Every two weeks I spend a terrifying ten minutes standing on the edge of the school’s property watching what seems like the entire world pass by in symphony. There are around 1400 pupils who pretty much leave the site all at once. Through the narrow gates of what I have labelled the school castle.


At the same time there are buses, school buses and many cars trying to use all the roads entering the centre of the picture. It is horrifying watching cars in a hurry and kids who don’t look and buses fully laden navigate this chaotic corner.

My current working theory as to why there are not many accidents here is down to the nature of the corner. The exact fact that it is quite chaotic causes people to slow down and be more aware. I do think that if there was a zebra crossing or similar put here there would be more accidents. The exact nature of busy unpredictable systems is that people slow down and look more.

Ask yourself this. When driving on a motorway do you fully concentrate at all times? When driving near your home do you fully concentrate at all times? Of course you don’t. It’s human nature to diminish tasks when they seem routine. Do you turn the stereo down when getting close to an unknown destination? Of course you do. It’s all about applying brain power from one activity to another. I know that I almost lose the ability to talk when driving near junctions or when I need more observation power. It’s almost as if multi-tasking didn’t exist!

Sometimes, It Happens

I’ve become quite philosophical about traffic jams. Rather than get annoyed and irritated I now realise there’s little I can do and so I relax. It is highly unlikely that I will lose lots of money through a traffic jam [being late for an appearance on Dragon’s Den maybe] and it is also rare that I have to be somewhere at a very particular time. As I work in education you might consider that I should be at work for the start of the day and normally I am there with plenty of time to get a coffee, do some photocopying and prioritise my emails.

This morning was a little different. Maidstone is updating and improving the bridges gyratory  in the centre of town. This means that occasionally they have to close the roads overnight so they can get the work done. This morning they failed to get the road cured on time and so there was a delay in opening Fairmeadow, possibly the most important through road in Maidstone.

This delay meant the two lane traffic was heading around the prison which is a single lane carriageway. Thus there ensued chaos. Well, not literal chaos but lots of cars going into not a lot of space and therefore lots of congestion.

It took me ninety five minutes to drive eight miles, the first four of those I covered in about ten minutes, the rest was Maidstone. I am happy to accept these delays as the improvements to the junctions will be worth it. Also, the extra time in the car gave me more time to listen to the Skepticrat podcast. Warning, there’s swearing a-plenty in this podcast and it’s political with a liberal bias. What else would you expect?

My general thoughts on traffic jams are that they normally mean someone is having a far worse day than you. Relax, there’s nothing you can do.

To give you an idea of the traffic chaos here’s a shot from Google maps:

A Bad Morning
A Bad Morning

I am going to find another map for you, possibly a larger version with a little more detail, but it would serve you well to see a version of a “normal” morning to compare, so I intend to do that also.

So, having said that here is a map of today, the next day, a day when the roads are working “normally”. Here you go, enjoy:

Maidstone Traffic
Maidstone Traffic

Northwest Passage

The title of this communication does not refer to the more frequent sea passage in the Northwest of the globe. The fact that this passage is becoming a more regular occurrence should scare the fuck out of all of you. Anthropogenic Global Climate change is happening and the speed is increasing. The biggest problem is that all the damage has been done already. Because the effects are long term and not pleasant and will cost a fucking fortune to sort out it’s not the sort of thing politicians really want to talk about. As far as I can tell this planet is fucked. It isn’t going to get solved and our grandchildren will be suffering as a result of this. Fuck the self-interested assholes who “govern” the countries. Fuck them and the short-termism of politics.


The bit in the middle of the map, bounded by the river, the A229 and the two motorways is a lovely area to live in. I have written about it before see this communication. To get to Snodland, which the Post Office thinks is the best place to take my parcels, is a 9 or 12 mile journey ONE WAY. This is largely because of the river and the location of bridges over the river.

A new village is being built on brownfield site in the three villages area. There will soon be four in the valley. While I understand the need for more housing I do think the character of the valley villages is going to be ruined. Currently the villages are largely working class Victorian homes built for the workers of Burham Brick Works. There’s a certain look and feel to the villages. The brand new village will be large, expensive homes. My chip on my shoulder is back! I have found myself getting annoyed recently at the stratification of society and the problems that causes. Anyway, back to the journey to the post office lest this writing become another rant about the uselessness of politicians and the social engineering they mess with [along with fucking the planet].

Part of the deal for these new houses was a new bridge to be built. This will allow most of the traffic of the new village to not go past the junction to my village. But in reality that’s bullshit. What may happen is that the local country roads become over run with people cutting through along the bottom of the Downs. We shall see. My village is already planning a zebra crossing because of the expected extra traffic.

New Bridge
New Bridge

The new bridge is in place and opened recently. I drove over it this evening and took a photo. Already the road seems busier [anecdote and confirmation bias]. I will run that way tomorrow. Normally running along that stretch I would be passed by about 3-4 cars during the mile I am on that road. It will be interesting to see what happens. While I like the idea of the bridge I am not happy about what it means for those who live around here.

The New Bridge
The New Bridge

So I now have to spend the next few months behind non locals who think the road [at the split] is two way because they haven’t paid attention. My patience could be tested.

I will keep you chaps updated about what happens. I predict a serious crash at the Bull Lane / Pilgrims Way junction within a year and then traffic lights or a mini roundabout will be installed.

Not A Roundabout

I have a complaint. This own’t surprise anyone. I’m pretty sure most communications within this website are complaints or me moaning or ranting on about something reasonably inconsequential. I’ve a feeling most people will think I’m just a little bit over the top on this one. It IS a valid complaint though.

Feast your eyes on this:

This clearly looks like a roundabout just south of Rugby. Here is another view of the “roundabout” within Google Maps:


It looks like a roundabout doesn’t it? How about these signs [stolen from Google Street View], these clearly show a roundabout:





Here’s the thing. IT’S NOT A FUCKING ROUNDABOUT. A roundabout means you give way to traffic from the right as you approach. Look at the following picture:


The road markings CLEARLY show that traffic on the NOT ROUNDABOUT has to give way to traffic approaching the NOT ROUNDABOUT.

The first time I drove this I nearly hit cars. You see the signs and you subconsciously know what is going to happen. Except it doesn’t because it’s NOT A ROUNDABOUT.

I’ll be going for a run soon to rid myself of stress and anger. Don’t even get me started on Cameron saying this country has christian values, Tony Blair saying shit about the middle east or the pope calling for world peace while his establishment STILL covers up priests who fuck kids and hasn’t handed over information to the police so these bastards can be prosecuted.

And, calm [not really].

Bad Traffic

Not sure this counts as the worst traffic ever, but it does look pretty bad.


I think there must be a site out there with historic traffic data. Will search.

What We Moan About

Firstly I shall make a number of presumptions. There’s probably plenty of evidence for these but I am not going to give citations.

  • Humans are tribal, belonging to groups makes us feel safe
  • Humans feel supported by groups and common interests
  • Humans are storytellers

I’ve been thinking about the things I moan about. Sometimes I explain those things on these pages, sometimes a short burst on Twitter and sometimes I like to moan to my family or work colleagues. It’s good to let off steam as long as you don’t come across to other people as a moaning bastard. Then again, it’s not always a bad thing to be considered the grumpy one, you tend to be left alone.

So, here goes.

The topics of our moaning need to be generalised. They should be topics that nearly everyone experiences or understands. They should be communal so we all feel involved and able to agree or chide.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the best topics for moaning are:

  • The weather
  • Driving
  • Supermarkets
  • Television

We all love to join in and be part of a gang. With these topics we can feel part of a gang straight away.
Just because we find cause to moan about these issues, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s getting worse. It might be different or worse or better. Anecdote won’t be able to tell. Let’s leave the details to the sociologists and scientists and engage in ranting every now and then. It’s good for you.