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Grockles & emmets ’er an’ there ‘tween Deeries
publication date: Mar 16, 2015
author/source: Nigel Salmon
By Nigel Salmon
Nothing much happens in Cornwall.
It's the land of sea, sand, sunshine and, if you're lucky, a bit of the other “s”; and no-one's in a hurry. At least, that's the theory.
But add tractors, and everything goes pear-shaped.
Mainly shiny green John Deeres which are probably bigger than most Second World War main battle tanks pour out of fields into the lanes as well.
These haul vast trailers at around 30mph, or British Touring Car Championship performance compared with the little Fergie T20 of yesteryear.
From October through to April, when there are few visitors around, they're a constant peril for the unwary on the county's few 70mph roads; on single-lane roads most tractor drivers appear unable to pull over and can lead long convoys of the Great Frustrated.
Problems may reach Biblical plague of locusts proportions when summer arrives, bringing with it the county's lifeblood, visitors.
Without them Cornwall, which in spite of all the sun, sea, sand and the other “s”, has been recognised by the EU as its poorest region, would be in dire straits.
They bring their cash south-west through Devon as grockles, becoming emmets (a Cornish term for ants) as they cross the Tamar into the Promised Land.
October-April traffic problems now pale into insignificance as sheer volume thickens and slows that lifeblood. In bad weather (yes, it has been known to rain here in summer) the roads plunge into thrombosis.
There was a time when local drivers could generally avoid the mayhem by taking to the side roads. Then came satellite navigation. Oh, dear ... The thrombosis has spread to the by-ways, and electronic guidance of an Emmetmobile into a farmyard is not unknown.
Never mind, the kids will be going back to school soon, and we'll have only the tractors, sea, sand, sunshine and the other “s” to contend with.