed a smiling face and the number 19. I have never seen the number 19 on such a sign before. I wondered for a moment, stupidly, and somewhat irrationally, if the trilby wearing overcoated warrior might have a sudden burst of enthusiasm and lunge madly through the speed camera at a heady and dangerous 25, however my excitement was extremely shortlived as with a heavy heart I saw the solid, bright red glow of a single offside brake light as he slowed even further. I wondered how any man could possibly think he would be guilty of any offence at a speed lower than 19mph unless he was perhaps one of those unfortunate people who simply do not understand numbers, and hadn''t checked his brake lights were working correctly. Maybe he didnt know that the big number 30 on the big white sign with the nice red border meant you would not fall off the road into a ditch, or skid uncontrollably into the path of a juggernaut tearing up the bank at its own maniacal speed of 30mph if you did anywhere near that speed.



30mph. I suppose I should be grateful. Had I been travelling to Whickham via the scenic route of Fellside Road, perhaps during the early hours of a Sunday morning during the Summer Holidays, I would have had to indeed travel at a speed much closer to 19mph, as of course the School Zones 20mph blanket speed limit (with humps, of course) remains in force 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days of the year. Now I can appreciate, as much as the next man, the need to be very careful whilst driving around schools, old peoples homes and Hospitals, or wherever there are likely to be people who may be either less than vigilant, or perhaps not very observant for some reason or other. However, I don't know of any child that goes to School in the small hours, and whilst there might be the occasional after school activity, it just doesn't happen in August, over Easter and Christmas time or when the schools are closed.

30mph. Its not exactly blindingly fast. I know there are always going to be those tree hugging, veggie-eating, coconut sandal wearing swampies that argue any speed is dangerous and 20mph is plenty fast enough in built-up areas, however many of the important things in life rely on the movement of people and things and without maintaining a reasonable pace we would never get anywhere on time. I have to laugh at the EcoWarriors on their marches, organising protests on their free minutes with their Samsung mobiles, and wonder if they think about the cost of transporting them over thousands of miles and how they get into the shops. Just like the organic vegetables with their shorter shelf life that need to be transported more quickly before they go off unlike the normal, irradiated foodstuffs.

19mph. I suppose the one benefit of following somebody at 19mph was what I observed in my rear view mirror on the day: it did at least give the driver behind me the opportunity to catch up on his emails or messages or whatever he was doing, as he was certainly not concentrating on the road at that speed. After all, he wasn't going fast enough to do any damage or hurt anyone. Maybe that's what Trilby Tommy was doing - driving in a manner that encouraged others to drive with bad behaviour......

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