scribbles tagged ‘UK’

Gigantic Disco Ball

Friday, March 25th, 2005 | tags: ,  |

UK Vacation 9

This ball is near the Waterfront in Bristol. The steps coming out of it suggest the scale. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to stand underneath it and take a picture of the distorted view within one panel including passers-by.

:: DISCO ::


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Gridlock in the UK

Wednesday, March 9th, 2005 | tags: , ,  |

I’m about to spend a week driving  in the UK.    I’ll be reading Ben Elton’s “Gridlock” (review from ‘Punch’ 1991).   The book title alone is  personally relevant  given the time I’ll be spending in s ‘Small Car” (Peugeot 205) on infamous roads!

I’ll be driving  on the M25  (nicknamed ‘Road  to Hell), the London North Circular, A4, A40   M4,   M40, M3, M23, M27,   and other lesser known but equally mystical  highways.    I do find British roads fascintating.    There is even a webpage describing infamous bad Motorway junctions!.   Such a thoughtful service to internet enabled drivers.

 The infamous Swindon “magic roundabout” is just one of those life experiences that everyone should have

Magic Roundabout (sign)

Swindon's Magic Roundabout


It is the ultimate ‘traffic calming’ device.   You have no idea where you should be going,   where another confused driver might be coming  from, or who has the right of way.   The ony safe strategy is to drive extremely slowly, keep looking around, and ignore your mobile phone..!

I must confess  my road-geeky-ness inspired me  to read Jack Kerouac’s book.      

I love the description of Ben’s book as a “Comedy Thriller“.   That description applies directly to roads and junctions  like the Magic Roundabout!  

Excerpt from the linked review:

“Gridlock is about that den of capitalist conspiracy, that teeming cesspit of iniquity, that well-known centre of the military-industrial complex, the…er…car industry. Yes, that’s right. Elton has got a bee in his bonnet about motor cars. He doesn’t like their macho image, he doesn’t like their snooty names, and he doesn’t like the carbon monoxide they spew out into the atmosphere. Above all, he doesn’t like traffic jams. Faced with a traffic jam, Elton starts frothing at the mouth with righteous indignation. In Elton’s exaggerated, hyped-up view, traffic jams are responsible for the death of innocent babies. In one scene, for instance, a heart destined for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital gets held up in a traffic jam and the patient dies.”

When I return I’ll let you know if the actual book lives up to  this generally  rather unencouraging review.   I know the roads so well already they are like old friends

Sleep tight,    Wendy

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