A Driving Instructor's Blog

I had a very eventful weekend.

On Friday, the fuel panic-buying started. I’d noticed queues throughout the day, and I knew it wasn’t going to just blow over anytime soon. My main concern was having fuel for Monday, when I have a pupil on test. I’d already started thinking of cancelling weekend lessons if need be to make sure I could do it. By the end of Friday, I had over half a tank, but I knew it wouldn’t last the weekend and cover Monday’s test.

I get my fuel from Asda, but on arriving well after 9pm Friday evening, and after joining the small queue to the 24 hour pumps, it became clear that they were all locked up because Asda was out of fuel. So I nipped to the nearby Esso garage which had also had queues all day, and it was also closed early because it was out of fuel. I then took a long shot and nipped to a local village outside of the city and managed to fill up there (though they appeared to be short of diesel, and people were queuing).

I was still concerned about the Monday test, though. A tank of petrol would not last much beyond Saturday and Sunday with all the lessons I had scheduled. But on my way to my first lesson on Saturday, events took over. I got two texts in quick succession from pupils cancelling because they had something else on (translation: the Detonate festival was on yesterday, and they were going to that), one from someone’s mother informing me they were waiting for the results of a PCR test, and one from another who had a lesson Sunday and thought that Saturday was Sunday, then realised, and didn’t cancel after all. No problem, that would save me some fuel. Then I got stuck in stationary traffic half way along Wilford Lane, which meant there was no way I was going to get to my pupil on time, and which would then impact the second. I called him and explained, and we decided to stick with the one he had booked Sunday (he normally does both days). I turned around, and then immediately got stuck in stationary traffic going the other way, because there had been a crash on Clifton Bridge yet again in the roadworks. Once I got home, I loaded up Google Maps and watched the traffic movement – it was effectively stationary within 2 miles of the bridge, and remained so until the point where I would not be able to get to my next pupil, either. I contacted her and explained, and we decided to stick with Sunday this week (she also does two lessons week). All in all, Saturday went from four lessons to a day off. But at least I knew I’d have fuel for Monday’s test now.

Sunday dawned. My first pupil lives near the city centre, and I checked Google as I usually do before setting off, and noticed that 90% of the city/ring road side was closed – because of the damned marathon. So I went the long way round to his house and came in from the non-marathon side, which took 50 minutes instead of the usual 20. We drove off from his house, with a destination in mind for the lesson, and immediately encountered a police roadblock due to an accident. We turned around with another route now in mind, and as soon as we got to Mapperley we were met with almost stationary traffic.

The marathon causes this problem every year at the best of times, since people have to find alternate routes to wherever they want to be, which increases the traffic volume everywhere else. But this time it was made much, much worse by dozens of twats queuing for fuel at the Co-op garage on Woodborough Road. The video is a time-lapse, and covers about 15 minutes of real time.

You can’t see it in the video, but a bus was bouncing up and down as it had to go over a bollard kerb to get past. The twats who had filled up then decided that instead of leaving the garage by the rear exit, and having to wait for 30 seconds at the traffic lights on Woodthorpe Drive, they would leave by the Woodborough Road exit and turn right across the gridlocked traffic approaching on both sides, thus creating even worse hold ups. That was why the ‘lane’ we were in was stationary for so long when it ought to have been free moving.

Once we got by, the lesson continued to be eventful. We had to stop for an otter in Stoke Bardolph and then, as we waited to turn left on to Nottingham Road in Burton Joyce, we watched a woman on horseback with two children (one on a pony, and one leading a pony) nearly get killed because the horse was bucking and she nearly fell off.

The last leg of the journey was marked only by people driving straight into then out of the garage on the Gedling end of Carlton Hill (because it had no fuel), and to squeeze through the orange cones on the entrance to the one just after Porchester Road to see if the obvious unavailability of any fuel was true and actually applied to them, too. Oh, and my pupil nearly colliding with his mother as she drove away from their house rather too quickly on a blind bend with parked cars on both sides.

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