Hugh Cantlie as a Chartered Surveyor had to use motorways and therefore the Service Stations.
He tried to discover places just off a junction for a quiet lunch but was never able to find one but hoped that one day someone would write a guide about how to find such places.
His Road to Damascus moment came on a hot August Bank Holiday Monday. He was at the back of a ten mile stationary traffic-jam on the M4 by the entrance to a Service Station. To pass the time for the queue to disperse he drove in. He came out resolved that in the absence of any such guide he would have to write one.
Together with his brother they tried to use existing guide books but these were not fit-for-purpose. The solution was to drive along all the motorways, come off at every junction and motor for five minutes down each approach road. They soon learnt that an attractive exterior did not always match the interior but what really mattered was the individuality, efficiency and friendly welcome of each place.
The saga and frustrations of publishing a book is another story but what makes it all worthwhile is that fellow motorists are finding their journeys more fun.