I have defined some of the words (underlined) in the blog post, which you can add to your Personal Dictionary. Click on the Excel icon to download the word list to your PC or mobile device, which you can thereafter import into your Personal Dictionary. They are also listed below.
Scroll down to the bottom for links to a crossword and word search using words from this post, as well a YouTube video.
Queue – A line of people or vehicles awaiting their turn
Obstacle – A thing that blocks one’s way
Screech – A loud squealing noise
Impatient – Showing a tendency to be quickly irritated or provoked
Roundabout – A road junction at which traffic moves in one direction round a central island to reach one of the roads converging on it
Traffic jam – A line or lines of stationary or very slow-moving traffic
Wacky – Funny or amusing in a slightly odd or peculiar way
Destination – The place designated as the end as of a journey
Junction – A place where two or more roads meet
Accustomed – Be used to; customary; usual
Encircles – Form a circle around; surround
Inspiration – A product of your creative thinking and work
Problematic – A thing that constitutes a problem
Scenery – The appearance of a place
Stunning – Extremely impressive or attractive
Lochs – Scottish word for lake
Vantage point – A place affording a good view of something
Scenic – Impressive views or beautiful natural scenery
What is the biggest problem most foreigners have when they visit the UK? Is it being able to get a drink, which isn’t tea or beer? Or is it being able to get on a bus or train without having to queue? Neither of those, I’m afraid. The biggest obstacle our foreign friends face when they come by ferry or through the Channel tunnel, is when they leave the port or terminal, they have to drive on the left. Panic! Cars screech to a halt, and the impatient drivers who live in The UK beep their horns loudly in amazement and frustration at the cars with the steering wheel on the wrong side.
What can be so difficult? Is it overtaking, due to the fact that you might need to lean over to look for oncoming traffic? Or is it turning right across a busy road? Or is those scary roundabouts? Yes, it’s the very scary, crazy roundabouts that seem to confuse foreign drivers. You see a line of traffic and you think, oh no, not a traffic jam. No, don’t worry, it’s just a French driver waiting for his moment. In his defence, it’s not surprising. Look at some of the wacky roundabouts we have. But none wackier than The Magic roundabout in Swindon, which is so famous, it has its own page on Wikipedia. Traffic flow around the inner circle is anticlockwise, and traffic flows in the usual clockwise manner around the five mini-roundabouts on the outer loop. Take it from me, the best tactic is to turn around and find a different way to arrive at your destination! I’m not alone: the roundabout has been voted the worst junction, in a number of road surveys. Basingstoke, in the south of England has been given the nickname of ‘Doughnut city’, because it has got so many roundabouts. Crazy.
Joking aside, with a bit of practice you will feel accustomed to driving on the left in a short time. Don’t drive too fast though, because the speed limit on the motorways is 70 mph. In most cases the motorways have got 3 lanes, some with even more, including the M25, which encircles London. This stretch of road has been named ‘Britain’s biggest car park’ and was the inspiration for Chris Rea’s hit, ‘Road to hell’. For visitors, who are used to metric measurements, should be aware that the mile is still used on the road signs.
Naturally, driving around the big cities of The UK can be problematic, but once you get out onto the open roads, on the A and B roads, the scenery in England – along the south coast, especially Dorset, Devon and Cornwall with its narrow country lanes and The Lake District in the north west, with beautiful hills and lakes is absolutely stunning. In Wales you can drive along the Black Mountain Pass and marvel at the views of the the Cambrian Mountains, which form the spine of the country. Scotland is arguably the most scenic country in the UK, and because I don’t want to argue with Scottish people, let’s just say it is! Driving through the Highlands and the around the lochs is an absolute must, once you’ve got the hang of driving on the left. In Northern Ireland the A2 from Portrush to Ballycastle is said to be one of the world’s greatest drives, with views of The Giant’s Causeway on route.
Of course, a more pleasurable way to see the four countries is to travel by coach and from your high vantage point, you can see all the beautiful scenic points on route.
I’m off for a drive right now, so I’m going to have to say goodbye. Please comment on your experiences of driving in the UK in the box below. I look forward to reading your stories.
An adaptation of this blog text was used for a YouTube video, published on 20 August 2020. Click here to watch it.
To test your knowledge, why not do a crossword puzzle, using words from this text?
Click here for instructions on how to play.
To test your knowledge, why not do a word search puzzle, using words from this text?
Click here for instructions on how to play.
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