The orange cable looped and danced all along the side of the country road, lying low, snaking over branches, crossing driveways under ridged protective rubber. I marvelled at how it could be made so long, miles and miles of it unbroken, sheathed in its coat of flex. I thought of the cables running alongside trains in the Underground. Perhaps high-speed broadband was finally coming to my neck of the woods.
Before long I ran into a ‘ROAD CLOSED’ sign. A man in a hi-vis jacket stood by it. I stopped and wound down the window. Actually, I pressed a button and the window wound itself down, or at least the car’s electrics caused it to be wound down, but the fluidity of the tale demands that it was I who wound down the window. I stopped and wound down the window. ‘Can I ask what you’re doing?’ I enquired of the man in the hi-vis jacket. ‘Seismic survey,’ he said. He looked like the Scottish actor Peter Mullan, the very man who might play just such a road worker stationed at a roadblock in a Ken Loach film about road workers. ‘Oh, I see,’ I said, though I didn’t, and set off down the diversion.
Ten seconds later – well, perhaps it was a minute or two – I laughed. Hampshire is not known for its unstable geology. ‘Bastard was pulling my leg,’ I said, to no-one in particular.