I drove from Oxford to Edinburgh a couple of weeks ago, to participate in the wedding of two very dear friends if mine. I was a bridesmaid and also the florist so my beat up mx-5 was full of eucalyptus cuttings, cut glass containers and craft supplies.
I did the first section (Oxford to York) after work on a Tuesday. I was staying with friends there and didn't want to arrive too late, so it was head down and minimal stops en route.
The next day though was far more relaxed. I was in the car by 9.30am, having got up to have breakfast with my hosts before they had to go to work. I elected to take the east coast route from York, Up the A1 and peeling off through Northumberland after Newcastle.
It would have been a spectacular drive, if it hadn't been so misty. As I drove through the Northumbria National Park, I went up into the clouds and back down again.
I stopped frequently: a turn off at Kielder Forest Park for a conversation with my plasterer; just past the border, when the sun finally broke through; at Jedburgh for a late lunch (carrot and parsnip soup (excellent) and a cheese and tomato toastie) and found one of those wonderful antique shops that have an amazing array of treasures and pleasingly low prices. I had to talk myself down from buying the boar's head (no way it would fit in the car).
When I was recounting the story to a colleague this week I said I hadn't stopped at The Angel of the North, even though I'd never seen it up close, because it was so misty you could barely see the head. I noted that actually I regretted that; it would have be deserted and atmospheric.
"Always stop," he said "if there's the choice, always stop."