Friday, September 11, 2009

So, six hours later, there we were at the Wisley Flower Show

To the Wisley Flower Show today, with my friend Janet. Wisley is about half an hour from my house by car, and Janet lives even closer, in the Surrey village of Claygate. So I'd arranged to drive as far as her house and she would drive us both to the flower show.
All went swimmingly as we drove down the A3 until we hit the M25 interchange, when we noticed a massive queue of traffic. This is not unusual. No one ever gets stopped for speeding on the M25 (the London orbital motorway), because the vehicles, as far as I can make out, are permanently stationary. Hardly a day goes by when there is not some sort of incident involving 10-mile tailbacks, so we didn't worry too much ... until we continued along the A3 and noticed that the traffic jam was continuing with us. In fact, it continued all the way to the Wisley junction, and up the other side of the A3 past the gardens themselves.
Janet and I pulled into a rest area and consulted the map. We worked out that if we took the next exit and drove cross-country to Woking, we could head up to West Byfleet and get into Wisley from the other side of the motorway. All we had to do was to navigate our way through half of Surrey. As for the traffic jam, we could only assume that there had been some terrible accident somewhere.
The plan worked well, and the only hitch was a narrow bridge across a canal lock as we made our way to Wisley village. There was the usual standoff while some idiot in a 4x4 tried to persuade the queue of 20 cars behind us to reverse so he could go past, instead of him reversing and letting 20 cars go past. Ah, the joys of motoring in the Surrey countryside.
We finally approached Wisley only to find ourselves directed into a car park I had never seen before. To say it was the overflow of the overflow of the overflow of the overflow car park was an understatement. It finally dawned on Janet and me that the huge traffic jam we had seen on the A3 was actually composed of cars queuing to go to the Wisley Flower Show.
They used to say that gardening was the new rock and roll. I can confirm that gardening is now the new 25-mile tailback. I'm not sure whether that's a good thing or not.