Sunday, August 15, 2010

Driving in the UK.

We rented a car to drive from Salisbury to Wales. Actually it is ours for the next 21 days. The first day was not too fun. The roads are very skinny and the English drivers are confident in the narrow streets. Always someone is over the centerline, half way into the center of the road crowding your already tight space. These tight wire acts are done on the wrong side of the road, with tall hedges right up to the side of the car and stone walls to crash into at every turn, all at high speed. A few days later we took the M4, a motorway, this was a lot better. I now know that we spent the first day on the worst roads. Nice start. The people here know to stay in the slow lane when they are not passing, which is very pleasing. I am no longer looking the wrong way into the roundabouts. I am so confident now that the roundabouts annoy me at their frequency. We have navigated the most advanced roundabouts, even double three lane roundabouts; I am a crack UK driver now. We drove to Wales today. The drive is slow as far as miles driven but is seems fast as the accuracy of driving required is at level 11. I can’t gawk out the window at all the greenery, castle ruins and pubs.

On the first day we were on a very small road into Avesbury. One lane, high shrubbery and curvy. We met a car suddenly around a corner. Boy was he surprized when I veered to the right. I wish I had a picture of his face.

The car is a Ford something, I feel like a non car guy because if someone asked what I was driving I would say a black car. It is a 6 speed manual full size car, this I like. The shift pattern is like a Canadian car, the foot pedals are Canadian too. The Shifter is on the left of course, this is fine. The major irritants are the mirrors. The rear view mirror is on the left side of you and that is wrong, wrong, wrong. The car is much like the old brown Taurus we owned that blew up on me during one of our previous family vacations. That kind of event only comes in ones, doesn’t it? I some times still walk to the left side of the car to get in. I try to hide it by checking the mirror or dusting off a leaf but Rhys catches it right away, damn.

Driving on the left is ok, now. Holly flinches less and less and the kids are lulled into car sickness by the relentless roundabouts.


Steve said...

I have faint recollections of being 12 or 13 and my Parents careening through the roads of England. Taxis are worse though, but at least they know the roads I suppose. It probably reduces your life expectancy from the stress alone : )