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Lesley Dolphin: It's all about Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 11:44 19 October 2011 | UPDATED: 20:09 20 February 2013

Lesley Dolphin: It's all about Suffolk

Lesley Dolphin: It's all about Suffolk

The stress of modern motoring

The stress of modern motoring

I had one of those days this week. Somehow several appointments all came together on the same day. I needed to get my car to the garage for its MOT, then I had to get to Bury St Edmunds to do my afternoon show live from the market place and finally I needed to glam myself up ready to host the New Angle Literary awards in the evening!

I planned the day with military precision and all went well until I leapt into the hire car I was using to get to Bury St Edmunds. I was already running a bit late so my adrenalin levels were starting to rise as I fired up the engine and felt for the handbrake. It wasnt there! I searched all over the place to the right, on and under the steering wheel, all to no avail. My stress levels hit the roof!

I was determined not to panic and after pressing various buttons and pumping the pedals I did somehow release the brake. Very relieved I set off up the road yes UP the road! At the top of the hill at the T-junction I realised what I had done. How do you do a hill start without a handbrake?

This isnt the first time Ive been confused by new gizmos in a car. If youve ever visited us at BBC Radio Suffolk, youll know the parking facilities are rather challenging to say the least. There are extremely solid, unforgiving concrete pillars waiting to catch the unwary in the underground car park and a very narrow ramp to negotiate to get to the back of the building. We have had some entertaining moments watching visiting footballers trying to reverse their rather expensive cars back down the ramp.

We park in all the available space and often have to move each others vehicles, so when Rachel bought a lovely new mini I was rather nervous at the prospect of moving it and it turned out I was right to be.

For some reason there wasnt an ignition key, just a solid token but that wasnt a problem, it was obvious where to insert it. Next to it was a start/stop button which I nervously pressed. Nothing happened! After 10 minutes of examining the dashboard and repeatedly pressing the start button, I called my colleague Kate for help. It took us another 10 minutes of randomly pressing buttons and waggling the gear stick to discover that we needed to depress the clutch pedal. At last the engine purred into life!

What I want to know is why a car designer should want to create a brand new system for a car when the old one has worked perfectly well? Thereve been hand brakes ever since Henry Ford created his little black number Im a bit worried that the next time I leap into a new car the steering wheel will have gone!

I have spent quite a lot of time travelling around Suffolk over the last couple of weeks. I was lucky enough to be involved in judging the Best Deli for this magazines Food & Drink awards. What a dream job that was! I also helped to judge the Best Village Competition organised by SALC (Suffolks Association of Local Councils). It meant I was driven the length and breadth of Suffolk and was able to relax and admire our beautiful countryside golden stubble fields dotted with huge round bales, and the hedgerows already starting to turn.

My other half, Mark, dreads autumn because it means summer is over, but I really enjoy the changing seasons. At this time of the year the shortening days bring the promise of cosy evenings spent at home around the fire with the curtains closed against the night.

I love the mornings when I go for my walk with Satsuma and the heath is decorated with hundreds of shimmering cobwebs, the dew clinging to each gossamer thread. The leaves on the trees are already turning russet and golden and the blackbirds are feeding greedily on the crimson rowan berries. As we walk I collect sweet chestnuts, prising open their prickly casings, and fill carrier bags with blackberries and sloes.

This is a great time for foraging but the most beautiful treasures I collect are not edible. I cant resist picking up shiny conkers as they lay just waiting to be found under the horse chestnut trees. I stuff them in my pockets to take home every year and am always so disappointed when they lose that warm chestnut glow and turn a dull brown. Happy hunting.

Listen to Lesley on BBC Radio Suffolk weekdays from 12.30-4pm


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