July 2024: "From A New Forest Inclosure” by Ian Thew

So there I was, just poodling along in the old land rover – a trusty old ‘work horse’ with a tidy turn of speed – she’s quite capable of accelerating from 0-60 in less than ten minutes!.  The sun was shining; my best friend was in the passenger seat and everything in our world was just perfect.  We were returning from Beaulieu and had just passed Hatchet Pond on our way back to Burley when an approaching vehicle flashed its lights.  I raised a hand in acknowledgement and wondered who it was that had recognised my vehicle and then, a moment later, the next vehicle heading towards us flashed too; and guess what?  The driver of a range rover, that was the next to approach, not only flashed his lights but waved frantically through his windscreen. I waved enthusiastically in return and wondered who the devil it was.  Now, I suppose I know quite a few people around this Forest but this sudden burst of popularity was turning my head until that is, way up ahead, almost at Stockley Cottage, I spotted the ominous white van parked on the side of the road. 

I cursed myself for my stupidity as I realised that all the flashing and waving were intended to warn me that I was approaching a speed camera.  I glanced at the speedo as I took my foot off the accelerator; just over forty miles per hour - so no problem.  I let the engine revs drop even further and crawled, at just over thirty miles per hour, past the accusing eye of the camera that winked, ominously, from the rear of the police vehicle. I breathed a sigh of relief and went sedately on my way.

You can imagine my chagrin when, a few days later, I opened a letter which informed me that my venerable land rover had been recorded at a speed of forty-seven miles per hour in a forty limit! Reading on, I was then advised that I should inform the authorities of the name of the driver at the time of the offence.  Well that would be me, wouldn’t it?  I was then given the option of £100.00 fine with the added penalty of three points on my licence or, alternatively, I could opt, in return for the payment of £90.00, to attend a Driver Awareness Training Course and keep a clean licence.     

As far as I was concerned there was no contest and I followed the instructions on- line which were incredibly simple to follow - and I mean simple – my initials may well be IT but I’m certain that my parents, when naming me, had no insight into the future or they would have been more careful in choosing my first name – IT is not my strong point! Sorry, I’m rambling so back to the topic in hand.  I enrolled for the course and parted with the virtual folding stuff over the ether and, a few weeks later, I joined a motley bunch of fellow offenders at the appointed venue. 

Now I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the whole event; the two gents who talked for the four hour duration waved no accusing fingers and I learnt quite a bit too.  Insofar as the New Forest is concerned, the camera van is on our roads every day and is part- funded by the Verderers in an attempt to reduce animal deaths; so watch out!  Another interesting and alarming bit of information is that the camera can ‘clock’ your speed at a distance of one kilometre; which, in old money, translates to over half a mile! So look out and slow down!


Must go now, I think I’m getting too racy!      

Ian Thew







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