Seeing as it's a bank holiday, I am drawn inexorably to the roads, along with half the rest of the country, no doubt. Well, fingers crossed that there are no traffic jams, although I almost assume that any trip on a bank holiday weekend must contain at least one maddening enforced period of inertia. My father was caught in the huge traffic jam through Bristol on Friday night, where a man perched himself on the railings of the Avon bridge, threatening to jump. Five hours later, and probably even more depressed at the sight of all the beeping, impersonal cars parked next to him, he threw himself off.
Even in the middle of the night, we are no longer guaranteed to have the road all to ourselves in this crowded island. And a main road or motorway is hardly ever empty any more; yet we've all had that feeling of being totally, completely alone whilst driving in our cars.
In The Woodlanders, Thomas Hardy, a man who's life firmly bestrode the era of the horse and of the car, (but who probably never knew the meaning of a truly awful traffic jam) says:
'Deserted roads bespeak a tomb-like stillness more emphatic than that of glades or pools' - they are 'an incubus of the forlorn, created out of the contrast of what is with what might be.'
Here's hoping my trip today is one of forlorn emptiness...