F 1 D 0 -- 02 06 05 at 00 30 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 speeding. 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 together. - - 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.