Nearly £2 million of roadworks is coming to the M6 in Cumbria.

A programme to install new safety barriers in the central reservation between junctions 36 and 38 is underway.

Work to resurface sections of southbound carriageway between junctions 38 and 40 will start on October 7.

But will it continue every day?

If the roadworks most of us have seen are anything to go by, it might start on October 7 and stop on October 8.

This is one of life’s great unanswered questions: why do road workers spend so much of their time not working on roads?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not criticising anyone who starts work then has a better idea.

But if I turned up for work, sat down for five minutes then got up and left, my absence would be noticed within just a few months.

If people in the red and white cone industry go missing, it’s painfully obvious straight away.

Sometimes they’re nowhere to be seen for days.

A similar principle applies to tradespeople.

Often they turn up, leave a bag containing three screwdrivers and a spanner, and vanish.

Only the bag provides any evidence that they were ever there.

Three screwdrivers and a spanner: it sounds like one of Richard Curtis’s less successful romantic comedies.

Where do they go? The most popular theory is that some tradespeople have several jobs on the go at once.

They flit from one to the other, like bees between flowers.

Bees who could do with wearing a belt when they bend over.

Is it the same with road workers? Do they do a bit of the M6 then leave three blowtorches and 30,000 cones to mark their territory before heading for the M1?

I know working on motorways is a potentially dangerous job thanks to drivers travelling too fast.

But does that explain these mass abandonments?

There must be a reason. And finding it could give us a different slant on history.

Perhaps the Mary Celeste was never really abandoned.

Maybe the ship was just being repaired by a crew of carpenters who had to dash off to fix another vessel. “Time to go. Don’t forget to leave some spanners.”

It must be great to have a job which allows you to disappear with no apparent consequences.

Piers Morgan’s fan club secretary is a prime example.

And England footballers frequently vanish for 90 minutes at a time.