Monday, September 24, 2007

The magic Roundabout

Okay everyone, where was I? Oh yes, we had found a house (but weeks before we can move in, availability and furniture arrival prohibits immediate occupancy) bought a car and enrolled the kids in school. Looking back, it seems we did all that in record time. Did I have a minute to catch my breath and take a look around? Well, yes of course, but time seemed to pass by so quickly and I couldn't take in enough. This was after all the country I had been reading about all my life. Charles Dickens London, that was what I wanted to see, I wanted to see Big Ben and the Tower of London, where the Little Princes reportedly died a horrible death at the hands of their power hungry Uncle Richard. I wanted to see the moors and Yorkshire. I wanted to see it all, and luckily I had time to do that. I wanted to drive on the M-40 and the M-4. I wanted to drive fast and do it legally. We had now been in country for several weeks, our Thanksgiving was coming up (last Thursday in November) and we were not going to be in our house for that, we would be eating in a restaurant, again. I never thought I would get sick of eating out, but I found that we all wanted a home cooked meal of something that tasted like home. I had a five pound bag of grits in my furniture shipment and was thinking how great the wonderful British bacon would taste with a side order of grits and butter. The people living in our house were due to vacate the second week in December, and till then I filled my time with sightseeing close by. We drove out into the countryside every weekend. We always took a different direction and then finally one weekend we drove into Beaconsfield to get to know our village. What a beautiful quaint little village it was. It reminded me so much of Canada, in that it was so clean. No litter on the ground, the yards (or gardens as they were called) cleanly kept, no leaves littering the pristine green grass. The windows on the houses sparkled as though they had just been washed. In many cases, this was it exactly, as I would find out later. We had discovered the round-abouts, which I guess you could call a traffic circle. There were so few traffic lights that I can't remember seeing any, actually. I'm sure there were, I just don't remember them. The great thing about the round-abouts is if you miss your turn, you just go around till you come back to it. Of course sometimes I got stuck on the round about for about five minutes because it seemed impossible to get over in the right lane in time. (This was before cell phones where you could call home and say, "don't wait dinner, I'm still stuck in the round about, be there when I get I there") One day we decided to take a drive to Covington and came across this round about that was designed in hell. It took all my navigating skills to get us through it and I almost lost my religion several times (this is swearing til the air is blue) . I became quite adept at yelling "NOW". You see, this round about had three adjacent round abouts and they were all hooked up in the middle so that you got off one, onto another then off that one and into yet another round about. Hence the term Magic Roundabout. It's magic if you can ever get out of it and onto the main road again. I'm not sure, but I think the Romans may have engineered this particular traffic appendage as a means of torture for the natives. Sort of an "in your face" take that for all the trouble they were given. I figure they must have been given all grades of trouble, for the Romans went home and left the Britons to their own devices, did they not? And while the round abouts are a little difficult to get used to, it makes so much sense. No traffic lights to eat up power. No long waits at lights wasting gas (petrol) and clogging the atmosphere with fumes. Less time on the road since you are not sitting waiting at a traffic light. With all this talk of high gas prices, (and really, we Americans don't know what high gas prices are! We paid 6 dollars a gallon while we lived over there when we bought it on the economy, and that was 1979-1983...)I think we should re -engineer all our roads over here to include round abouts. Look at all we would save. Look at all the earth would save. Guess it just goes to show, Mother really does know best.


pinkgreen said...

If you think that one was bad you should try Spaghetti Junction in Birmingham (UK). It's call that because it looks like a plate of spaghetti from above!
How's the novel coming on?!
Cathy X

Kari (GrannySkywalker) said...

That's funny - I had to laugh when you described the British roundabouts...remember me saying something about the roundabout in Weatherford? How I was happy that Randey usually drives it and not me? Typical of Americans, I guess because THIS roundabout here also features traffic lights! Yeah, there's traffic lights at all four points plus the four sides around our little roundabout in W'ford. Way to complicate things, huh?

Abbie said...

LOl, I love it when you tell your story using the British words for it. It's the same in Nigeria. Petrol=Gas.

I could picture that little villiage in my head, I would love to visit one someday.
Have you been back to England since?
Does your perspective differ now from when you first lived there?

Sophie Honeysuckle said...

I love reading this story! When you've finished it, we'll have to print it out and turn it into a book Sandi! I was fascinated to hear that roundabouts aren't common in the States! And as you know, I love reading about all the little differences between our countries like gas and petrol etc!!
Have a lovely week ahead!

Unknown said...

Great post! I agree - round a bouts would be awesome in the US.
It always threw me though when we'd drive over to Germany because you'd enter the round a bout the opposite direction as you did in England.
The double round-a-bouts always through me too!
Have a great day!
Sandy :0)

LivingTheLife said...

Magic Round-a-bouts, double round-a-bouts, traffic circles, lanes from hell, whatever they are called...well, they scare me...I am not an aggresive I honestly think I could get caught on one of those for a very long time...and I don't mean just minutes...then after going in circles for a while...the ole car sickness would kick in...and we would be in a heap of about "loosing my religion" cracked up when I read that are a splendid writer...I really am enjoying your short stories...please think about gathering them all up for a great would be so fun...I could actually say..."yes, My author friend...Sandi!" awesome would that be...I know you write for your newspaper...and I can still call you an author...but writing a book...just makes all the sense in the world to me...for you to do...So...come on...whatcha waiting for...