I have often wondered why a person in disfavour is ‘sent to Coventry’.    Well, now I’ve been there and I know why.

Firstly, it has the worst traffic management system I have ever seen in any city – with the possible exception of Cairo.   Basically it was a fast and terrorising free-for-all with traffic doing whatever it liked and weaving about in all directions.   Even the drive-like-Jehu John became silent and white knuckled in concentration and I felt I should be grateful if we escaped with our lives.

Secondly, it was ugly.    It was a neglected, rotting 1960s experiment in brick and concrete which certainly did not work now and in all likelihood never did.   The famous cathedral was a menacing, hulking monolith, with rondels attached to it like (to quote our own dear prince) monstrous carbuncles (except not on the face of a much loved friend.)   The older cathedral, ruined by bombing, did not seem to have had any especial merit other than it was large.   I could see no connection between the old and new cathedrals.   They just sat in  enforced proximity scowling at one another.

There were vast open  spaces surrounded by crumbling concrete, which were filled by diverse youths either hanging about with apparently nothing to do, or else skateboarding under signs that told them not to.   It felt neither safe nor pleasant.

There are some cities which you visit, take one swift look at, think, oh, no, definitely not and flee, never to return.   Coventry is one of those.

We went because I said to John I had never been to Coventry.     We concluded that when you get to our advanced age and you haven’t visited a city only a few hours from where you live, there’s probably some good reason why not!

NB   I am sure the people of Coventry are absolutely fine.   They didn’t design the architecture.