Good Energy

The guys at Good Energy have been really supportive and excited about the expedition, so much so that they have made a contribution which allows me to keep the blog regularly updated during the expedition, so they and everyone else can follow the journey. Good Energy supplies 100% renewable electricity sourced from wind, water, sun and sustainable biomass. CO2 from coal-fired electricity generation is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the world. Switch your electricity supply to Good Energy using this link and not only will you be supporting the pioneering community of independent green generators, but for every sign up they get they’ll make another donation to help get the bus around the world. It helps you cut your personal CO2 emissions, helps them grow a great business, and helps me get round the world.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Into the City

Trucks jovially roll around over the rough surface of the Countryside road. Here the tarmac is part of the land, laid down over and through the fields, its edges merging into the earth, and it’s path crossed indiscriminately by livestock and the mud tracks they leave behind. There’s no reverence for the road here, it’s another feature of the landscape, wrapped in clouds and birds, the things of nature. Tractors U-turn unexpectedly, or thoughtlessly bottleneck the road with their slow moving overflowing trailers. Cyclist and motorbikes react too late to release the width of the lanes killing the momentum of the trucks that grumble to pick up their speed again.

The pace of the road is slow and lazy, dwarfed by the massive distances that make each immediate moment of the journey too inconsequential, too trivial to demand urgency, too overwhelming to sustain the aggression needed for fast driving. At roadstops, drivers take a pause from waiting for their destination to arrive. Local workers are preoccupied with their own stories and the passing customers are merely forgettable details of their rich day.

Bright greens, blues, and yellows, fill the windows; colours so vivid only nature could pass them off as natural.

Then slowly the City nears. The tarmac improves. Smoother. The painted lines are sharper. Slopes and verges, appear. Fences, barriers, banking, walls, Arco, kerbs, railings, distinguishing the road from the surroundings. Intermittently at first, then more frequently, imperceptibly they form a permanent and lasting separation from the countryside. This road is heading into the City now, and the countryside with its primitive practices and backwards outlook, can only stand and watch it leave, indifferent to the betrayal.

The roadstops are often branded in this transition time. The theatrics of their wipe-clean colours and logos with sharp lines seem alienating at first, but quickly become the anticipated norm. Drivers are busier during thier breaks, with purpose and pressure. They are too rushed to leave an imprint of their lives and the staff too are kept by their role, dictated by their tasks, they give no glimpses of personality. They offer only foil wrapped, bite sized, single serving, predictable sterility. There’s no space for the irregularly shaped country fare on their rectilinear shelves.

The driving quickens as local commuters join the flow, powered by their intimacy with the City’s urgency. Encouraged by them, arrivals from far away accelerate with anticipation of their destination. A factory, then three houses, then a row of shops, incrementally the City starts to appear in the fields. The increased traffic demands more than the relaxed concentration of easy hypnotic driving and distracts while grey urbanity builds up, until a traffic light, or a junction stops everyone for the first time in miles and hours. It’s the moment to notice the City is all around. The road has unmistakably finished, replaced by streets who exist solely to position the City around them. There’s a short lived confusion over where the countryside went, but that soon fades in its unimportance, escorted by the failing memory of the countryside’s openness and freedom.

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