Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Toddington is more than just motorway services.

Back in the days when I was an impoverished student I used to hitchhike up and down the M1 between Hemel Hempstead and Sheffield. The chances of picking up one lift which would go all the way were minimal - I only did it once in all my time thumbing lifts.  It seems strange now to remember that the motorway was often silent for minutes at a time during the night and the motorway services resembled the land of the living dead. They were gloomy and drab and depressing... but we loved 'em because we had never seen a place that stayed open all night.

Toddington services were the first you met going northwards and it was a pretty poor show if your first lift dumped you there. You knew that you were in for a long journey. Next came Newport Pagnell which at one time entered the Guinness Book of Records for having TWELVE petrol pumps. Then came Watford Gap where you had to make sure that your driver was not branching off down the M45 to Birmingham. And so on to Leicester Forest then next stop, the Tinsley Viaduct exit for Sheffield. My quickest journey door to door was four hours, my longest, twenty four hours.
Toddington is a pretty village,
not a motorway service station.

And Toddington? Well, until yesterday when I gave a lecture there, I had never actually been to the village of Toddington. 

You know, it's quite a pretty place.

Mind you, I am not sure of their provocative suggestion that we should offer violence to oculists.

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