Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Few Random England Ramblings

Don't really have pictures to share at the moment, though we hope to fix that later today with a little exploring trip to Bury St. Edmunds. So instead I thought I'd share a few random musings about what we've experienced here so far, in no particular order.

* Driving on the roads here kind of feels like riding on a roller coaster that never goes up and down, just side to side. Around where we are, they're all really narrow, with no shoulder and a lot of bumpies on the outside edge, and they curve around a lot.

* Speed limits are based on the type of road (single carriageway [two-lane road, one lane each direction], dual carriageway [like a divided highway], and motorway [freeway]) and not on the actual conditions of the individual road. Around towns it's 30 mph, but pretty much everywhere else it's 60. Yep, even on the narrow curvy roads with no shoulder. They told us in drivers training to drive only as fast as it was safe, and not feel obligated to do the max speed limit. Wish more people around here would actually drive that way in practice...

* The roads aren't lit either, except in the villages and towns. So driving from Feltwell back to Lakenheath last night, pretty much pitch black the whole way.

* The Brits don't wear tennis shoes on a daily basis (unless, presumably, they're playing tennis or engaging in some other sports activity). They all seem to wear boots. My feet hurt after wearing boots all day, and they're not even high-heeled.

* You can pretty much pick any direction from where we are, drive five to ten minutes, and find something beautiful and picturesque. The problem is there's no shoulders on the roads to stop and take pictures safely...

* Roundabouts actually make a lot of sense once you get used to how they work. If no one's coming from the right, you don't stop at all, you just continue on your merry way.

* The GPS is worth its weight in gold, but with caveats: it seems to lag a little behind where you actually are, so you have to keep sharp not to miss your turn, and it will occasionally try to take you onto a one-way street the wrong way or onto a lane that's only for pedestrians.

* This area isn't built up nearly as much as I expected it to be; it's actually a whole lot of farms. We've seen fields of...something...sugarbeets maybe? and quite a few sheep, pigs, a few cows, and lots and lots of horses. Newmarket, where they breed and train racehorses, is not too far away.

* We've seen real, honest-to-goodness thatched-roof cottages. I tried to take a picture but when you're zooming by in the car (Lee was driving, not me) at about 40 mph, it just looks like a blur.

* This time of year, it gets dark between 4 and 5 in the afternoon. The other evening I caught myself thinking, "Wow, it's really late, I should think about going to bed soon" and I looked at the clock only to discover it was 7 p.m.

Anyway, that's about it for right now. Hopefully we'll take lots of stunningly fabulous pictures today that I can post soon (as long as our Internet connection keeps functioning, it's been awfully picky). Cheers!


Amber Hight said...

Sounds charming, just like I pictured England!! Can't wait to see some pics! Miss you!

Giffysk8s said...

Sounds a bit like my corner of the world, except for the thatched-roof cottages. We have roundabouts everywhere, lots of farms and fields (mostly apple orchards), and it gets dark EARLY at this time of year, between 4 and 4:30! After England, you'll feel right at home visiting me, though I won't speak with the super-cool British accent you are bound to adopt!

Glad you are out and about exploring. Can't wait to see pics!

CCsMom said...

We went to church this morning and, hey, guess who told us she is going to be a MIMI this summer -- Julie. So yes, Lindsey and Eddie are due to be parents in July. Wow. Julie says I can play with her grandbaby when they are in town. (Yep, always having to borrow someone else's -- sigh.) Ha! KNEW you'd LOVE that one!!! No, I'm just poking fun.

Glad to hear about your adventures. You guys are the best at rolling up your sleeves and diving in. Can't wait for a history lesson when we get over there this year sometime.

By the way, "The King's Speech" is the most excellent movie. Dad and I absolutely loved it. You'll have to see it -- and you'll laugh when you see who they've cast as Churchill. He did a wonderful job in the roll, but I kept seeing him from the other movies . . .

Love you!!! Mom