The view from my window

The view from my window
The view from my window

Wednesday 1 February 2017

There's madness in the air!

They say round here that you always know when it is going to snow because the kids get all hyper. That may well be true but yesterday it rained and I swear all the loonies came out anyway. Tuesday's and Thursdays are the worst days on the road for getting to work for some reason, and yesterday being Tuesday and raining for the first time in ages, it seemed like all the crazies came out. I decided to take "the back road" down to the motorway, thinking that traffic might be a bit backed up in town because of the bridge still being down (six months and counting). The road I have to take to get down to the motorway is called "la route forestière", or the forestry road - and for good reason. It is a winding road down through the forest and quite steep in parts, but as there was no snow I didn't mind taking it. That was until I heard "boy racer" zooming up behind me as soon as I pulled out of my village. Round here they do quite a bit of rally car driving as the roads are obviously ideal. They are not ideal, however, for rally racing during ordinary, non-rally days, but that didn't stop boy racer roaring up my backside revving his souped up piece of crap. As soon as I got to the next village I pulled over to let him and another car go past as I can't stand being tailgated. Immediately leaving the next village the road goes under a railway bridge and then takes a sharp right, so you can't see if anything is coming in the opposite direction. Logically (to my mind at least), since it is still dark, you slow down before the bridge and flash your headlights just to make sure, but boy racer was obviously too good a driver for that and went tearing hell for leather at the bridge - only to have to slam his brakes on at the last minute for the truck coming from the opposite direction. Then, once he had recovered sufficiently from that piece of insanity, he went tearing off again, belting over a speed bump without slowing down, (it's called a speed bump for a reason) and promptly had his exhaust pipe fall off! Idiot had to then stop and pick it up while we drove past, and I do believe the woman in front of me gave him the royal wave!

The royal wave
When I finally got on the motorway at the second exit there is always a long line of traffic lined up on the hard shoulder trying to head off in the direction of Evian. It is dangerous and if you live round here and don't want to get off there you stick in the outside lane and again, slow down! Except one eejit stayed in the middle lane and then slammed his brakes on, gave a redneck turn signal and just pulled straight over to the next lane - right in front of the truck I was passing! Why anyone would try to argue with a 10-tonne truck I have no idea, but thankfully for both of us the trucker was a bloody good driver and avoided hitting him, but gave him a severe blast of the horn nevertheless.

Redneck turn signal!
Then about 5 km further up the road there was a big sign saying "direction Paris - accident - 10 km further ahead". Thankfully I don't have to go that way but as it leads to a major customs post you can imagine the tailbacks! That is one of the problems round here of course - the massive numbers of cars trying to get into Geneva every day, from France in particular. I think I heard once something like 250,000 cars a day cross the local borders so you can imagine what just one accident does to the flow or traffic. Moreover, you can also see why it would never be possible to pull over every car that crosses the borders between France and Switzerland every day, terrorist threat or not!

So about another 5 km ahead, just before I get to the border, there is another difficult motorway exit for people trying to exit at one of the local French towns, and again people keep way over to the left and slow right down. Unfortunately for me, I came up behind a young man in the left-hand lane who obviously wanted to get over to the third right-hand lane so he just stopped in the middle of my lane!!!!  Again, luckily, I know not to drive fast but bloody hell. Whatever you do, you don't just stop!   Aaaaarrggghh I think I am losing my nerve. At least I hope I don't lose my nerve before I can retire in a couple of years time because this rush hour commuting business is just miserable.

I finally got past the border and was trying to pull into the Park and Ride but when the light hit green for us to get over to the parking lot we couldn't as the place was jam packed with cars dropping off school kids for what I guess was a day's skiing trip. While I was sitting there at the lights I saw a woman with her umbrella up, talking on her phone, just waltzing across the road to the bus stop, totally oblivious to the fact that the traffic coming towards her had a green light! Like I say, I really do think I must be losing my nerve. Sadly, last Friday I was on the bus when we drove past an accident just a little further up the road. The emergency service were working on someone and a truck driver was standing there sobbing. It turned out that a 27 year old female cyclist had gone under a truck that was turning right and she was killed on the spot. I don't know who was at fault, but in the end one young woman lost her life, the truck driver's life will presumably never be the same and I imagine two families' will be destroyed. All because of a moment's inattention!

When I did finally make it on to the bus I had the dubious pleasure of sharing it with about 20 eight-year-olds going on a school trip. I'm not knocking the kids of course because they were incredibly polite, but you can imagine the decibel range on that bus!! Still better loud kids than someone's tears I guess.

Thankfully today was absolutely glorious so I got to go walking again at lunchtime. It doesn't take long to forget all your troubles does it.


  1. I'm never complaining about my commute again! (Until next time I'm stuck in tragfic.) That is quite a journey.

  2. There are people who have it worse than me of course, but Geneva being set amongst the lake and the mountains (and then having to cross the border of course) can make it pretty dire. Throw in a snow storm or two and it can be hell. I can take the length of the commute I just can't stand the lunatic tailgaters - they just don't seem to realize how easily it can all go horribly wrong.