Thursday, 28 March 2019

Zooming about all over the place......

I don't think it's me, that I live a quiet life and am not out and about on the roads very often, I don't think that it's me.........but lately I have noticed that most of the cars seem to be zooming about, far to fast for safety, and all oblivious to there being such a thing as a speed limit, and overtaking so close to our little van that it is a marvel that they do not clip our backside.

Most cars will want to overtake our van if they can. I used to drive a delightful little two toned grey  Citroen 2CV when I was in the UK. This was years ago, but it has always remained my most loved car even though it had to be sold as it was not big enough to carry all the rolls of fabric from fabric warehouses in Brick Lane (near Petticoat Lane in London), back to where my shop was, which was on the Isle of Sheppey, in Kent. That little car was such a workhorse, was light to drive as a ballerina on pointy toes especially round corners when it could be driven as if it was a motor bike, which means that I could swing her slightly wider at the start of a corner, then launch her into the curve as the corner continued round its arc. It was splendid fun. The suspension on her would allow her to keep her wheels firmly anchored on the road but let her body swing over, just like a motor bike does. But not a racing circuit type of motor bike, just a day tripper type of motorcyclist, one who has a modicum of madness.
These are photos from the internet 

As I say, that Citroen lady would dance about, safely but lightly, along the roads, could be fully loaded up (with the back seats left at home) with rolls of fabric and would then drive quite sedately, but still safely, along the middle lane of the motorway for two hours to get home, with the same speed as when she was unloaded and empty. She was a joy.

But it was the other drivers who hated that Citroen lady, and would get into a fume if they could not overtake her. My partner would not believe me at the time, until the day he had to borrow her and became subjected to lots of road rage from other drivers, almost getting into a punch up with one driver. That was in  the 1980's. And so now, in 2019, it would seem that other drivers, here in France, have a dislike for small cars.  We travel at a good speed, but not a crazy one, and frequently find other cars glued to our rump until they can overtake us, sometimes dangerously.

The French government have become alarmed at the amount of road deaths, and two years ago reduced the speed limit on main roads to what they considered a safer speed. It did not work. The deaths increased. So in 2022 they are proposing to insist on governors being put into cars, which are aimed at stopping drivers from exceeding the designated  speed limit of the particular stretch of road they are on. It's a bit like  'big brother' in a way, but there is definitely a madness  brewing in most car drivers at the moment. Perhaps it is the arrival of Spring. Perhaps the blood is pumping hard, and the energy which is thus produced needs to be used up somehow. France has a lot of straight roads, the foot can be put down hard, and zoom mode happens.

Ah well, it is as it is. Perhaps the speed of the cars can be controlled by satellites up in the heavens, but maybe the drivers will get crosser and more frustrated. We shall wait and see........

And the Citroen lady was sold on to a young man, whose first car it was. I am sure that she was driven hard. She would have liked that. And I went on to own an old  black double wheeled van, which carried me to markets around Kent very efficiently. It was just as efficient at taking me to local nightclubs for these were my ' break loose ' years. There was nothing quite so satisfying as parking that scruffy black van  in front of the venue alongside the posh and shiny vehicles.

During my time as owner of that van I learnt to park in difficult places by hanging out of the sliding doors so I could  see the spot  which I had to aim for, market places being very cramped on space especially when other vendors where  setting up their stalls as well. I became very good at parking. But that was then. Apparently that skill has faded, according to my efforts yesterday at parking our little white van in an under cover parking area. I think it is because I cannot lean out of the door sideways to watch where I am going. This is when going backwards. Going forwards is alright.

It would seem that my preferred type of car / van  is one which is more of a workhorse rather than a car which is for leisure, so I shall continue to be patient with ' less than patient'  drivers. As for the black van, that never got bullied because it was bigger than most leisure cars of that time, who would have come off worst in a bump with me because the van was already had a bumpy surface anyway. I did say that it was an old girl!

Off I go into my day. It is nearly noon, but I have not started the usual activities of the day yet, just been chatting with you. 

Bye for now, 



tilly said...

The drivers I encounter seem to think rules do not apply to them ! their time is more important, the younger generation think rules or laws of any sort don't apply to them at school, home or authority.The speeding generation taking kids to school and parking on double yellows and zig-zag crossings, pavement parking, is their right! They know no-one can touch them legally. Gun and knife crime and add in drugs and mental health not being helped by technology....Parents no longer have a grip on the next generation. I fear what will become of us all. I am pleased to be no longer young as I would not want to see where the world in general is heading!
I am pleased when I am overtaken but expect to see them in a head on crash down the road.!!
sorry for the rant....

Rhodesia said...

As I am sure around you, all the roads here are very narrow. We slow down to move a wheel off the road to pass, I think the French put their foot down to see how fast they can get by! A couple of years back returning from friends one evening, I was driving as I had not had a drink. We got to a small hamlet with a sharp corner, a van came around the corner at top speed, removed my side mirror and disappeared into the gloom behind. All we saw was that it was a van, too dark to see number plates, I can only think whoever was driving had been drinking but it scared the hell out of me. Almost €700 later for a new automatic mirror of which the insurance company would have no part, they said it happened far too often!!!!! It has made me twice as careful about getting off the side of the road! Have a good day Diane

Vera said...

TILLY: You are right in everything you say, and I am also pleased that I am living in a relatively quiet part of the world, which is SW France!

DIANE: Oh dear, that was quite a scary, and expensive, experience to have had, but hopefully you will never have it repeated!

DUTA said...

The header of your blog is gorgeous! I particularly like the photo of you, Lester and your musical instruments.
Your post is an Ode to your former little Citroen car. Yes, people can get sentimental about their car,
Sadly, traffic nowadays is chaotic. Lots of tragic accidents on the roads. and no practical solution seen at the horizon.

Vera said...

DUTA, that Citroen was such an all round workhorse and fun vehicle to own! As for driving habits nowadays, .....they are not very good, but at least the EU is trying to curb speeding by introducing the governor on cars to stop the drivers for driving at excessive speeds, which might help.

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

Vera, I have just come to accept that people will pass me and zoom around me in frustration. As long as I am in slow lane, I just cruise along in my little zone.

I have a Mazda 5, which is a combination of a either a very small minivan or a very largish compact station wagon. I like it because the seats fold down in back and I can actually carry things that are useful - and it is a standard, so it is entertaining to drive. It is surely not glamorous though.

It will be 9 years old this year and has 184,000 miles on it. I am hoping it will go another 9 - that should leave me about one or two cars away from not having one at all.

Denise said...

I remember your ‘Dolly’, Vera. And how much you enjoyed driving her, too. Full of character and full of fun. The perfect car for you! 🙂

Vera said...

Toirdhealbheach Beucail, I also am content to be a slow driver, and do not mind to be always overtaken, and if someone is attached to my rump then all I do is slow down a bit more.

Your car sounds like one we would own, being sensible enough to be used a workhorse, and the way you drive it will ensure that it has a long life.

We like our little white van because it merges into the background and no one takes any notice of it because there are a lot of similar vans here. Our previous car was an old black Mercedes, which was an emergency buy when we arrived here. We always felt conspicuous in it.

DENISE: And it had net curtains in as well, which is probably why I got bullied so much by other drivers!