LEADING ARTICLE : A warm glow in South Mimms

Share
Related Topics
Stress over Britain. Stress curling under the doors of the executives of merchant banks; stress seizing the hearts of overworked middle managers in cold embrace; stress entering the industrial estate and paralysing the limbs of the small businessman; stress enveloping the Christmas shopper; seasonal stress taking the round redness out of the cook's face and replacing it with a pinched desperation. And stress gripping the temper of the Yuletide motorist, caught in jams or stranded by snow, with so much to do and so little time to do it.

But yesterday, in the warm, well-lit halls of the South Mimms service station, whose thousands of cheerful lights cast a rosy glow out on to the grim greyness of the M25, stress was being banished. The benevolent ladies and gentlemen of the Royal Automobile Club had met and decided (doubtless over mulled wine and sweetmeats) to assist the beleaguered motorists of Britain. A psychologist would be on hand to counsel the stress away, to exorcise it. Yesterday it was the turn of the country's largest orbital motorway. Today Conrad King (for such is the eminent man's name) will be on hand at Fleet on the M3 and Birchanger on the M11.

Here we reproduce some of the advice that the admirable King will be giving to the patients on the couch. We have tried to help even further by supplying the undesirable alternative in parentheses:

Stay calm and ignore challenges from other drivers (no screaming "Bastard" at the top of your voice if the Volvo driver in the sheepskin so much as glances at you).

Be courteous and use the RAC thank you/sorry sign (which does not consist of a sudden upward gesture with the extended middle finger).

Plan your route in advance, to avoid last-minute arguments over map-reading (we are sick of picking up spouses who have been dumped on the hard shoulder together with shredded editions of 'Routefinder Britain').

Try to relax by listening to soothing music (it is funny how many accidents are caused by heavy metal fans attempting to drive while pretending to be lead guitar).

Listen to weather forecasts before setting out, and plan your journey time accordingly (if Michael Fish so much as mentions snow, forget delivering that donated kidney to the waiting hospital. Go at once to the supermarket, stock up with tinned soup and Longlife milk - you're in for the long haul).

It should be clear by now that the RAC has established a useful precedent with its psychologist, which others might well emulate. Could not the divine Delia be on hand, via radio or television, to counsel those struggling with vast turkey dinners ("think twice before you throw that gravy boat at granny"), or department store Santas stand ready to throw iced water on overheating shoppers? Stress is the enemy of us all. Let us defeat him together.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Photographer / Floorplanner / Domestic Energy Assessor

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Surrey - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Assistant

£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Letter from the Whitehall Editor: The spurious Tory endorsement that misfired

Oliver Wright
 

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband hasn’t ‘suddenly’ become a robust leader. He always was

Steve Richards
Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence