We English can leave people from other countries bemused at our eccentricity, especially when it comes to hobbies. As far as I know we are the only country with plane spotters and every now and again a group of English devotees gets put on trial somewhere for spying, principally because the authorities can't believe that their hobby exists. Last time was in Greece.
But this beats all: there is an English society dedicated to their great love in life - the traffic roundabout. In this Radio4 programme some very elaborate and supposedly beautiful traffic roundabouts are visited and from a high vantage point the reporter does say that it is just like a ballet with cars coming from all directions, but I note that he declines the invitation to join the society at the end of the programe:
Go to: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/factual/
Scroll down "LISTEN TO THE LATEST PROGRAMMES"
At "Routemasters", click on "Listen" This will only be available until 25th May
Want to be reminded of the wonders of British roundabouts in your home? Why not buy a Roundabout calendar:
<img src="http://www.roundaboutsofredditch.co.uk/images/swindon-cover.jpg" alt="" />
The BBC Radio Swindon website enthuses:
Swindon's most famous feature the Magic Roundabout is of course December's pin-up and is hailed as "a feat of engineering" whilst a mini version outside Swindon College is referred to as "a cheeky little blighter."
Also photographed are the four Bruce Street Bridge Roundabouts which apparently look especially good set against the back drop of the gas works.
And here is a detailed shot of the King of them all, as featured in the Radio4 programme. We proudly present - Swindon's Magic Roundabout. Could a choreographer come up with such an elaborate and symmetrical use of space?
<img src="http://www.netcyclo.com/places/polit/nations/uk/contries/england/regions/southwst/counties/swindon/magicrdb/mraerial.jpg" alt="" />
Note that in the outer mini-roundabouts the cars go clockwise, but in the central area, they go anti-clockwise, the "wrong" direction in England. Stop it Sweeney - you'll be joining their club soon.
So next time you're in England, don't go to places like York and Canterbury to see cathedrals, go to Swindon or Redditch for the roundabouts.
<small>[ 19 May 2004, 04:36 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>