Cowart's Common Room
Hitchhiking v Shanks Pony

I don't remember ever hitching a lift in my life before today - although I may have done, I don't think so! And today I didnt exactly hitch.....

This is what happened. I drove my car to a local hotel for the American Women of Surrey's annual gift fair. I'd been to it before but not at this venue. As I turned in - and no way to turn out again in a hurry! - I saw the drive ahead was choc a bloc. The woman in the car ahead quickly pulled into the side and parked and I did the same - caught her up and we chatted as we walked up to the hotel. Nearer the hotel it was even worse - no more parking room and cars trying to turn, completely blocked.

The event was quite good but when I came out the situation was even worse. I walked back to my car next to car after car of frustrated womenkind unable to move! There was no way I could get my car out, so I abandoned it and walked to the top of the road.

I calculated it would take me an hour and a half to walk home and I wasnt in a shopping/residential area - just busy road. So at the red lights I knocked on a car window and asked the lady driver, and elderly gentlemen passenger, if they were going my way. She took pity on me and drove me to the town - I still had to walk half an hour to get to my actual home but the lift was a great help!

Now, would you have done the same - or walked? Or rang for taxi?

And what about hitching in general? Did you ever hitch? Would you pick up a hitchhiker?

In the days before the motorway when we were driving down to visit my sister in Devon, Daddy often used to pick up hitchhikers - he always enjoyed doing a good turn and having someone different to talk to. I've picked up people walking when they seem miles away from anywhere myself - but not if they are actually hitching - I just stop and see if they want a lift.

Posted at 10th Nov 2009 - 04:15PM   Posted by Faith   Hitchhiking v Shanks Pony Comments: 10

Withy Brook's Avatar I would not normally hitch but you were OK because you were careful who you chose and were not out on the open road. It is a very risky thing to do though.
I would not dream of picking up a hitch-hiker - far too dangerousl I have only done it once in my life - somewhere a long way from home and a very long time ago, I saw a guy walking along with a petrol can in his hand. He was not hitching, I just stopped and asked if I could help, having seen a car parked (with people in it) some way back. He was very grateful and turned out to be a light-weight boxer who came from somewhere near where I lived! Even in those days, a lone woman had to be very careful.

Posted by: Withy Brook on 10th Nov 2009 at 04:31PM

In my youth, I certainly hitched rides, in fact a group of around 20 of us at the tender age of 16, went off in pairs meeting up each evening at a YHA Hostel, and spent the entire summer holidays between school and 6th form hitching around Wales. We travelled in everything from the back of a Citroen 2CV with a sick sheep to the cab of a large coal lorry had a great time and learned a lot from local people about what to see, where to eat, and what was best about the area.

These days I wouldn't stop for anyone, as car jackings have become something that does happen in the UK , and London and the South East have the highest incidence of this crime. I wouldn't accept a lift from a stranger either.

I often see men trying to hitch-hike outside Blackbush airfield where the huge car auctions are held, trying to get back to where ever they have come from once they have dropped off the car to be sold.

In your circumstances, I think I would have phoned the AA to see if they could help get me out, or failing that, a taxi home.

Posted by: Zoe on 10th Nov 2009 at 04:32PM

Pipany's Avatar I wouldn't hitch now and actually only did it once when younger because I felt so vulnerable. I won't pick up hitchers either for the same reason.

Posted by: Pipany on 10th Nov 2009 at 05:10PM

Lampworkbeader's Avatar I used to hitch all the time in my hippy years and only once had a dodgy ride, and I picked up hitchers. I wouldn't do it now though. I'm far too cautious.

Posted by: Lampworkbeader on 10th Nov 2009 at 05:50PM

Lily's Avatar I used to hitch in my youth but always with a friend.
A few years ago Mum and I were having a little coach holiday in Suffolk and the hotel was out of town and not very good for catching buses. Not used to the buses, we ended up with quite a walk back to the hotel for Mum- then in her late 80s. A couple getting off the bus and picking up their car near the bus stop offered us a lift to the hotel. We were really grateful.
Many years ago in S Wales my Dad gave a lift and on asking where his passenger had come from, thought he heard "Ebbw Vale". Transpired later in the journey that he had mis heard- what was actually said was "Cardiff Jail"Smile

Posted by: Lily on 10th Nov 2009 at 06:11PM

Frances's Avatar Wow, Faith, that event must have been a great success! I bet that there would have been some others attending the fair that found themselves in similar situation.

Was there any way to have some sort of announcement made at the event, re re-distributing those parked cars? Or some sort of buddy system to get a cab or whatever?

And, did you ever get back to your parked car? It's stories like this that make me so glad to not have a car, and to have adequate (if not always lovely to ride on) public transportation.

Never a hitchhiker. Only briefly owned a car of my own back in the mid 1970's. Retaining amateur status!


Posted by: Frances on 10th Nov 2009 at 11:34PM

Camilla's Avatar Hitch hiking seemed to be more in the 60's, although I have never hitched a ride, too scared me. I would never stop my car if I saw someone thumbing a lift, can't be too careful these days.

Sounds a very kind lady and gent that gave you that lift Faith, did you buy anything at the local gift Fair?


Posted by: Camilla on 11th Nov 2009 at 01:17AM

Westerwitch's Avatar Well I hope your vest was tucked in that you were wearing skool issue shoes . . . but what a nightmare. Thank goodness a 'safe' couple took pity on you.

Yes I used to hitch in the 60's and 70's but always with a friend. I did hitch once on my own and the fat lorry driver made a lunge for me and missed . . . Laughing funny now - not so funny at the time. No I would not hitch now, neither would I pick up hitchers . . .although did pick up someone I knew the other day who'd dropped his car off at the garage and was walking into the village - but that's different.

Posted by: Westerwitch on 11th Nov 2009 at 11:49AM

If a mad woman tapped on my window at red lights i'd lock my doors Shocked
I hitched once and the lorry driver gave me such a talking to about getting in vehicles with strange people and then dropped me off half a mile down the road with a flea in my ear !! Embarassed never again.
Now i'd call for a lift..Very Happy

Posted by: Bodran on 11th Nov 2009 at 03:23PM

Faith's Avatar In answer to Frances - my hubby gave me a lift that evening back to get my abandoned car - about 7pm it was and still other abandoned cars there. What a nightmare, never go to that event again!


Posted by: Faith on 11th Nov 2009 at 04:37PM

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