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  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

Road Closed

Originally published on Photoblog by Gethin Thomas NOVEMBER. 10, 2020

[97-365] 10th. November 2020- I call this lockdown plus. Beyond this is civilisation, behind me there be dragons. I went up to investigate the road closure, this is the reason I am using phone photos and a borrowed computer to enlighten you today.

Beyond this forbidden zone lies a world where I could have got my PC repaired by now, even in lockdown. As it is I have had to arrange a meeting in a car park with a strange man tomorrow who will take it away in the hope he can resuscitate it from it's Microsoft induced coma. "Sorry but we need to re-start your computer" those immortal words were the last message on my PC from the outside world before it died.

At this point I would like to point out that just to my right, out of shot is a house, let's call it Primrose Cottage, that's not it's real name.

Our village is small and this Road Closed sign is about a three minute walk from our house, actually it was quite steep uphill so let's say a six minute walk, in any case it is less than a quarter of a mile. We got home two hours later.

Such is village life, where we stopped to talk in great depth to 11 people on the way including villagers we had not met before and people we knew well, two workmen, and an Amazon driver accompanied by his wife.

In the village proper, DIY jobs had broken out everywhere, 6 people were pruning the greenery at the front of their properties, 4 people were thatching a house and one woman was filling cracks in her garden wall. All were taking advantage of the distinct lack of traffic that normally travels extremely close to the front of their properties.

Every so often a car would drive up the hill to the Road Closed signs, turn around and go back the way they had come. This is an indication of how little people trust the authorities these days.

We had met a couple we know who explained that it was possible to walk to the next village on the road, something we had not attempted to do before. You can see how narrow it is and this is a main road posing as a country lane. I should add there is a footpath which is what people normally use. This goes along the creek and through a couple of fields and is very pretty, but everyone wanted to take advantage of the novelty of actually getting to the next village by road and on foot. We tip-toed through the roadworks and chatted to the workmen. The good news was that they reckoned the road would re-open tomorrow night two days earlier than expected although with one way lights into next week, but any access is better than none.

This is a natural spring at the side of the road, below, which I had never even seen before, the road being so narrow and the fact that normally you are driving at 30 Mph when you pass it. Apparently this innocuous looking spring is one of the problems they are trying to resolve as after weeks of rain it looks more like Niagara. Under that drain cover they have installed a new larger diameter pipe which we are assured will transform our lives during the next Monsoon.

Having got to the next village and the closed signs there, we encountered several vehicles that had ignored the large Road Closed Ahead warnings three miles away, assuming they were for somebody else. This included the Amazon man and his wife who were both looking incredulously at the bollards and cones barring their further progress. The detour from this point is about thirty miles long. We confirmed that yes the Closed signs and cones did in fact mean it was closed. They got their little tippy tappy machine and showed us where they were trying to get to. It said Primrose Cottage. Now this is amazing because I just invented that name.

Seriously though they did actually have a parcel for the house I have dubbed Primrose Cottage which at this point is approximately two hundred yards away or two hundred metres in metric. We explained that if they got out and walked it would take two minutes to deliver their parcel or they could do the thirty mile detour. The people in Primrose Cottage will in all likelihood not be getting their parcel today even though we offered to deliver it for them. As we walked off, the white van, (why are they always white?) drove off in the opposite direction, it would be three miles before he passed the Road Closed Ahead signs for the second time.

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