Sitting in a traffic jam on the by-pass the other day I was accompanied by a Spanish friend who I was taking to the airport. We were in the fast lane and we watched 3 police 4 x 4’s zoom along the hard shoulder. Another 10 minutes went by and nothing was moving.
My Spanish friend said he couldn’t understand how we could have been sitting there for over half an hour, 3 police cars were on the scene and yet still nothing was moving. Apparently in Spain the Guardia Civil would be out in the middle of the motorway directing traffic ! I explained that there were all sorts of health and safety rules in the UK so we would just have to wait. With that he got out of the car, walked across the lanes to the hard shoulder, placed himself behind some bushes and took a leak despite my shouting after him that this wasn’t allowed. He responded that he had diplomatic immunity. He then sat on the barrier next to the hard shoulder and smoked a cigarette narrowly avoiding impact with a recovery vehicle that was making its way down the hard shoulder.
Having made his way back to the car, I told him that there was a crash further up which I had heard on the radio and that we might be in the car for some time. By this time more recovery vehicles were weaving their way through the traffic and down the hard shoulder and my Spanish friend, always keen to improve his English asked me what Edinburgh was. I explained that this is an area in Edinburgh and that the recovery vehicle belonged to a company called Lothian Towing Services. Looking at their vehicles he noticed that they also did recovery in Lothians.
By the time we got to the airport he knew that Lothian Towing Services had an recovery vehicle for Edinburgh and promised to tell his friends back home to avoid the by-pass cause the British police weren’t very brave since they had sat in their 4 x 4s without getting out and directing the traffic like the Guardia Civil in Spain would. I was just happy to offload him at the airport, just in case he got arrested for exercising his diplomatic rights on the hard shoulder !