It has been a strange week for me. It was my second week of a house sitting stint at lovely Sheepscombe, but broken on Tuesday when I had to rush down to Plymouth for a very successful elephant talk, then rush back again at crack of dawn on Wednesday. Needless to say, I didn’t get any work done on Wednesday and yesterday wasn’t much better. I must try and churn out a few words today damnit.

Pootling along the M5 motorway, I was struck by the ever increasing number of superfluous signs that have appeared since I first began using that road in earnest eighteen months ago. I would have thought drivers had more than enough to concentrate on while guiding their car along amidst many tons of hurtling metal, but no – the army of pen pushers working for this government seem determined that they must advise the motorist on everything and anything.

Yes I suppose it is vaguely interesting to note that there is to be an Air display somewhere in late July and there might be holdups, but half way through June it is hardly something the average driver needs to know. Then there was a bank of very obvious cameras trained on the motorway itself. Fair enough, they might cause a few reckless souls to slow down momentarily but not these cameras. Below them was yet another sign proclaiming that the cameras were not in use. For God’s sake! Do we need to know that? Why must I take my eyes off the road ahead to read such petty nonsense?!

Then of course there are the motorists themselves. Why is it that when sane and sensible people get behind the wheel of a car, they seem to lose all sense of reality. I have lost track of the number of drivers I have shaken my head at in wonderment as they nip into the slow lane despite there being a queue of lumbering lorries up ahead. Of course it means that seconds later, they have to swerve back into the centre lane causing upcoming vehicles to slow, sometimes alarmingly.

Oh well, I suppose we can all tell stories of lunacy on the roads, so I will leave that – until my next trip at any rate.

At last we are down to two candidates for the vexed but important position of Britain’s prime minister. On the one hand, we have England’s attempt to mirror Donald Trump in Boris Johnson and on the other, the epitome of a somewhat lack lustre English gentleman in Jeremy Hunt. Of the two I think I prefer Johnson. At least he seems human even if he is a buffoon in appearance and manner. And let’s face it, like him or loathe him – there doesn’t seem to be a middle ground – Trump is doing pretty well for America.

What does rather worry me about the British set up is that one or the other of these two pratwinkles will be elected, not by the general public, but by Conservative party members – a steadily diminishing group of people that are a miniscule minority of the population. That surely cannot be right. We are all affected by who leads the country, not just a few people who enjoy getting together for cheap beer and chat in Conservative clubs around the country.

My first week here in Sheepscombe was very wet but for the moment, the rain seems to have moved on. At this time of year, I take the dogs deep into the woods at five in the morning. With sunshine dribbling through the trees and birds a-singing, it is quiet and quite blissful, but for all the soothing beauty of this little valley, I miss the harsh landscape and lousy weather of Dartmoor. The Cotswolds have a sort of chocolate-box prettiness when the sun shines, but the Moor is truly magnificent whatever the weather.

Oh well, I will soon be back there.

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