The season for reversing : My Devon lanes... - PSP Association

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The season for reversing


My Devon lanes are not known for their breadth . They meander snake narrow between high hedges and flower laden banks . As a driver you always keep a mental note of the last gateway or lay by that you passed and at this time of the year more so than ever . The harvest is well under way and almost certainly you will meet an alien machine straight out of Star Wars . Yes , the Combine Harvesters are back in the lanes which are ill equipped to deal with them as they laboriously trundle from farm to farm . As you round a corner there is a leviathan heading directly towards you . You stop nose to nose and high above you on his throne sits the King of the road . He smiles benignly down at you knowing full well that it is you who is going to have to back off .

This procedure can be made all the more interesting if there are several cars behind you , you look in your rear view mirror in amusement and then despair as the cars attempt to reverse . I say despair as inevitably there is one driver for whom reversing is an unknown quantity . A zig zag course from bank to bank can take an inordinate amount of time .

I met one such driver in a lane a few weeks back . We faced each other and it was a stand off . Behind her was a gateway some 30 yards back and I knew that my gateway was at least 100 yards back . She was a county lady ,all tweed and blue rinse, driving an enormous, very new 4X4 . She folded her arms across her chest and glared at me in my ancient Vectra . I suddenly had the urge to give my undivided attention to my nails and so we sat and waited .....and waited . Eventually I could bear it no longer so approached her car and cordially suggested she might reverse the 30 yards . "No" she replied ' I can't reverse and anyway this is my husband's car and I don't know where reverse is either which doesn't really matter because even if I did I couldn't "

Beaten I retreated and reversed back to my remembered gateway . She swept past me with an imperious wave of her hand , very Queenlike and disappeared round the bend . I couldn't help but wish there was a tractor and trailer round the next corner . Unkind ? Vengeful ? Yes correct on both counts .

We have been enjoying the wonderful weather here in Devon but also having to live with the consequences . Parched fields , dusky brown ,more Greece than Devon . Cows mournfully chewing on winter fodder as there is no grass left . Hedgerows looking exhausted in the heat and rivers and streams reduced to a trickle.Even people look different, everyone is nut brown as if they have been holidaying on the Med . And the most amazing array of shorts you have ever seen ,some of which have not seen daylight for years , mine included . I suppose this is the kind of summer childhood memories are made of -endlessly hot sunny days . Maybe next year huddled under an umbrella looking at leaden skies we will look back and say "ah 2018 , now that was a real summer " .

17 Replies

Entertaining as ever. An awful lot of people about! I like it quiet

The joys of motoring in Devon lanes, sounds wonderful. The lady in the 4x4 was probably having you on , I bet she had a reversing camera on her car, just wanting to get you to give in to her ...your a gentleman, hats off to you...Brenda xxx

Oh Georgepa I absolutely love reading about your trials and tribulations! You are the best writer ever! Feel like I was there. Hope you are coping ok. We all love you , huge hugs x

It's bad enough in Yorkshire but the roads are less winding and less busy.

I can reverse but, if I get nervous it goes to pot !

You seem intimidated by height , George. Maybe you should raise yourself - sit on the roof?

Here on the Yorkshire coast it's idyllic in this unusual heat.

Love Jean xx

Another wonderful description brought to life. Keep on writing Georgepa, we all love reading about your glorious county.


Have relatives in Devon so know exactly what you mean, George! The long grass hides all the stone walls! I was never happy driving around them in my rather large, very new rental car! My cousin said she had bought a car with retractable wing mirrors and I can see why.

Reminds me of a lovely story I heard about a German charabanc bus full of passengers whose driver ignored a sign that clearly said "No large vehicles!". The bus advanced and met with the usual vehicles, which were negotiated. However, a little later he came to a little bridge at which he came to a stop - firmly wedged from most angles!!! His passengers had to evacuate from the emergency exit as he could not open the door. And the tour company had to find a hotel to put up a bus load of grumpy, hungry and thirsty people! All of which took several hours to organise as the bus was miles from anywhere with the road blocked! Apparently driver was using Google to navigate!!!!

Hope all going well for you, George.


Jen xxx

George lovely, I could just imagine it, I hate reversing , I am pants at it. How you doing George? Xxxxx

George love to read your stories, please don't stop. Love Madeleine

Honestly George, will you stop telling tales on me!!! So I zig zag a "few" times when going backwards, because some dear sweet gentleman hasn't got "old man parking" on the back on his car and occasionally have been known to bounce off the odd wall that jumps out at me.!!!

Lovely to see you back in full flow on here. We have all missed your writings. Oh and by the way, I haven't forgotten! We will catch up soon.

Lots of love


Hello there

Oh to be in England now that summer's here.

The joys of living in rural England. There's nothing to beat a Devon lane or those on the Gower, decidedly not car friendly.

Loved your tale.

Keep on keeping on


Thanks George

Another great read.

"Cows mournfully chewing..." Superb!

Here's a phrase for you, "Are you telling me you're not competent to drive that vehicle as required by the law?"

Though I doubt you would be short of phrases.

Best to you.



I love your posts. They brighten my day. Keep them up.

Stay cool,


I could picture it all in my head (:


Ha ha George! Hyacinth lives, driving without reverse down the lanes of Devon!. I should talk: one of my most terrifying experiences was driving in England (I'm north American so drive on the right) - and England's lanes ARE narrow! ... Don't get me started on the city roundabouts...)

It is hard to imagine England brown and dusty...Its Just Not Right - England is a "green and pleasant land" at least for those of us with sentimental memories of it..😳

Anne G.

Thanks for sharing this beautifully written tale. Living on a farm, I could just picture the traffic delema.


Dear George, 'fraid to admit I'm one of those hopeless reversers, I'll give it a whirl but the zig zag motion is definitely my style. Not sure I will dare to visit Devon again in case I come face to face with you in your car inspecting your nails, especially at harvest time. Take good care of yourself and keep us entertained with your amusing tales of rural Devon life.

Kate xx


Nice to read another wonderfully written tale of your adventures,as I read I fully image all the images.

Thank you George


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