It’s inevitable. No matter how hard you try to find a different route or how long you spend scanning the road, you always end up stuck in traffic during the commute.
For some reason, the afternoon rush hour never seems quite so bad – as everyone drives home like a bat out of hell – but the slow trudge of commuters into the city centre before 9am is unbearable.
Naturally, it doesn’t help when you have an on-board computer sneering that you are spending a ruddy fortune sitting still at a red light, followed by slight acceleration to 4mph, back to a stop without actually passing through the red light, then sitting and waiting for two and a half minutes before slightly accelerating to 4mph, still not getting through the red light, getting cut off by a bus, being overtaken by several cyclists, undertaken by a taxi, followed by planting it to get through the green light on a wave of fury and then repeating for 30 minutes until you reach your destination and get on with a day’s work.
In any normal car, the commute would cost a couple of quid. My old Rover 25 would still get 20 odd miles to the gallon in heavy traffic. My ex-military Series III even manages to grasp 10-12mpg in the mad rush hour grudge match. But the Range Rover Classic? Think single digits.
While this is now the second month that I have been commuting back and forth in this glorious big green bus, my patience has been worn paper thin due to the sheer cost of running the V8 in the city centre. I have averaged six mpg.
Roger Moore made more James Bond films than that. Nicholas Cage makes that many movies a month. A Sherman tank averages five mpg on a bad day.
I have developed a syndrome where the sound of the engine running while not actually moving anywhere turns me into a homicidal maniac. I had a mental image two weeks ago of ploughing through some pensioners who had caused me to stop at a pedestrian crossing only 400 yards away from a junction, where my side was on a green light.
I genuinely considered mounting the pavement and racing down the pedestrian friendly zone to save petrol, and when questioning the logic in the event I was arrested, I merely considered the police car a cheaper route home.
I have developed a nervous tick. My sat-nav now only goes via petrol stations while I have burned enough fuel to power a Saturn 5 rocket. To put a point on it, the Range Rover is repeatedly kicking me in the nuts, laughing and then running away with my wallet. The commute has become a financial nightmare.
Now, don’t get me wrong, the Range Rover is fantastic. I’m surrounded by luxury, I’m incredibly comfortable, the speakers for the CD of choice are fantastic, I sit up high and the exhaust burble keeps me amused when sitting at very, very stationary junctions.
Furthermore, people very rarely bully the Range Rover in traffic. They let you in when you have entered the wrong lane and allow you back in again because, quite simply, I will drive over them if they don’t. Only buses and taxi drivers get the better of me - as they scream by grinning inanely.
The car itself is an amazing piece of kit. I adore it, and while the upcoming MoT is highly likely to cause issue, it currently does everything perfectly. But the commute is killing me. Even more than usual.