Thomas (boggyb) wrote,

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Another weekend in the Alfa

Last weekend I was up in Horsham for Jonners' birthday (involving karting, games, and a meal out at Smith & Western), and got to go out a couple more times in the Alfa 147 with the Gnu riding shotgun.

On Saturday since I was going to Billingshurst anyway to meet Jonners, I drove myself there! Well, from our usual changeover point at the new Broadbridge Heath housing estate at least as it's a nice convenient place to start. As a change from mini-roundabouts and to get some practice of congested streets in, after driving to Billingshurst I went round the bypass, in the bottom, and then the Gnu (mostly successfully - he did avoid directing me down any dead ends, though some junctions caught him by surprise) navigated me through a maze of twisty turny streets filled with cars parked in awkward places and tight turns around islands in the middle of the road. I also ended up doing my first real emergency stop - as I was making my way around yet another tight corner, a dog being walked by a young lad on the other side of the road attempted to leap out in front of me just as I'd moved over to pass a parked car! Fortunately I didn't hit either the boy or the dog, and I mostly remembered the emergency stop - I forgot about the clutch and so stalled the car, but I did remember to put the handbrake on and the gearbox in neutral once stopped. Apart from that the drive was fairly uneventful, and I eventually made my way to Jonners'.

The next day, since I was still in Horsham the Gnu and I went out for a second drive around. This time we did the opposite of the last drive in last month, and turned right out of Wickhurst Green (out of the western exit - the eastern side isn't there yet) along the A264. Then up along the A281 past the west of Broadbridge Heath, joining the A29 and staying with it south along Stane Street, before following the bypass around Billingshurst and then doing a couple of loops through the same streets as Saturday (no emergency stops needed this time!). Unlike last time there weren't any cyclists in the way and so I could let the Alfa loose - it's much happier doing 60mph than it is stuck behind a struggling cyclist. And I found yet another variation on a roundabout to contend with: here where the A29 joins the A281, if you're heading west (up in the linked map) then you actually have priority entering the roundabout or whatever it is. It's not that unusual an optimisation to improve flow on the main route, though usually it's done with a filter lane (like here in Whiteley) - though then you have to watch out for numpties on the roundabout who just cut across the hatchings.

And with that, I'm finally caught up on driving blogs! Until tomorrow's lesson, that is.
Tags: driving, driving lessons

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