The Anonymous Widower

Dancing with Hippopotami

I have just returned from Cornwall.  It was an easy drive in the Lotus, but it was made fraught because of the other clowns on the road and the fact that my new Sony radio failed.  I suspect that it’s just a fuse, but the original radio lasted sixteen years.

I left Polzeath dead on eleven this morning and instead of taking the Wadebridge and Bodmin route to the A30, I went via Camelford and picked the main road up at Launceston.  Now the 0-60 time for a Lotus Elan SE is 6.7 seconds.  That sounds a bit slow compared to Bugatti Veyron at 2.7 seconds, but those between six and seven seconds include a lot of fast machinery.  See TorqueStats for more details.  But because the handling is so precise and the engine has a wide torque curve, an Elan can overtake where much faster cars struggle. Certainly on the B-road to Camelford and on to Launceston, I overtook upwards of twenty vehicles with ease.

What struck me on that road was the numbers of 4x4s loaded to the gunnells. Not to be content with filling the inside with junk, they often had a large pack on the roof.  Now I know some people like to travel with the kitchen sink, but what you take tends to fit the space available.  I can remember that the when the children were small we could fit all three in the back of a Porsche 911 and get everything we needed in the boot.  Perhaps, we were poor and couldn’t afford all wheel drive push chairs.

Everything went well until a few miles after Exeter, when the radio failed.  This was particularly disappointing as I have since found out that my third least favourite team (Leeds United) has beaten my second least favourite (Manchester United).

And then we had the first delay of an hour.

Some prat in a Jeep decided to run into the back of someone else in the outside lane of the motorway.  Two other cars then joined the accident. I don’t know whether the Jeep was overloaded but there was obviously some misjudgement somewhere.  Perhaps the driver didn’t realise that his car didn’t brake as well as the hot hatch he ran into the back of. I should also say that when I break hard in the Lotus, I watch both ends so I don’t get  shunted up the arse.

And then a few miles further on, another 4×4 turned over and cost me another half-an-hour.  I hope it didn’t  cost anybody their life, as the Air Ambulance had landed in the field.

But perhaps we should ensure that they don’t travel at excessive speeds in the outside lane of the motorway, with drivers who are not competent to handle them at that weight and that speed.

I have been looking too at the specifications for a major manufacturer of roof boxes.  I can’t find any warnings about how they will affect the handling and the maximum weight they can carry seems quite low.  Perhaps the latter is correct, but how many overload them.  I certainly wouldn’t put one on my Jaguar X-Type Estate.

Once past the last accident, I had no real problems and pushed on past Swindon, Oxford, Brackley, Northampton, Huntingdon and Cambridge.  This may seem a long way to go, but it does avoid the M25 and all the roadworks.

I’d have done the journey under six hours but for the accidents!

At one point I followed a real car of a plonker; the BMW X6.  Don’t just take my view on this, but read what Jeremy Clarkson has to say. He was a lot more scathing on Top Gear.  Perhaps The Times needs the advertising and the BBC doesn’t.

But then I followed a Jaguar XF.  I could hold it, but only just.  When they produce an estate version, I’ll look at the Jag.

But I’ll still keep the Lotus.

January 3, 2010 - Posted by | Transport/Travel | , ,


  1. […] high speed train to the county. I drove back once at a very busy time in my Lotus and reported it here. It took six hours to Cambridge if I cut out the delay due to accidents. Why […]

    Pingback by Good News For Cornwall « The Anonymous Widower | July 3, 2014 | Reply

  2. […] In the past, I’ve always driven to and from Cornwall via the Northern route and I describe one journey in Dancing with Hippopotami. […]

    Pingback by Dartmoor Rail Service Reopens This Year In Reversal Of Beeching Cuts « The Anonymous Widower | March 19, 2021 | Reply

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