Thursday, 28 April 2016

Simply Red - One Direction?

The chances of our tulips lasting until the Whit Bank Holiday weekend improved slightly this morning, when a chilly breeze brought a light dusting of snow to the racecourse. But the weather isn’t the only thing which has gone a bit bonkers: I’m struggling to get my head around the recent stories about the development of driverless cars. 

I don’t know why it’s on my mind; there are plenty of other things to keep me occupied, what with Simply Red and Jools Holland hitting the Cartmel stage in just over four weeks time, but I woke up this morning worrying about cats. How are those driverless cars going to avoid cats that stray into the road? Then I remembered that I haven’t got a cat, so I worried a bit less. But I do have two dogs… and what about small children, and Jimmy Moffatt’s horses – and all the horses in Newmarket for that matter. 

It strikes me that the nature of the country lanes around Cartmel are never going to lend themselves to the technology being developed for self-driving vehicles. How are they going to recognise the temporary traffic management system that we put in place for race-days? The road to the north of the racecourse is made one-way throughout the early part of the day – allowing visitors to approach the racecourse without creating gridlock in the village. 

At around the time of the fourth race, we turn all the signage around – reversing the one-way system to allow the traffic to leave. We’re encouraging all racegoers attending on Saturday 28th May, when Simply Red play after the races, to arrive early. However, any late arrivals will be directed to the south of the racecourse, where they can access the car parks adjacent to the Course Enclosure without encountering any traffic leaving the Paddock Enclosure. I’m just hoping that no one decides to ignore the signs and follow their sat-nav instead, or even worse – decides to arrive in a driverless car.
Being a passenger in a driverless car must feel a bit strange: trapped, with no power over the speed or direction of travel, subject to the vagaries of those that surround you - but powerless to react. On the other hand, I can see what the benefits are meant to be: safer environment, a standardised roadmap to help us reach our destination and controls that ensure everyone adheres to the relevant legislation. Either way, it feels like a metaphor for the debate about the European Union.
I haven’t decided which way to vote yet, so I can’t offer any advice on the referendum question. However, word has reached me - from Francis at Burlington Stone - that there is mounting scepticism about the quality of the racing selections in this blog. With that in mind, we’re going to make up for recent losses with Jungle Cat in the Palace House Stakes at Newmarket - as long as he doesn’t get squashed by a driverless car on his way to the races.  

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