March 29, 2012

'How am I meant to get home?' sobbed a teenage girl stranded late this evening with two of her friends at Tescos petrol station. This part of rural England has run out of diesel and the petrol supplies are about to expire.

Drove home wondering what hitch hiking might be like at age of 51. The last time that hitching was my main form of transport was in my early twenties. Then I had either pink hair or a shaven head and wore a BP boiler suit, a present from a truck driver who insisted that I was dangerously vulnerable in skin tight jeans. With this garb I looked like a teenage boy and hitching became easy: it seemed that all truck drivers were gay. When they recovered from the disappointment of discovering that their pretty boy was actually not-quite-so-pretty a girl, they were incredibly kind and drove me miles out of their way to deliver me safely to obscure destinations. They also taught me how to roll cigarettes with one hand and fed me on All Day Breakfasts with terrifying cholesterol content. Truckers tea made its British Rail counterpart taste like water and I'm still missing Peanut Yorkies.

Thirty years hence, I doubt that I'd be so appealing. Not even if I donned the pink wig that I wear to parties. Probably better to run. It's 3 miles to the nearest village shop, so an hour round trip by running. It sells all I need and the inflated prices are probably not much different to Tescos without the allied cost of diesel.

Arrived home feeling entirely positive about life without wheels. Then came the lead balloon. A tribe of emails and voicemails cancelling dogs booked in for Easter. On top of the fuel crisis, the baggage handlers at Stansted airport are striking for three days over Easter. My customers have ditched their holidays. This is catastrophic for a tiny business. And catastrophic for a lone mother with two teenagers to support.

I didn't notice what the teenagers at Tescos had on their feet. If it was trainers, they've probably covered ten miles of their fifteen-mile walk home. If it was heels, they'll be a mile down the road and sobbing loudly.

If you know Mr Cameron, please inform him of the indirect consequences of his actions.

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