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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Saturday, September 03, 2005
    Future roads
    Re-reading Jim's paper Travels (previously blogged about here) because the 1,125 mile route he took from Ipswich to Belfast to Liverpool by way of Stranraer on the 2001 anniversary of the Irish Hunger Strikes embraced some of the way we went yesterday. I like his description of one stretch:

    [On] the A6 ... I have lunch in a transport cafe. I first travelled the A6 in the Fiftes when it was the main west coast road to Scotland. It climbs up to about 1,350 feet at Shap Summit and then drops down one-in-twelve slopes to High Barrow Bridge. During the fierce winters of the Forties and Fifties lorries slithered and stuck on those slopes. The Jungle cafe stood near the top, and displayed photographs of lines of lorries stuck in snow. This time it is dense cloud with a few yerds of visibility. I run out of this near Kendal and pick up the motorway, unable to face another set of lights or a roundabout.

    Yesterday it was brash sunlight, but Jim's in-car commentary built that picture of commercial vehicles in more vulnerable times struggling to complete their journeys. As we passed the former Jungle cafe the A6, so close to the motorway yet so distant in its difference, really felt like it was in another time. The really odd thing was that it felt like it might be in the future - the post-oil, post-car future, when our excess will be tempered and the small roads will host our slower, more healthful journeys again.