Tommy Banner All steamed up – that's me, not the cars
The weather has changed for the worse, but, I'm not going to whinge about it, since we have had probably the best summer since 1976, which The Wurzels remember extremely well, not only because of the wonderful sunshine, but also because we were No1 in the charts with our song Combine Harvester for two weeks.
People often ask us if we notice any difference between 1976 and now, and because we seem to be just as busy, and the roads are much busier, the only difference we see is on the side of the roads. Back in 1976 in the West Country there were, as now, long tailbacks on major roads with many cars stuck on the roadside with bonnets open, steam gushing out everywhere from engines boiling up. Not so this year, which just demonstrates the vast technological advances made in car manufacturing. Brownie points to all of the car companies.
But I am going to have a whinge about other road users. A couple of weeks ago I could not believe my eyes as I was about to drive off from a forecourt in Canon Street in Taunton.
Anybody who uses this road as a way in and out of the town centre will know that is always busy, but there he was, the idiot of the day, a cyclist texting as he peddled down very fast, oblivious to other road users. And some cyclists wonder why they don't get much respect from motorised road users?
Between Junctions 24 and 23 of the M5 earlier this month, I overtook a car towing a caravan at 60mph, and then I had a similar experience, with a different car and caravan, between Junctions 23 and 22. With a motorway packed with holiday Saturday traffic, where were the police cars with police booking the dreaded middle lane-hoggers? Nowhere to be seen.
If you think it couldn't get worse you couldn't be more wrong. One Saturday, The Wurzels were coming back from a gig in Lyndhurst on the A303 westbound dual-carriageway, when Mike, our driver, was confronted with traffic coming towards us. A bit further along, we came to a halt behind a queue of traffic, and a man in hi-viz jacket walked up the road and said to Mike: "Is there nobody stopping vehicles before the previous exit?" and he was flabbergasted when Mike said "no".
There had been an accident and a helicopter was expected to land on the eastbound carriageway, and somebody in their infinite wisdom had redirected eastbound vehicles on to the westbound carriageway, obviously going the wrong way against the flow. It was eventually sorted out, but, because of someone's serious mistake of judgement, there could have been absolute carnage.