Nick Conrad: Roadworks lead to a good turn via the scenic route

Road closed sign. Picture: Bill Darnell.

Road closed sign. Picture: Bill Darnell.

Workmen have relaid the road outside my house this week. Drivers are forced on a scenic tour of north Norfolk before they get into Cromer. The exceptionally polite Tarmac layers lift the barriers daily, allowing me to get to my house. This special privilege is only afforded to those who live off the adjacent streets.

As workmen and heavy machinery are in operation, residents are led through the traffic cones and bollards by a 'guiding vehicle'. Marvellous, It's like a presidential convoy! But last Tuesday I too experienced the 'scenic route'. Whilst waiting at the roadblock a harassed young lady came dashing up behind me. Alighting from her car she approached the road worker who was stopping the cars.

'I don't know the area very well and I've got a scan at Cromer Hospital,' she wailed.

Instantly I felt sympathetic. My wife is pregnant for a second time and the routine scans are much clearer if the bladder's full. You quaff copious amount of fluid before praying the obstetricians will see you quickly.

Now our damsel in distress wasn't quite at the stage of crossing her legs, but she did look a little bothered.


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'I don't know the back roads and I'm going to get lost,' she said.

Our sins are more easily remembered than our good deeds. Here was my chance to register my good turn for the day.

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'Follow me,' I hailed from my unwound window.

Under bridges, through puddles, round back roads bisecting fields we ventured. Finally we emerged on the other side of town.

Hurriedly, she ran towards the hospital reception with cries of appreciation in my direction.

Smug and proud of my selflessness I started home.

Only one problem, my road was now blocked by the asphalt laying lorry from both directions. It was going to take me another 15 minutes to get home via the diversion.

I was now running hideously late for my meeting. I hate being late.

Luckily I had a good excuse. Well those minutes when I should have been around the meeting table were well invested.

Maybe Evelyn Waugh was correct in writing: 'Punctuality is the virtue of the bored.'

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