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Bridge It

By Steve Andrews

Went away for a few days with the extended family. All very pleasant but we were naturally relieved to be back. Into routine, we thought, stroll into Breedon, potter into Ashby, meander over to Melbourne.

But, oh no. The bridge on Tonge Lane was up. For three weeks. THREE WEEKS. Do readers grasp what that means to Tongers and Berryavenuians? Virtually total isolation; that's what it means. Both the car and I know the way to Breedon, Ashby and Melbourne. Reverse out, great care, right hand down a bit, dodge next-door's construction traffic and away you go. I know the angles. Which bit of stinging-nettle to aim for.

It's all changed now, though. Just to get to Breedon, we've to go through Tonge, turn left in the middle, bear right past Freda's turn left, turn left again, go along there a bit and end up almost where you started. It takes me a nine-point turn just to get onto the road.

Not only that, but it gives a new perspective on the house as you drive along that Isley Walton-Breedon bit. I don't want a new perspective. I liked the old perspective.

As for Melbourne, it's taken me four and a half years to master that twiddly bit coming out of Tonge Lane and crossing over to go towards Wilson. You can't see right because of the dense foliage and you can't see left because of the bendy road. So you edge out a bit, then pin your wing mirrors back and jerk your left knee up like a can-can dancer. Tricky but I've cracked it. All changed now. There's a 270 degree right turn and a stream of quarry-lorries to cross.

I just panicked and forgot last time I was there. Went straight on and ended up in Lount before a grasp of reality returned. I was so depressed by the whole business that I just pretended that I had some "green waste for composting", limped into the tip and sulked.

And you get no sympathy, of course. My whinging about the trip to Breedon was met with a four-letter word. Walk.