No Surprises Living in Devizes: Whacky Races

Would you Adam and Eve it? Two years ago today the first No Surprises Living in Devizes column was published on Index:Wiltshire. At the time I’d never have believed I would still be here typing these whinges out, let alone you wonderful lot still reading them!

So, I tried being nice with the last one, knowing this was coming, but this week…. Well, put it this way, I try to keep the column under eight-hundred words, which doesn’t always happen when I go off on a tangent (who? Moi?) I also refrain from using naughty words. This time let it be known, as it may be understandably edited, I’m going to use the F word.

I use it because I believe no other word in the English language has quite the same impact. There’s a message I want to convey in the wake of Tuesday’s pathetic attempt at rush hour, when three, if you didn’t hear, three crashes in our insignificant town happened within said hour, and apparently, another life was sadly lost.

So, keeping it under eight hundred words I can do, adding an unnecessary expletive for good measure, I’ll sure give it my best shot. I can get the message out in four words, including the F one, it really is this simple. I’ll even Caps-lock and full stop after each of them, as it makes it look like I’m a patronising old git:



We know our infrastructure is poor, Wiltshire Council could do more to improve it. We know about cuts to Council and police budgets, speed restrictions need reviewing and to be monitored. We know all these things, but only you can make this change, you are solely responsible for your driving.

Try to get it into your cranium, you’re in charge of a dangerous weapon. The road is my workplace, I don’t bust into your office with an AK-57 and start gunning the ceiling and floor, thinking everyone should dive under the desks and if they don’t that’s their mistake.

No one is perfect, some older with slower reflexes; doesn’t mean they should be bullied off the road, by people who fail to comprehend, they’ll one day be in the same boat (provided they’re not victims of their own poor driving.)

People make mistakes, there’s no logic in the presumption everything will go according to plan, that everyone can comprehend your intentions in the split-second it takes you to execute it. Face it, the ethos “it’s their fault,” won’t bring back a human life.

What was worse, after our Black Tuesday, the next morning, roads cleared, everyone was off again, driving like idiots; as if nothing happened. Yesterday’s news; you’d think people might stop and think for once, but no, that’d be foolish. You are not Han Solo about to break into hyperspace, you are not Penelope Pitstop.


Cutting your speed is not the be-all-and-end-all of cutting road traffic accidents but it goes a long way from preventing them and lessening the consequences. I’m no saint, I loved the thrill of driving fast, I’ve been gone done foolish things whilst driving, but last year I spent a lot of time at the Royal Hospital of Neuro-Disability in Putney, where I watched a twenty-something with half his head missing, raise his left arm sporadically and randomly, and that was about all he did, all day. I’ll leave that thought with you.


Now I propose what would seem the impossible, to many a parish council; a suggestion that we limit the dual carriageway from Devizes down Caen Hill to a fifty. I put a poll on the Devizes Issue, and do you know what? Last count 159 agree, but a staggering 573 disagree. Adding comments like, “it’s our drag strip,” incriminating themselves with, “I do 130 down there,” and in the wake of having three crashes in the space of one rush hour and one life taken in our small town, “what a stupid post.”

Just maybe it is a stupid post. At random I’ll pick a few posts not classed as stupid from this Facebook page; stop, think and rate them according to stupidity. Don’t forget to add the one in where I attempt a discussion to prevent people dying and we’ll regroup next week.


1- Does anyone know what the price would be to have my hamsters claws trimmed at the vet please?
2- Any rowde parents no what week the menu is on please
3- clients needed for Friday the 23ed to come in to body tonic salon please
4- Rollover hotdogs are back, with a can of coke for only £2.29


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