Rural Rides 3 In the South-east
A semicircular drive from South London to Brighton and back (119 miles: 5hr.
35min.) proceeded without let or hindrance from the weather. Roads were for
the most part clear, and though some were clearer than others none was
hopeless and few were even unpleasantly treacherous.
2 30 p.m.: Backed out of garage into Pond Road, Blackheath, where skidded
badly and required push to get under way- one and only humiliation of entire
trip. Road south from Blackheath clear. Snowplough spotted and first
casualty-little black car at roadside with AA van in attendance. Roads into
and out of Bromley slushy and slightly skiddy. Main hazard: rain freezing on
windscreen: like driving under water.
3 30 Sevenoaks. Accident black spot on A21 clear, apart from inevitable
ribbon of slush along centre of road. Spot second snowplough, two more
casualties; can't imagine what causes mishaps. Kent Weald like Christmas
card. Slush on windscreen screen: like driving through dripping.
4 10 Tunbridge Wells. Town virtually deserted, as were Seven- oaks and
Tonbridge. Proceed on A26, direction Brighton, Crowborough to Uckfield,
Sussex, worst stretch so far. This road never saw snowplough. Patches of
4 40 Uckfield, and all well. Road good again. Minimum of traffic. Wonder how
colleague in North is progressing ? From Uckfield to Lewes at 40 m.p.h.
Wave at police car. Wave not returned.
5 00 Lewes. Street lights on. Fine fast drive to Brighton. 5 25 Brighton.
See the sea, buy provisions. Town a hive of inactivity. Take unintentional
right on leaving and return to Lewes. Left turn at Lewes. Rural road to East
Grinstead. Slight sleet falling. Slush on roads. (Sussex snowploughs less
effective than Kent ?) Headlights illuminate signs "BLUEBELL RAILWAY"
and "STRAY ANIMALS." Stop to wipe slush of windscreen. A22 through East
Grinstead to London: roads clearer in Surrey, traffic heavier. Spot London
7 25 Purley. Simple stuff from here on. Slush round traffic island but road
free. Croydon, Streatham, Forest Hill, Cat- ford, Blackheath.
8 05 Pond Road, Blackheath. Negotiate turning off road into garage
by,combination,of luck and faith. MICHAEL KENYON."
As reported in the Manchester Guardian booklet "The Long Winter 1962-63"