Just a quick post - I want to go to bed - built around a photo I took on the way home from the North at the start of July. It shows a lineup of huge container lorries at Toddington Services (Southbound) on the MI motorway. Rather pathetically sandwiched between them is Fiona and my little caravan:
How small and vulnerable my ensemble looks! And yet I whizzed past plenty of these giants on my way up North and back again. It makes you wonder what would have happened if, in a moment's inattention, we had touched.
In case you're wondering why I was mixing it with the professional drivers of the road haulage business, I should explain that Toddington Services (Northbound) is a different animal from Toddington Services (Southbound). Northbound, the owners of the services have provided special parking for caravans, away from the lorries, although one still has to contend with coaches. Southbound, there is no special provision, and you have to try your luck in the lorry parking area, and risk feeling intimidated. Pretty poor, I say.
Lorries are coming and going all the time: I had only seconds to grab this shot before I would have been run over.
I will say the drivers behaved very well. There were no wolf whistles or appraising stares or hello-darlings (or whatever it would be in French or Polish or Czech). Given the size of the cabs, it's easy to see how a driver might enjoy a fair bit of living space onboard, but it's not a life that has many attractions, given that your choice of route and speed and place to stop for rest must be very restricted, to optimise the use of fuel, and keep other costs to a minimum. Plus the ever-present danger of theft or hijack if you leave the vehicle, unless of course you can find collective safety in a convoy.
Which reminds me of a certain 1970s pop song - no, not the original Convoy (1975), but the spoof British version called Convoy GB (1976) starring CB delinquents Plastic Chicken and Superscouse, in which much is made of 'changing gear' and losing a few people down exit sliproads when the line of lorries - 'the biggest truckin' convoy outside the USA' if I remember rightly - gets to Spaghetti Junction. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convoy_%28song%29 for references to both songs. Ah, they don't make pop songs like that any more...