Road traffic information signs in the village of Croyde - Credit: Richard Naude / Alamy Stock Photo

OPINION: Summer fun on North Devon's roads - Dave Griffin

Dave Griffin

What is the biggest impact that Devon folk have elsewhere in the country when they themselves go on holiday?

Do they clog up traffic in Oxford Street and Trafalgar Square? Do they fire up barbeques in Hyde Park and burn holes in the lawns of London’s beautiful green spaces? Are holidaymakers from Lynmouth and Lustleigh causing traffic jams right now in Leeds?

All right, I know. Enough of this tongue in cheek nonsense. But last week my blood pressure soared to beyond 180/95 as I tailed two slowcoach caravans along the Muddiford Road en-route to my hospital appointment.

The occupants were no doubt escaping their urban cityscape, but in their desperation to be far from the madding crowd, they will no doubt join another madding crowd at an overpopulated caravan site. So much for sleepy Devonshire.

On the previous day, I’d become stuck behind a Kent-plate Skoda with a white poodle in the rear that never, I kid you not, exceeded 32mph, and unovertakeable. It made me fifteen minutes late for my fifth Covid booster at Tesco’s Seven Brethren store. (Any more jabs and I’ll resemble a watering-can spray).

Here’s their in-car conversation: the elderly driver’s wife is saying, ‘Slow down, Arthur, and let’s enjoy these glorious Devon views.’ Arthur obediently replies, ‘Yes, dear,’ before reducing his speed to a crawl that’s going to delay by an hour every supermarket home delivery in Pilton.

I’m afraid that older people tend to forget that the world around them is far busier than they are, and cannot afford to suffer hold ups - and before I’m accused of demonising OAPs, I’ll be seventy-something myself next birthday.

For me, the national speed limit sign means just that, and not a suggestion to crawl at a snail’s pace.

To add to the woes of Devon’s van, taxi and lorry drivers, we’re now approaching the cycling season, and it’s that smug sense of entitlement oozing from convoys of cyclists that most rankles motorists fuming in long queues behind them.

Cyclists gleefully draw attention to the Highway Code’s recently revised priorities that bike riders must be given right of way, but they seem less concerned with its other rules instructing all road users to show mutual consideration, which means to not block roads and cause obstructions. Highways are the nation’s arteries.

Private and commercial vehicles both pay dearly to use them. Unlike expensive gymnasiums and golf clubs, roads are unsuitable for recreation.

Lastly, how can I not mention the endless summertime queues at Braunton that add thirty minutes to journeys, all caused by tourists’ vehicles bound for Saunton and Croyde.

Long tailbacks chuffing out CO2 in second gear are endured daily by Barnstaple-bound commuters.

One solution has been irrevocably vetoed: to cut a by-pass right through Braunton’s Great Field.

There’s more chance of demolishing the Pyramids and replacing them with an Asda store.

It’s a Rwandaful Life

Has anyone else checked out house prices in Rwanda? There are some beautiful homes in Kigali, where asylum seekers landing on Dover’s beaches are bound for if Home Secretary Priti Patel gets her way.

Of course, the intention of deportation is to discourage architects, engineers, doctors, teachers, dentists, IT programmers, veterinary surgeons, electricians, toolmakers and carpenters from handing to people smugglers substantial sums of money earned from their trades and vocations.

Any journalists also seeking refuge may already know that rather like the regimes they are escaping from, they cannot always express themselves freely here in Britain, either.

Nevertheless, it must be galling for Rwandans to learn that exile to their nation is considered to be a punitive deterrent.

Rwanda is an expanding, developing African state that in the fullness of time may emerge as an influential powerhouse. And why?

Probably because those highly-skilled professionals now boarding at Brize Norton will have abandoned asylum in the UK, and instead employed their considerable talents to build a young country that appreciated the would-be migrants’ skills more than we did.

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