As a freelance, I’ll write this column, and any other piece I am working on, from the sanctity of my home. Every so often however, my work takes me a bit further afield and I leave this hermetic lifestyle and venture to Cambridge or, if feeling particularly adventurous, London.
I usually take the train, and I love it. I get on at Watlington, which means I can always get a seat, usually one of the double ones, facing the right way. Between Downham Market and Littleport, the train gradually fills up and I then watch quite smugly as many of the Ely passengers have to stand, balancing precariously and leaning into the direction of travel, as the train wends its way into Cambridge.
I feel far less smug when I have to take the car. I hit the A10 at Tottenhill and then watch my speedometer fail to cross the magical 50mph mark. What is worse – a slow moving tractor that is so well heaped with straw bales that you have no chance of seeing past it to overtake, or a frazzled parent, swinging the vehicle from one side of the road to the other, trying to get the kids organised at the same time as changing gear and negotiating a roundabout?
There are some bonuses to this journey. There is a little Jack Russell dog who sits very patiently by the roadside cafe at Brandon every morning waiting for some bacon – he always brings a smile to my face. In the evening you might see a Barn Owl swooping over a field, or deer moving like shadows on the edge of woodland, but usually all you see is someone’s tailgate and a line of red brake lights.
The journey from King’s Lynn to Cambridge is about 45 miles. At a steady pace it should be possible in under an hour. The only time I have ever achieved this was one Christmas Eve, in the early hours of the morning.
So when I read the headlines in an edition of this newspaper, announcing “High hopes over travel links”, I was really excited. In the back of my mind I had convinced myself that the move to Anmer Hall by Prince William and Princess Katherine would precipitate some frenzied road widening activity and a speedier passage down the A10. After all, the heir to the throne cannot be expected to sit in traffic whenever he vists his grandmother.
Unfortunately, it transpires that the A10 is not going to get a makeover anytime soon. It is the A47 that will eventually get an upgrade. I would like to say I am delighted for the good folk who travel the A47 from Lynn to Norwich or Peterborough, but I’ve just returned from another 30mph journey along the A10. For a high-tech corridor, the vehicle bandwidth is desperately slow.