The changing world of motorway services, fast food and blighting a World Heritage Site - Grump Group Organiser has his say.

Stonehenge, Wiltshire

A new tunnel could bypass the ancient site of Stonehenge.

Stonehenge tunnel moves a step closer

I have written about the proposed road tunnel at Stonehenge before, and the controversial project has now been given the green light by the Department for Transport after ongoing delays caused by a bitter High Court battle. It has sparked further rows with some saying it will cause “permanent, irreversible harm”. It means a two-mile tunnel will be created for the section of the A303 running past the famous stones.

I understand why some motorists will miss seeing the site from the road, but many will welcome the development given decades of traffic problems as people slow down to catch a glimpse on a single carriageway that struggles to cope with the volume of traffic.

English Heritage, which manages the site, has previously said that the introduction of the tunnel would mean enjoying the monument without a backdrop of road traffic, which will definitely enhance the visitor experience if you ask me. Who wants to see a white van passing by whilst taking in a quite incredible place that everyone should see at least once in their life?

I would like to think that due care and process will be applied to ensure any development does not have an adverse effect on a historic landscape of huge significance. Some have warned that Stonehenge could lose its World Heritage Site status, but the thought seems absurd. It’s controversial, but I back the plans, although it may be a while yet before progress is made. Expect further legal challenges and the hurdle of funding to keep this saga rumbling on.

Motorway services nostalgia

Who doesn’t like a slice of nostalgia? I certainly do, so seeing Clacklet Lane motorway services celebrating its 30th birthday with its first ever employee took me back.

Roadchef Clacket Lane 29-07-1993

Back to a time when I actually looked forward to stopping at services, having a bite to eat and buying something I didn’t need. Now they’re all a bit samey and often smelly.

Roadchef tracked down Nicola Standing (I’m sure she smells nice), who started her role as team production lead at Clacklet Lane in 1993 on £3.72 an hour.

Recalling her time at Roadchef, Nicola said: “When I first started, we offered a Juggernauts café for truckers, an en-route continental café food, and a retail shop – it was an old-fashioned cafeteria where you would push your tray around collecting food as you go.

In those days, the team had to wear black skirts, black waistcoats, white shirts and boater hats. A lot has changed since then!” Indeed it has.

Your favourite motorway services?

You must all have your favourites when it comes to services; I’m sure the editor would love you to tell the team at GLT all about it… hint, hint. There are a few gems out there, but most merely serve a purpose rather than form an enjoyable part of the journey. Prove me wrong.

Celebrating the McNugget

Did you know that the McNugget from McDonald’s is marking its 40th anniversary? Do you care? I didn’t know that a piece of chicken in deep fried batter would be worthy of any fuss but it seems we celebrate anything these days. Where am I going with this nonsense, I hear you ask? Well, it seems this most famous of fast food options is worthy of an exhibition. There’s even ‘limited edition’ merchandise.

McNuggets in a box.

Would you visit an exhibition about McNuggets?

Yes, the Coach McNugget Art World display has been running this summer. But if you want to design new McNugget shapes, get McNugget tattoos and have a picture taken next to a huge McNuggets box, you’ll have to jump on a plane bound for Hong Kong. Or just treat yourself to a box of six with sweet curry sauce at your local drive-through. You never know, it might hit the British Museum come the autumn!