I overheard a conversation today where someone described a road in my old neighbourhood, Spring Gardens in Swindon, as being a rat run. For those reading this who are not familiar with the term, a rat run may sound like a charity fund raising exercise held by rodents looking to collect money to aid the crippling cheese dependency that is widespread in their ranks, but it actually describes a small or unsuitable side street that is used by town centre through traffic as a short cut. It is possible that you will have witnessed such a dastardly practice being undertaken the last time you cut through a side street to miss the urban congestion. Apparently the problem got worse after the council spent millions of pounds on the recent year long re-modelling of the Princes Street area in an effort to deter traffic from the main roads in that part of town. Who would have foreseen that the cars would just cut through the back streets instead? Well, not the council.
When I was living in and more importantly parking in that area I did go to the Council Offices to complain about the situation. After a very helpful receptionist pointed out the sign that lead to the road planning office I headed off down a corridor, went up two flights of stairs, along another corridor, out through a fire escape, across a car park , down some more stairs and found myself in basement. It was at this point that I realised that I was actually now nearer the pub, so I went for a pint instead.