Friday, November 29, 2013

Confusing Signs - Anglophile Friday

 The George Shut
Much Wenlock
Explained later in the post

Oops, I lied. I told you last week on Anglophile Friday that I would post detail shots of York Minster on today's Anglophile Friday. That will have to wait until next week. Since I'm not at home over this Thanksgiving holiday, I decided to schedule this repeat of a post I wrote in February of 2010. I hope you won't mind.

'I'm always fascinated by signs in England. Why? Probably because they are not the signs I see every day. Also, they have some pretty amusing road signs. Well, amusing and confusing, if you're a first-time tourist. So take a look at this sign. This is a photo I took in a wonderful little village called Askrigg in the North Yorkshire Dales. Incidentally, much of the filming for building exteriors to represent the fictional town of Darrowby in the TV series 'All Creatures Great and Small' was done in Askrigg. This photo was taken on my trip to England with our daughter, Angela.

That brave girl rented a car in Bath where she, along with her terrified passenger, was suddenly catapulted into the British experience of Driving On The Wrong Side of the Road While Sitting On The Wrong Side of The Car and Going a Zillion Miles Per Hour on the M-Whichever. How she did it, I'll never know. How I survived it without hiding below the dash of the car, I'll also never know. Once or twice, when my heart was throbbing in my throat, I quietly implored her to slow down. Other than that, I think I was pretty manageable.

Back to Askrigg. Back to the above photo. While driving around the countryside, we came across this road sign many times: the white disk with the black horizontal bar. Okay, so we assumed that we were barred from travel on those roads. You know, like 'No Entry.' Doesn't that look like a 'No Entry' sign to you? Yes, I know what you're thinking - that it might have been a good idea to familiarize ourselves with British road signs before we left the States. Yeah, well... And I do remember that we asked the natives for an interpretation - or did we ask them which way to the store that sells Turkish Delight. Can't remember. And yes, I am unashamed to say that I was an obvious TOURIST.

It wasn't until we returned home that we discovered that the mystery road sign means 'National Speed Limit.' What?? I couldn't believe it. Any time I see a sign with a strikethrough...oh well, who am I to argue with the Brits. I'm sure they have some very logical reason.

Then there was this wonderful sign - Elderly People. I'm thinking of getting one of those to put at the end of our driveway. :-)

Okay, back to The George Shut. So what does that mean? Well, I think it's what we call a 'dead end' or 'no outlet.' I'll have to admit, 'dead end' is a stranger term than 'shut.' And I think you can see why no cycling is allowed. The opening is about three or four feet high. You wouldn't want to try riding your bicycle into that place. I took this photo in Much Wenlock, Shropshire.

Pandy Inn. Out in the enchanted Golden Valley of Herefordshire (If you ever watched the movie 'Shadowlands' with Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger, you might remember the Golden Valley) stands this lovely sign in front of, as it says, a 12th century free house. TWELFTH CENTURY!! Good grief! I think our local pub has been in Dallas for maybe 50 years tops. Kevin and I had dinner at the Pandy Inn one night. It was a never-to-forget evening of live music, great food, and the pleasant company of our friends who live in The Golden Valley with beautiful hedgerow-lined roads and plenty of really cute and friendly neighbors who even came out to the road to greet us! - the sheep.

I know this was going to be about signs, but I just can't resist those sweet little sheep.

The footpath sign is common in the English countryside, since thousands of miles of footpaths are available for public use. It's great to be able to traverse a property with confidence that you're not going to be arrested for trespassing.

We discovered this little sign while walking through a churchyard in Askrigg. I'm not sure how one keeps one's dog from fouling on church property... but I like the fact that the sign is low to the ground where the literate canine can read it.

It was fascinating to me how often we saw dogs out and about with their owners. In England, dogs are allowed to go into pubs as long as there's someone on the other end of the leash. Next to the entrance of one pub, we saw a sign that read, Dogs and well-behaved children welcome. Unfortunately, you'll just have to take my word for it, since I've searched my files and can't seem to locate it just now, (my chronic filing problem.)

To the left of the door of The Bull Inn in West Tanfield was the following sign. I love that it starts out with 'Very Polite Notice.' We could take a lesson.

and this one at the entrance to a craft fair in Hawes, home of the Wensleydale Creamery of Wallace and Gromit fame.

Below is a photo of one of the easier-to-understand roundabout signs, near York. Some roundabout signs have all sorts of spokes sticking out - which makes a pretty tense moment when the navigator, road map in hand, is frantically trying to figure out exactly which one you're supposed to take, as fellow drivers are calmly zipping on and off the roundabout. On the other hand, they usually have two lanes, so theoretically you could stay on the inside track for hours while trying to figure out which spoke you want to take.

Last but not least, one of my favorite signs in London - the Westminster Tube Stop sign, looking toward the Houses of Parliament.

This is what you see when you come up out of the Underground station at Westminster. It's an awesome sight! Just ask Anna, our granddaughter, who was with us when I took this photo in March of 2008.


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SImple and Serene Living said...

I love all of the sign and I really want to go traipsing around the countryside. xo LAura

MadSnapper said...

i love each and every one of these and the black slash makes no sense but the rest of them do make a lot of sense. i am trying to imagine changing all our dead end signs to SHUT..

Pamela Gordon said...

I LOVE England as we went there in '92 and have so many great memories of our month long trip. Our friend who lives there bought 2 old Vauxhall cars for us and our other friends (all from Canada) to use on our vacation. It was cheaper than renting a car! Hubby did all the driving and managed quite well, I must say. However on one round about we circled 3 times trying to switch lanes to exit. We have roundabouts here now but they are only one lane ones, thank goodness. I love the signs and terminology in England. The photo of the road (which is called a "B" Road) reminds me of many that we traveled on - narrow with rock walls and/or trees on either side. They are so pretty! Thanks for sharing and renewing my memories. Have a great weekend. Pamela

Donna said...

Love the various signs! Yes, it is a bit scary to drive on the wrong side of the road. And it's made all the worse with the multiple roundabouts. Yikes! We've done two trips to Ireland to experience it first-hand.

Susie said...

Love the England photos. Your signs are cute. It is fun learning of other countries. Hope you have agreat weekend. xoxo, Susie
p.s. do you ever visit Jo at "A Brit In Tenn."

Mike@Bit About Britain said...

You haven't realised yet that it's most of the rest of the world that drives on the wrong side of the road...and driving in the US is a nightmare! I have particularly awful nightmares about an underpass in Boston. But I'll grant you that some signs in the UK are a little odd. There was one on a shoe shop advertising a 3 for 2 offer; passers-by couldn't understand why I was rolling about with laughter. I could go on..!

podso said...

Love the signs. And the foot paths.

TexWisGirl said...

love the 'no dog fouling' and the 'elderly people' signs. :)

RURAL said...

I love those signs...wonder if I could copy the no dog fouling on for my front lawn. LOL.


Eileen H said...

Loved this post about our signs. Couldn't help but smile at the image of you hiding in the car as you travelled on the "wrong side" of the road :-)
I think the sign you may have seen is - Dogs welcome in bar with well behaved owners!

Vee said...

This was such fun to read...those signs are great and I would certainly never know what a slash meant. Have you read Susan Branch's latest book about her vacation in England? Your description of driving reminds me of hers. And do you know Ellen? The Happy Wonderer? She's also be writing about her recent vacation in Britain.

Terri D said...

It was new to me, and I enjoyed it! Looking forward to hearing about your holiday!!

Samantha said...

So, part of me wants to suggest that the 'The George Shut' sign is a road name sign rather than a public notice sign because of it's shape and colour. It's the same as many Victorian/Edwardian road name signs. If I were to hazard a guess, I'd say that it's one of those road names (or rather lane names!) that came into being from popular language rather than a name that was created for it.

Ignore all of my rambling, I've googled it and I'm right. So ner!
"The George Shut meets the Mutton Shut at the corner in Much Wenlock. Just past Wenlock Flowers you will see a cobbled pathway called The Mutton Shut. Shuts were like shortcuts to other areas and usually named after nearby inns or pubs. The Mutton Shut actually meets up with The George and Dragon Shut which one usually accesses from the High Street just to the right of the George and Dragon Pub, both lead to the car park and public toilets." From the Much Wenlock tourist info site.

Onto other signs, I've already rambled on too much! I find many handwritten or computer typed signs are of the passive aggressive variety, using 'A polite notice' for a notice that is anything but polite! Yours was polite, but I think it can be used similarly to 'No offence, but...'

I like the obscure road signs that don't have the explanation underneath. Especially the one with the red car on top of the black car. Who knows what that means? (I know, I should know!).

I hope you've had a great thanksgiving, we had a regular Thursday :)

Magali@TheLittleWhiteHouse said...

English signs always made me laugh, I have taken quite a few pictures of them as well. The "Low Flying Owls" is my favourite!

sweetbriardreams said...

I was chuckling while reading this as with living in Britain there are some pretty weird signs. There is one in a town near me called 'The Hole in the Wall' and it is above a gap between two shops. As you walk through this narrow alleyway you come across a pub that literally fits in the gap! xx

J_on_tour said...

A 59 to York everytime, the other road is a ring road that they might be for the park & ride.
I was once with someone in London who hadn't been there before & coming out of the tube station said something like "Wow, that's big" to which I replied ..."Yeah, that's why it's called Big Ben" !

Debra Hawkins said...

These posts always make me feel homesick. Is that weird? Homesick for a place I have never lived?

Ruth Kelly said...

I know where the Pandy Inn is. Thanks for some memories.

Parsley said...

I absolutely LOVE these signs! Thank you so much for the smiles.


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