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What the English like.

They like green spaces. They love the riversides.
They love the hills. They love the valleys.

They also like the cities and large towns. Well,
not really, but they like the benefits of being
employed and bringing income home.

So there are good roads marking the
way to the nearest towns, and the nearest
big cities as well. And it seems you can
get there within about half an hour. 

And so there are foot paths through the
fields, sometimes crossing farms, sometimes
beside the farms. They are used. In the spring,
you see them busy on holidays and weekends.
In the summer, I'm told, they're always in use.

- -

The English like driving close to the car ahead. They 
like driving fast too. 

So I'm a bicyclist. I stay on my side of the
road. That's the left side. 

In the town, they give me lots of room, and
wave as they go by. On the edge of town, there
are stripes poles and islands in the middle of
the street encouraging those who enter to slow
down, and those who leave to accelerate.

Bikes don't do that acceleration thing very
well, actually.

British roadways are just wide enough for a
bicycle on either curb (spelled 'kerb' here),
and a car on either side. 

So everyone passes close. And they're close
to each other. And they're moving at 50mph if
they're legal. And going 60 or 70mph if they're

Oh, if they can see the lane opposing is clear,
they will go around, passing wide. But that is
not the English Way. 

The roads have turns every few feet. You just
cannot see that far ahead. So the passing is
an interesting form of British Roulette. Happily,
all of those who drive here know, and play safe.
They play fast, but safe.

The English like Roundabouts.

A roundabout is called a Rotary in Massachusetts.

In an effort to keep things moving quickly, the designers 
of roads use Roundabouts often. You will see them taking
crossroads, and painting a big white dot in the middle,
changing the rules of that intersection.

A normal intersection works as you might
expect. You see a traffic signal, and when
it turns green, you can go. Of course these
English signals turn Red-Amber first, indicating
you can get into gear, and give the car gas in
anticipation of a green.

Another normal intersection has a stop sign, 
just like you'd expect. But there are not very
many of these to be found.

And a third normal intersection has yield signs
saying 'give way'. These are very common. 

So how does this roundabout work?

First, slow down when you see the sign warning
its approach. You are travelling 70 in a 50 zone,
and should slow to 20 or 30 for one of these things.
The signs actually read "Reduce Speed Now". 

You see a dotted stop line. At that place, look
into the the traffic's circle, and see if you have
one or two empty car lengths. Yes? Jump in! Afraid,
or no room? Stop and wait. But stopping tends to be
missing the point, and Nobody Will Let You In. They are
not supposed to. They have right of way if they're
going in a circular direction.

You will be making a big right turn. How far? Ah, 
there's the rub. There will be a sign, near the 
'slow down now' sign, with a simplfied schematic 
of the rotary. It will identify the roadways.

These roads are not a series of rectangular lines,
but more like a spider's web of roads connecting
one town to the next. It is common to have five or
six roads on the menu.

If reading the choices is important to you, be
sure you are in the left lane, going extra slow.
Read for how many exits before you make a left
turn to get off. You will be going in a clockwise
circle counting three or four potential exits 
until you choose left for yours, if you would
have normally just made a right-hand turn.

Happily, the exits are labelled, but they pass
you quickly, even at 20mph.

See your town? Make the left. 
Saw your town, but missed it?
Go all the way around again, 
since there is certainly someone
directly behind you.

If you need a U-Turn, there are sufficient
roundabouts to serve the purpose. And since
they serve not just you, leaving, but also
those arriving, a rotary like this will help
you find your way, provided you can read it.

Traffic just flows around and around. The
English seem to really like them. As a pedestrian,
I've not figured out how to do it. I read the
traffic code book for roads, and learned how
equestrians and bicycles should deal. Happily,
it works! Go slowly, signal, and don't relinquish
your right of way. Let faster traffic pass you
on your right (the outside, in this country). But
nobody cuts you off.

The English like being polite. Unless they're young. 
Then they like football. Uh, soccer in North America.

So on the road, if the passage is narrow,
and there are parked cars in your way, just
wait while the through traffic gets past. 

But in this instance, people often let you out.
They'll flash their lights, and you will wave
as you pass them, thanking them for the courtesy.

And people say Hello as you walk past them on a
foot path or a roadway. 

Ah, but what about the others? What does it
mean to be young?

Well! It isn't about age, but it has a lot to do 
with it. These will just not see you. If you are
trying to get by, or put something down, they'll
just keep pushing in, like you are transparent.

- -

The English like their beer.

The young ones truly love beer, and other
things with nutritional ethanol. But I have 
to admit, most others like that stuff too. They 
just act differently.

Even small towns have pubs everywhere. Children
are not kept out of them. Oh, they cannot buy any
drinks, but you see families there.  

Most people truly like their beer, and use this
time to connect with family and friends, just as
I might over coffee. 

And I don't see a lot of beer belly here. I find
that curious.

Oh, Coffee.

I was warned that I would find good tea 
here, and bad coffee. That is not really
the case. I'm finding that if you just 
order "coffee" you mean a teaspoon of 
instant coffee in a cup of hot water. If you
want a coffee press, order a cafetiere. This
is like the Bodun brand filtered thing you
might use at home. 

Ordering a cafetiere was an important 
discovery for me. If I order "coffee", 
the next question is "white or black?"  
I happen to like to dress mine up my
way. By ordering the cafetiere, they present
me with milk and sugar; sweetener and cream on
request. This is perfect. And so far, these
filters are prepared perfectly.

I found a Starbucks in Manchester, and another
one elsewhere. They're usually cooking up the
House Blend. But I won't complain. They seem
to know what a "grande drip in a venti cup" means.

Closely related to coffee is tea.

The English invented it, and get it right.
Oh, alright. Maybe it happened in India, but
you understand me, huh? Anyway...

I still like it my way. Their way is to pour
milk either first, or at the same time. My way is
to pour the tea, see how dark it is, and add just
enough milk so the colour is right. So as long as
they bring the pot of tea to the table, all is well.

They have something called Cream Tea.
I've already told you about that did I?
I forget sometimes. If you come out this
way, you must have that, at least once.

- -

The English like family. You see 
adults with children everywhere.

Here in Ayton especially so.

In towns, in parks, in the moors, on
the streets, in the lane ways.

They seem to like walking together.

I've seen bicyclists, but not as families,
but as small packs of strong riders.

And you see all manner of cars with
lone riders and full of everyone. But
people go for walks here after dinner,
and whenever they want to spend time

- -

The English like to keep things 
pretty. Except the bad guys. But 
there aren't too many of them around. 

Just as well.

All of the folks I've met love flowers
and gardening, expending time and energy
to get their places just right. These bad
guys are known for not only taking things
of value, but of ruining the nice places.

So things which used to be open 24 hours
a day are now closed and locked safely away.

In the moor, there is a pub called The Blackwell
Ox. It has a large parking lot which opens to a
few foot paths around and through a hill. The
pub itself is hidden in one of the hills.

Well, the proprietor had to lock the place up
because "there were too many idiots around 
recently" and it was good to lock the parking
lot, making it hard for them to drive up and
deface the place.

The nice people truly win in this country. If
you want a place that was wild 1000 years ago,
but is parkland and farmland now, go see. When
something gets hurt or damaged by vandals, they
expend effort to fix it right away.

- -

The English love their Queen.

Elizabeth II celebrated her 50th year of ascension
and this was celebrated by the whole country.

There are flags everywhere. The Union Flag (formerly
called The Union Jack) is certainly flown, but also
the English Flag (white rectangle dissected by red cross).

Parties in the streets, in the parks, in many homes.

The Queen herself understood what the phenomenon
was, and commented today. "I know that you love me
almost as much as football." Ah, yes. Most of the
flags were for the World Cup, not for her.

You could hear occasional fireworks, but most of 
the things happening were softer.

There were concerts and choirs performing on Friday.
There were processions and brass bands on Saturday.
There were church services and open air picnics on
Sunday. There was the big event thing on Monday,
with many stores closed for the Bank Holiday. Then
on Tuesday the Queen led a procession to St Paul's
Cathedral in London, and there were big presentations
made in formal costume. Many people across the
country watched that on Television.

The people who want to end the expense of keeping a
queen are the Republicans. They make a good point:
all of this ceremony costs zillions of pounds in 
taxation. And they have to support all of the royals
in their daily life too.

In spite of knowing that, The English love their Queen.

Oh, and they like fish and chips. And Pork Pies.

They used to like beef, but are afraid sometimes.

That's all I know.

Town of Great Ayton follows along the Leven River

This place does Carpentry and Undertaking

Jubilee picnic in Lt Ayton

The army cadets were called in to manage the Jubilee Beacon

Signs in Crediton pointing to Tiverton

Main Street in Tiverton

Tiverton Library and Town Hall

A Main Street in Exeter

The art gallery and museum in Exeter. Recommended.

Inside Exeter's Museum

A view of Residential Exeter

Downtown Bovey Tracy

Exeter left these church ruins remain after 
they were bombed by Germany during the war.