Sunday, October 30, 2005

October Half-term Day Six

B., my right hand woman at school, had invited me round for lunch. She offered me two possible routes – the Dartford Crossing (costs £1) or the Blackwall Tunnel (often shut as some complete buffoon in a HGV hasn't read the height signs). Both seemed to require driving out of my way to cross the river. After consulting the A to Z I spotted the nearest crossing – the Woolwich Ferry. Free and every 10 minutes. How exciting!

I only remember having been on it once before – when my cousin's dad's sister get married. They are originally from Kenya – East African Indians. They weren't too happy when he married into a white family but we were soon part of the extended community.

My sister didn't want to leave her shoes outside the temple because someone might nick them, my nan had a white hanky on her head, my brother fell asleep and at the tender age of about 9 I was worried about whether or not I should be bowing up and down along with everyone else? Offensive if I join in? Offensive if I don't? I think I sat in a semi-permanent bend. The service, completely in Punjabi, was interminable. The food afterwards was out of this world.

Anyway, rather than pulling off into Galleon's Reach for the supermarket I continued on the Royal Docks Road. The DLR station came into sight. High in the air above a building site it truly looked like something out of a sci-fi film. The glimpse of water in the docks shocked me. In no way did it resemble that of the Thames (muddy brown). Glorious Mediterranean blue with the Dome and the sparkling towers of Canary Wharf in the background. I wanted to stop and stare.

The ferry was superb. I was happily second in line for the next service. I was glad not to be first. I was surrounded by vans and lorries and I clearly didn't have a clue what to do. I needed someone to copy. You stay in your vehicule and get a lovely view on the brief trip. I was slightly alarmed as we first set off – you go backwards which was really quite disorientating.

I took B's advice and came back through the Dartford Tunnel. Doh! Swung onto the A13 and then hardly moved for an hour. A 13-vehicule accident had shut the road at the next junction. Three hours to cover 8 miles. I had to cancel my night out from my stationary spot. The only tape in the car had REM on one side and Robbie on the other. Both are a bit much after a couple of turns. Still at least I was safe.

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