Every so often I have to drive up to London on business. Today was such a day. The car was under the impression it was a mere 2 degrees C and I found myself broadly in agreement with it. It’s not really too bad a drive once you get used to it, the first half an hour or so is through the Forest after all. Trouble is the next hour and some is M27 and M3, how good is that. Actually during the extended Autumn it was somewhat alleviated by the remarkable colours of the trees alongside the M3 making it, if not a particularly poetic journey, at least visually more acceptable.

As ever the best thing about motorway driving was the other drivers. It’s a funny thing, regardless of how fast you are going, there is always a BMW who wants to go faster and imagines that by inserting themselves into your boot and possibly flashing their lights, you will be more inclined to move over and let them do exactly the same to the car in front of you. I have to confess that my initial reaction to this is probably not what the beamer drive wants, but is in all likelihood exactly what they would do if say a Porsche was to do the same to them. However if you’re going to drive on motorways you have to develop a mental state that allows for you to not feel your manhood is being challenged by such circumstances and just move over and let them pass. My rationale is that I would rather be able to see where they are in front of me than have them too close behind. Plus they are obviously plonkers and that makes me feel superior. Job done, I move over and they become someone else’s problem.

I may be being a little unfair on BMW drivers because the truth is that most Teutonic cars seem to attract a certain type of driver so eager to make your acquaintance that they risk joining you in an instant cut and shut should you have to brake too suddenly. I wonder if it’s the same ethos that requires all the deckchairs be commandeered and somehow is inseminated into the beamer and Audi drivers by some cunning adaption of pine tree shaped air fresheners. I have noticed that Passat drivers are now similarly effected although mercifully I have yet to suffer the indignity of a Trabant attempting the same thing.

Whilst on the subject of motorway driving, what is the point of the single matrix signs? The ones I am best aquainted with on the M3 seem to have a randomise program which flashes up arbitrary speed limits which bear no relation to traffic conditions. They will show a speed limit of 40mph on a straight road with no other cars in sight, yet insist that 60 is a reasonable speed when you are already sitting in a queue. They have now been joined over the whole length of the M3 by large overhead matrix signs similar to the sort that instructed Steve Martin in LA Story. When they have nothing to do, they have a little game of guess-how-long-your-journey-will-take and give distances and times to prominent junctions. All I can say is they have never attempted to drive down the M3, particularly in the vicinity of Winchester. How long that particular stretch will take on any one day is completely in the lap of the gods, and the beamers.