This week’s Weekly Photo Challenge prompt is ‘Signs’.
WordPress kindly let me know that Girl In A Pale Blue Dress was my 200th post, a good sign that I’m still managing to blog away.
Then I thought of the plight of my poor rambling rose: it succumbed to the first signs that our autumn is well underway as the first storm of the season brought it down, despite it having survived the vicious storms all last winter.
It went from this:
I had planned to cut it back anyway but this called for a more severe approach. Hopefully by next spring it will recover, in fact I have it by good authority (my mum) that it will.
But for now it looks like this:
Thinking then about literal signs, I thought about a few that I have taken during my various travels. This one for instance caught my eye, taken at Goodwood Festival of Speed:
If you are hungry after enjoying all that free beer – in the shed? – you can always pop over to the delightful seaside town of Budleigh Salterton in Devon and grab one of these for lunch (subject to availability of course):
If shellfish isn’t your thing, you might want to hop across the pond to California and fill up on the best burgers ever at In-N-Out…
An invigorating walk in the English countryside might be a good idea after eating all those burgers. The only problem is, which way do you go: left or right?
There is another sign that I will never forget: the one and only American stop-sign.
It didn’t take me long to get used to driving in California on the
wrong right side of the road. It took me longer to get used to the stop-signs that appeared at one intersection after another, so very different to the roundabouts we have in the UK which are designed to keep the traffic moving. That’s the plan anyway.
The constant stop/start at four-way intersections got me rattled at first, because nobody seemed to know who should go first. My father in law had the perfect solution to this: he didn’t stop at all. How he never had an accident or got pulled over I’ll never know.
One blue-sky Sunday morning with my kids piled in my car, I headed out for church. Approaching an intersection only minutes away from my destination and noticing that it was completely clear, I slowed right down at the stop sign, almost came to a stop, I say almost, then drove on.
That’s when I saw the flashing blue lights in my rear view window. But then I should have known because this particular intersection happened to be right in front of the local Police Department and I had driven on that very street a thousand times before. So I pulled over immediately and awaited my punishment. My kids, who up until that moment were creating merry mayhem, now sat in wide-eyed silence.
The police officer walked over to my window and I couldn’t help but think of Eric Estrada except this cop didn’t have a motorbike and this was no TV show. But he was wearing sunglasses. He asked for my driving license and registration which I nervously handed to him saying nothing. Then he said:
“Ma’am, do you know that you just committed a moving violation by not coming to a complete stop at the stop-sign back there?”
I gulped and felt my cheeks burn. I had driven since I was seventeen and never had so much as a speeding ticket, never mind a violation. What could I do but admit my crime? After all, I was guilty and only had myself to blame.
“Yes Officer, I do realise. I am very sorry Officer and it won’t happen again.” And then, in the best English accent I could muster in the hopes that he might think I was a foreigner and therefore didn’t know any better, I added:
“But you see Officer, we are late for church!”
He looked first at me a little aghast and then leaned in to look closer at my children, still as posts and eyes like organ stops as if for verification that I was telling the truth and I think then he had mercy on me. Standing back up he said:
“Ma’am, at this time I am only going to give you a warning but next time you make sure to come to a complete stop at a stop-sign, as not doing so is an offense with serious consequences. You have a nice day now.”
“Yes Officer, thank you Officer, absolutely Officer!”
And with that, he headed back to his car, turned off his flashing lights and drove off. I thought about giving him a little wave as he drove past but decided against it, thinking it probably wouldn’t be a good idea.
Hugely relieved and turning to the kids, I told them that all was well and not to worry, mommy wasn’t going to be hauled off to jail anytime soon. The irony wasn’t lost on me when, arriving at last at church, upon being asked if everything was okay by the door greeter, my eldest son replied, “Mom got pulled over by a cop for not stopping at a stop- sign.” Sinner that I am.
And the moral of the story is? You might be interested to read fellow blogger Nicholas’s post for that one, particularly the last paragraph. But if you do decide to drive through a stop-sign, you better make sure it isn’t right in front of the Police Department.