EDitorial ± 10-Sep-2013

Take The A-Road, The OK Road

Rigorous experimentation over the years has concluded that the optimum time to "do" Ikea at Thurrock is Friday evening. Make like a meatball to the restaurant with its minimal queues, enjoy ample amble time until store closes at 10pm, drive back surrounded by flatpacks and everyone gets to lie in on Saturday. Plus -- doubleplus -- the roads are quiet. Ha.

Approaching the M25 junction on the A12, there's an overhead sign warning that junctions 30 to 1A are closed. What a turn-off. No matter. There's a rat run parallel to the Orbital through that Ockendon, the venerable home of El Tel. Mind you, traffic is snarled up as we zoom in on Lakeside, and things are stationary opposite Paperchase. We squeeze in and around and assemble ourselves in the Swedish car park. Time is 7:25pm.

Some hours later, around 9:50pm, saddled with storage boxes full of smaller storage boxes, that same roundabout is still bizzy-wizzy. Again we edge through and speed up. Then we encounter the unlucky-for-some A13. Not only is it not moving much, but many cars appear to be parked on the hard shoulder. Weird. Hot fuzz cars block the M25 slip road. No choice: Rainham, here we come. This is Old Joe Cole's country.

Some splendid seat-of-the-pants old-style atlas navigation from G. ensures that we then hit Hornchurch before rounding Romford to pick up the welcoming alpha dozen, the familiar A12. Only when we're settled back in Broom Acres, not long before midnight, do I see an article on the Guardian homepage about tonight's Security Alert At Dartford Crossing. Whose stupid idea was Ikea on a Friday?