Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Motorways on Mastermind

Bloody hell it’s cold. An esteemed physicist of my acquaintance once told me that there is no such thing as cold. There is only heat or the absence of heat. Well you could have fooled me – which just goes to show, in case you hadn’t worked this out already, that when it comes to the scientific stuff I know nowt about owt.

I’ve just been watching Celebrity Mastermind, in which Radio 1’s Comedy Dave tackles his specialist subject, British motorways. It’s here, seven minutes in:


As it happens, every one of the answers to these questions can be found in my book. Coincidence?

For the briefest of moments I flattered myself into thinking that Comedy Dave’s interest in the Gravelly Hill Interchange might have been piqued by reading my book. But it quickly emerged that the topic had been suggested by Radio 1 listeners as a joke and that he found revising the subject ‘mind-numbingly boring’.

Meanwhile I’ve found a good use for Twitter – a daily text message from Anton Chekhov, though I imagine he gets one of his serfs to send it for him:


Mundane quote for the day: ‘Into a feud with a neighbour about a disputed garden fence … will be thrown force and determination which might have been directed to effort of permanent worth, in devotion to one of the great causes of the world.’ - C.F.G. Masterman, The Condition of England


  1. on the subject of motorways, masterminds and your excellent book On Roads, I feel incumbent to point out to you there is no such a place as a central reservation. It's called a central reserve, see www.standardsforhighways.co.uk/mchw/vol3/section1/indroduction.pdf
    It's a common error used by the BBC, the Police and some civil engineers.

  2. Thanks so much for reading my book Ian, and for the correction. That phrase has now been expunged from my vocabulary.