Monday, January 9, 2012


THERE'S SOMETHING NEW in our neighborhood. We live in a quiet, residential area, but all of a sudden round-abouts have appeared in at least three intersections I've seen so far. My guess is that it's an attempt to tame some of the wild young drivers that speed through the area, especially after dark, in a sort of audible testosterone display. Some of the sounds are quite scary as the revved up engines roar and the brakes squeal through the quiet of the night, especially when I've parked our car on the street overnight to avoid a long walk to the parking lot the next morning. Wait long enough and the drivers grow up and leave the area to the next generation of hot-rodders.

When Tim and I went out on Sunday, even he couldn't resist going round 'n round 'n round just for the fun of it, so I can only imagine what creative, mischievous young folks might do. I'll be watching to see if flowers are planted in the centers and if not, I might have to take a stroll with some wildflower seeds.

It's put me in mind of our trip to England with Mr. Bob at the wheel of the rented car where roundabouts proved to be a challenge. One of my vivid memories is Christopher's low, calm voice saying,  as we circled, "Dad, we're approaching our off-ramp again.....take it easy." We laughed a lot on that trip, mostly at poor Mr. B's expense. I remember tootling along through the city of York on a street closed to traffic and Chris saying, "Hold perfectly still, pretend we're mannequins and we're being delivered." to avoid the embarrassment of being observed by all those pedestrians.

modern ro...

And the night at dinner when a relaxed Mr. Bob observed that he'd finally gotten the hang of driving on the opposite side of the road and the way he stiffened immediately when Chris warned him that he'd have to unlearn it when we returned home.

I sat in the back seat with three maps spread out around me and saw more of the printed page than the scenery outside the window as I tried to give directions in a strange country. Another time I would take 2 magnets to mark the place from which I lifted my eyes so that I could readily resume map reading instead of searching among new-to-me town names to find my spot. And I would get one of those "L" signs to put in the rear window to signify that the driver was a Learner, but the truth of the matter is I'm sure we won't be driving through England again in our lifetime, so I pass along my experience to you to use as you see fit. I hope you get to go.

A roundabout is the name for a road junction in which traffic moves in one direction around a central island. The word dates from the early 20th century.


  1. I hate roundabouts. They are popular in New England, but not too many are in VT. New Hampshire and Massachusetts are full of them.

  2. We have them here in Indiana too--probably 5 or so in our immediate area. There were several wrecks until people understood who had the right-of-way. I still don't like them. I had to laugh at your description of Mr. Bob going around several times before getting off. That same thing happened to us many years ago when we were on the LA freeway--my girls and I still laugh about it but Paul doesn't see the humor in it yet! We missed our dinner reservation because we never could find the restaurant!

    Just because I don't comment very often doesn't mean I'm not enjoying every blog and picture every day, Jane. You have such a great talent to be able to communicate as you do. I hope you never quit!


  3. I hate roundabouts, too--we had quite a few of them in NJ when I was growing up. We have one at Duke University on the campus that I have to navigate every morning. I'm always nervous of what other drivers are going to do with them. I've learned that people are not very good with roundabouts!

  4. We got some recently in St Cloud Mn. I lived in England twice so knew what was coming when I heard about them, Too bad people don't always slow down. Nice shots Jane.

    A Non Y Mouse

  5. Bonjour, mes amis
    Try France! They seem to have a roundabout at the end of each block - it does seem like that - since, even using GPS, it's impossible to make any progress other than around and around. We were very dizzy on our recent travels and stuck in Orleans for days - literally.
    Bon soir!

  6. We were up in tiny Arcata, CA and found a roundabout on a freeway overpass. That gave the driver about 3 seconds to figure out the road sign. I don't understand why a roundabout beats a 4 way stop or a signal! But, they seem to be everywhere these days!

    Love the idea of spinning 'round and 'round and 'round. Love the Humphrey humor! You are all a clever bunch.

  7. I love them to. I remember as teens trying to cross the one in Paris and finding out we were really risking our young lives.. Downtown orange we have one.. and i have always loved the surprise of the whole thing. Going round and round and not..on purpose! Love the post!

  8. Connie wrote:
    Hi Jane. Did you n ot go on the Leisure Club trip to "Old towne, Orange, CA, a few years back. They have a lovely one right in the center of town
    and it IS planted. And, The Boston, MA area has lots of "traffic circles". Frankly I found them a useful delaying device when you weren't really sure which road to take. It gave you a few minutes to consider your next move
    without horns blasting away at you. But, you're right - most people hate them.

    P.S. You two are looking GREAT.....HAPPY NEW YEAR

  9. What a shame you haven't tried a Sat Nav. As long as you do not take them as gospel they are extremely useful when you haven't a clue where you are going. And you can still see the scenery.

  10. Susan H writes: We have 3 rather new roundabouts that cause me great anxiety. I will travel further to avoid them. At one of them, the only one I have used, there is a sign at the exit stating something about visiting the for information on how to use the roundabout. A little late in my mind. It should be posted well ahead of the roundabout. I don't even know if that is the correct website as I am in such a state at that point!