Belfast Telegraph

A patchwork of tarmac that left my car nursing its suspension

By Sara Neill

Sunday afternoon drives are supposed to be relaxing. My jaunt along the Glenside Road was more of a trek into the unknown, a lumpy, bumpy expedition over the hills outside west Belfast, connecting the Hannahstown and Colinglen areas.

My car and I have been on many adventures, from navigating Newry's roundabouts to an ill-advised sprint up Rocky Road in Belfast, that left my clutch critically ill.

So I felt confident that, together, we could tackle Northern Ireland's 'worst road'.

With the front wheels over the threshold, I was greeted with a mishmash of repairs.

A tarmac patchwork quilt.

There were no giant holes on the Glenside Road during my journey.

However, its surface was less than even, with a spot of tarmac here, a dash of asphalt there.

The whole drive harked back to my childhood, sitting in the simulator at Barry's when the chosen adventure was rally driving.

I would giggle as it felt like we were taking off when going over the peak of a hill.

This time round, in the driver's seat, I was not laughing. The different coloured layers of tarmac I viewed as a personal assault on my suspension, and my stomach.

I worried about what would be round each corner.

An irregular seam that would push a wheel into ditch, or a dip between two mended spots where water would lie, even on a dry day.

I struggled to get above 45mph, between sharp bends and uneven joins that forced the car to jolt and judder from side to side.

The 10-minute journey left me feeling uneasy, a little queasy, and praying that Easter Monday would not involve a trip to the mechanic's to have my wheels realigned.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph