Saturday 12 May 2012

Car coats and driving gloves

Cybermen not pictured

The Great North Road; just the mere mention of its name is enough to make the screen in my head go all wavy. Time was (when glove compartments were actually used to keep your gloves in), if you were travelling from London to Edinburgh, calling at all staging posts inbetween, the A1, as it later became known, was the only viable artery running through the country. If you don't count chuffers.

Long before all the roundabouts were ironed out and it became just another eight-lane stretch of blacktop, The Great North Road was one of the reasons driving used to be enjoyable. The joy of motoring was not just some mythological time dreamed up by the History Channel: getting in the car and hitting the open road really was something to be savoured. Ten mile tail backs on the M25 was a nightmare that wouldn't be unleashed on the unsuspecting British motorist for at least another 30 years. From the top of the North Circular, where signs to Hatfield and the north promised so much more than a Galleria housing a second division shopping mall built over a tunnel, to Scotch Corner and beyond - The Great North Road allowed your right foot to be just that little bit heavier than normal; except when slowing down for the traffic lights at Sandy, that is. And winding your way through market towns like Grantham and Newark.

Speaking of Newark, it was announced earlier this week that the iconic service station at Markham Moor has been granted Grade 2 Listed status. This concrete structure built in 1961 with its hyperbolic paraboloid shell roof (not unlike a smaller version of Sydney Opera House) was a gas station you didn't mind pulling in at. Any Doctor Whoevians will know it was once used as a backdrop for a John Pertwee episode. Or was it Tom Baker? Anyway, it's now a Little Chef. It could be worse, it could be a Subway.


  1. The A1 is still a joy to drive on north of Doncaster, and an utterly despairing experience south of here, as this is where they have placed all the pointless speed cameras and pierced it with extra roundabouts.

  2. Doubt it'll be a Little Chef for long they are dropping like 9 pins around here...

    Where I used to work had the concrete bus shelter outside an office block - that had listed status, but the building had concrete cancer... so... oops the digger knocked it over before we knew, sorry, what is the fine, we'll send a cheque...

  3. Hatfiled swimming pool also had/has a roof like that...

  4. Your writing beautifully captures the essence of combining fashion and function when it comes to hitting the road. The imagery you paint of donning sleek car coats and comfortable driving gloves adds a touch of elegance to the driving experience. Just like how one carefully selects the right car coat and gloves for comfort and protection during drives, one must also consider practical solutions like selling damaged cars near me Brisbane when faced with vehicular challenges. It's a testament to your holistic approach to the topic.