Comment: Paving the road to achievable New Year resolutions

First published in News Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter

The first shopping trip after Christmas is a grim experience. The memories of stuffing, cheeseboards, and port-soaked hedonism are still vivid.

They taunt you as you slope around the supermarket scouring the aisle for those decidedly less fun foodstuffs that will make up the customary January health kick.

The last time you alighted at the checkouts your trolley was laden with the ingredients for festive indulgence.

Now you’re wheeling around the remotest aisles trying to track down puy lentils and whole grain couscous.

Supermarkets could make this process easier by loading their front shelves with their most tedious health foods on December 27 and marking the area “annual dietary masochism”.

The New Year is an apt juncture to contemplate healthy lifestyle adjustments.

Sadly, it is not as meteorologically accommodating.

The icy depth of winter is not the best time to adopt the outdoor cardiovascular habits that become vogue on January 1.

Nevertheless, as night draws in on New Year’s Day you’ll see the streets cluttered with fluorescent-clad runners and speed walkers labouring along the dank and frozen pavements for first time.

Now I don’t want to add to the already heaving canon of pointless New Year’s resolution advice, but would it not make sense to delay these well-intentioned initiatives for six months or so?

What better time to start jogging, cycling or even just walking than on a sun-soaked June evening?

And a Mid Year’s resolution may just have a longer shelf-life than its more traditional sub-zero counterpart.

Speaking of New Year’s resolutions, this may be a fitting time for those in charge Hertfordshire County Council to ruminate on its performance as custodian of the roads.

In November, opposition politicians put forward a motion describing the performance of its highways contractor, Ringway, as “disgraceful”.

This must have seemed like cruel and wanton politicking to the Conservative administration, who could point to their recently won accolade as “Transport County of the Year” in their defence.

And as we all know, awards, like statistics, don’t lie.

Yet the Conservative portfolio holder, Terry Douris, did concede there had been some teething issues with the execution of the £40 million-a-year contract and argued Ringway faced a “daunting” task maintaining the county’s expansive road network.

Political bunfight aside, there are clear examples of the county’s roads lapsing into a dangerous state of disrepair.

A particularly treacherous exhibit in this area is Sarratt Road.

Anyone who has tried to traverse from Croxley Green to Sarratt by car will know what a gauntlet this route is.

The national speed limit road is narrow and winding with a number of sharp cambers, which make it a tricky proposition for any motorist.

Throw in the parlous state of the road itself and it is a potentially lethal combination. The frequent gouges in the tarmac cause drivers to swerve into oncoming traffic at speed. One assumes that this road was missed by the judges of National Transport Awards 2013 as it is hardly one befitting the best highways authority in the land.

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