06 February 2013

Driving On The Left

Reflecting on passing my driving test 2 years ago,
I now find myself to be an 'ambidextrous driver'

Which means, when I look at a road with no markings
I could pull into either lane, as they both feel right (!)

It means to get in the driver's seat,
I might open the right door or the left door

I may look over my right shoulder or left shoulder for the seat belt

In other words,
it just gives me more opportunity to look like a total heel :)

Now, a curious thing is staircases
Walk on the left or right side?

I find pedestrians aren't consistent with this one
(or on sidewalks)

Here's a few other curiosities

Recently I noticed there are no fire hydrants in England
Instead, they have unassuming water taps in the road for emergencies

These street drains are actually miracle workers
making water disappear almost instantly on roads when raining

They are smaller than the American versions
and more efficient

England is much more rural than outsiders realize
I spied this less than 20 miles from the center of London

What a hilarious slogan for a portable toilet business

Many old buildings had very short doors
(only the wealthy had tall ones)

This clever restaurant padded the top of their 5' door frames
Duck or else :)

I still find little culinary adventures
This prune/bacon morsel is called Devils On Horseback

And I continue to be amazed by how brief the winters are here
Snowdrops and daffodils are already blooming

with crocuses on the way :)

Love that!

- all photos by me -


Michelle said...

I love this glimpse of somewhere I'd love to visit someday!

Iota said...

Is there a rule about pedestrians going up and down stairs on the left or right in America?

I love the way the Green Belt round London has protected the South East of England from becoming one huge urban sprawl.

A little bit Country said...

I lived in the London for 5 years and never drove - I was too scared, ha! I relied on my partner and good old public transport. The pudding "spotted dick" always used to have me in fits whenever I saw it on the menu. xo

Vintage Sheet Addict said...

I love your observations on, shall we say, the more unusual aspects of us Brits! :) x

Annie @ knitsofacto said...

In deepest Wales you'd be most like the locals if you drove straight down the middle of that lane!

You always write England, I do hope you're managing to stray north and west into Scotland and Wales sometimes, some of the best bits of Britain are over those two borders.

Loved the 'Loos for Dos"!

Rosemary said...

I live in the middle of the countryside, and something that I always notice is that in many other countries they have high cables running across and down the roads. Where I live there are not cables at all, they all run underground.
Thank you for some more of your interesting observations.

Happy Homemaker UK said...

Sadly, I have not but hope to remedy that soon!

Happy Homemaker UK said...

I was going to add that, but then started to notice some towns don't have buried cables. So smart and certainly more eye-pleasing :)

Happy Homemaker UK said...

In America, right side on stairs :)

louise said...

One of my favourite signs (alas no longer there) is outside a main roadside pub in Cambridgeshire..."Last spotted dick for miles".

I think driving in the US is easier for us Brits than for US friends here, with US wide roads and easy parking. Mind you I once took a left in downtown Charlotte and found myself driving on the wrong side of the road :-/ a tyre screeching u turn ensued!

Ali said...

How wonderful that your in an area that take street maintenance seriously. In the ten years where we've been I've not once seen the storm drains being cleaned out. Makes walking on really wet days and exercise in avoiding the splash-over from speeding cars on water logged roads. And by golly, your right! Why did I never notice that there's no fire hydrants in England? LOL!

I laughed at the signage photos you posted. They still make me smile when I see them around here.


Happy Homemaker UK said...

That is hilarious! I've seen a sign on eastbound A303 that said 'Well Hung Meat' for a farm shop selling beef jerky. We are always too hurried to make a u-turn to capture it. One day...

Wendy said...

I love your post. So much fun to learn what other countries are like...Yes I am an arm chair traveler because of blogs like yours. I'm sure I could drive over there but I'd probably break every traffic law there is, lol. Have a good rest of your week and enjoy the flowers!

Barbara said...

Too cute, although now I'm wondering is there a "right" side to go up/down stairs?

HippieGirl21 said...

Me too.

HippieGirl21 said...

IDK why, but if I ever visited England and you saw me in a restaurant laughing like an idiot, that menu item would be the reason why, lol!! I mean nothing bad, it just sounds funny :D

HippieGirl21 said...

I'd love, more than anything in the world, to visit here. It seems like there is an awful lot about England that is unique and thus different than the U.S. Like the storm drains are smaller, the doors are shorter, the food is more unique and thus has you curious enough to try, signs that say 'private road, no horses'. Stuff like that just makes me want to visit the UK all the more!!

Maria Babin said...

always happy to see your fab photos!! and this post just made me laugh!! bisous xo

A Tale of Two Cities said...

More fun things about the country we both love--one of the most fun blog posts I ever did was on signs that were, well shall we say, a bit quirky??

Dena Barrie said...

Funny, I am so scared to drive in the UK, I simply will not do it! I am afraid I will cause death and destruction and won't take it on! But I clearly walk on the left and stand on the right. Great post

PURA VIDA said...

Your posts are so much fun to read and always interesting. sometimes I drive on the left...just for fun

NotesFromAbroad said...

I am always afraid to drive in the UK. In Paris I am okay .. but the UK , even if I understand the language, is scary to me ... I think it has something to do with the dreaded Round About :(

Susan Kane said...

I have not been by your site for ages! So good to re-connect. Your photos and writing made this day better. Esp. the snow drops.

Magali@TheLittleWhiteHouse said...

This post was very funny! I remember once when I was visiting England with pupils, the coach was on a narrow lane in Gloucesterchire, I was reviewing my notes on the activity I was going to do with the pupils on our next stop, when suddenly I looked at the road... And our French driver was driving on the right! I yelled "on the left! on the left!"... Now, it's a good memory!

Tina @ Girl Meets Globe said...

The one thing I am most anxious about moving to England is driving on the left! I'm hoping I can successfully become ambidextrous in my driving skills! ;) We'll find out soon! We'll be there this month!

Happy Homemaker UK said...

That's so exciting! Good luck on your move!

Kyra Wilson said...

Oh that driving thing! When my parents lived out there and my dad drove us all over, I remember thinking "We're gonna die because he'll forget which side of the road! GAH!" I'd still move there in a heartbeat (or to scotland, I'd love to live there!) My husband is actually lightly trying for it through his company! A girl can hope!

Happy Homemaker UK said...

So exciting! I hope it happens for you :)

the cuby poet said...

You are right about sides of the stairs, the same side left up and down. Driving on the narrow lanes here the one skill you need to be expert at is reversing in order to find a space where two cars can pass be it a farm gate, grassy/muddy verge just anywhere will do. I enjoy reading your blog.

the cuby poet said...

P.S. I will look at drains in a different way from now.

Jan said...

My BF - who has lived in Poland, Slovenia and Geneva in the last 12 years - passed her test in England. She freely confesses that her brain can go into melt down when faced with certain road situations over here! Jx

Happy Homemaker UK said...

I love how the road is wider than the street - how it extends onto verges and sidewalks/pavement as additional parking and driving options. Definitely has me 'out of the box' :)

lisaroyhandbags said...

We found the exact same thing about driving on the opposite side after living in Ireland for 4 years. The scary thing was, we'd have to really think about it after landing after a long flight in Canada and driving out of the airport - too easy to end up on the wrong side of the road!
In Dubai, driving is the same as North America, but there are many UK, Australian and Irish expats here accustomed to driving on the opposite side (and walking too). It makes for a bit of chaos! :)

Jane said...

Oh Nervous Nellie! You make me giggle. I thought the British were like us - always keep to the left. Everywhere. It's most discourteous to do otherwise. J x

Gillian said...

As always your blog makes me smile and look anew at the everyday things I take for granted. Loos for Dos - love that!

Gillian x

Noelle the dreamer said...

Great post Laura (as always!).
Shorter entry ways have often puzzled our son who is 6'3". His comments of the 'little people abounding the British Isles' never fails!
His biggest challenge: the oldest Fish & Chips place in Glastonbury...Venturing to the loo (atop a very low, very thin ribbon of staircase) created a gasp or two on his part and a large egg on his forehead!
A Worcestershire 13th Century farm (belonging to our niece) led him to state he should wear a helmet, preventing being the best policy in such matters! At 5' his sister has no such problems...That must explain her snorts...

Sandra said...

Hi Laura, we haven't visited each other lately and I thought I would pop in to see how you're doing and how my home country is!
Talking of driving on the 'other side' of the road, I can no longer drive in England as I end up on the wrong side going round corners - a bit hair-raising to say the least.
I used to love devils-on-horseback. In the U.S. I learned to love soy marinated water chestnuts wrapped in bacon!
It's good that the drains are so efficient in England, especially with a rainy year like in 2012!
How lovely that the spring flowers are already poking out of the ground, we are still in snow mode!
Have a wonderful weekend!

Emily said...

Cheers, Laura! Just had "Devils on Horseback" recently -- delicious!

Our daffs are beginning to peek their yellow mops out too.

Just read *The Giver* at your suggestion. FABULOUS! Wish we could book club it, as there's so much I want to talk with someone about it -- so much! You're right, I don't know how they'll possibly make a movie of it.

OH! And the fam and I are participating in The Big Backyard Bird Count at week's end. Can't wait! Have been hoping too ever since your post last year.

Have a lovely week!

Kay G. said...

Duck or Grouse, that's funny!
I don't know if most Americans would know that the meaning of "grouse" is to complain.
I only know it because of my English husband.
And I remember those crocuses coming up when I lived in England, and they were most welcome, as the winter of 1985 was a very cold one!

Jeanie said...

It is simply wonderful to see England through your eyes... and I wish I was the one who invented the name Loos for Dos!