You can say that again. Malvern Amnesty Group are a busy, well-oiled operation that runs big meetings. Three of us went to a very thorough teach-in on the Arms Trade last year, and now they have Ian Cobain, author of Cruel Britannia, talking about torture. Nobody else in the Telford Group can go but that’s OK, I’m an independent retired gent well equipped with background music – I’ll go there on my own. I research the route, print out maps, and aim to leave in good time. But then I can’t find the maps, and my wife is telling me I’m better off dodging Worcester by using the M5 but on the RAC route it said that way took nearly an hour and a half, so I stick to my plan and drive off.
Everything’s fine until Worcester. Even in the evening it’s slow and clogged, and on top of that there’s two sets of roadworks. By the time I reach Malvern I’m cutting it fine. I know I have to turn off left on the B4211, and then there’s a right turn, where it gets a bit tricky and I really need the map I printed but left at home. I’m driving through Malvern, waiting for the B road sign, and it doesn’t come. There’s traffic on my tail, it’s a wet misty night, and suddenly I’m going along a narrow road, cluttered with road works and offering no chance of turning round. I know I’m miles past it, but I need to go to the loo and even if I find the B4211 I’m not at all confident I can find the site of the talk. I end up hurling the car into a layby, relieving myself in the bushes, and turning round to go home. This time I try the M5. Yes, it’s much quicker. An hour and a half going out; an hour coming home. I never got to the talk, but I’m so much wiser, and it’s only taken two and a half hours, plus gallons of petrol.