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English Road Signs

January 21, 2013

Recently we returned from a visit to England, where I was much amused by that country’s use of language on road signs and a few other items. I’ve learned to appreciate many parts of English life: roundabouts are brilliant, pedestrians are the rule rather than the exception, and the English seem so much more friendly and human than the “stiff upper lip” stereotype would lead you to expect.

See what you think about this amusing collection of signs.


This one is probably my favorite, even without the grinning guy. The sign is the British equivalent to, say, “speed bumps ahead.” But that’s not as much fun as “humps for 200 yards.”


Please note the really tasty advertisement for the traditional fish and chips dinner: “mushy peas.” Wouldn’t you like to try some?


For those of us getting on in years, it’s nice to know we’ve got our own warning signs.


If you look closely, you’ll note the hilarious pun on the back of this bus. Our daughter, the pun connoisseur, would be so pleased.


Something about this poor little guy getting zapped by a giant backward “N” just can’t be denied.


We were quite puzzled to see these signs, which advertised potential zebra sightings (and crossings) yet illustrated pretty odd-looking zebras. In fact, the crossings themselves, painted onto the roads, are in black and white zigzags, so they evoke a zebra look but are really warnings for pedestrian traffic.


You may hear a lot about “mind the gap” signs, but honestly this is the only one I saw. And we traveled a good bit on trains and the Tube. Go figure.


How delightfully exact and simple are these signs? Who needs to learn what “exit” means when you’ve got this much more helpful phrase?


This sign, tacked high above a light pole beside the train station, confused the bejeebers out of me at first. My grammarian self couldn’t understand what was “except for taxis and passenger set down.” And “set down”? Wha? I finally realized that the area underneath the sign was restricted from any parking except for taxis and others who are dropping off train passengers. Whew!


Apparently the British have found a new usage of “clamped” as a transitive verb that means to be set upon and rendered immovable (as a car) by big metal clamps. Imagine that!

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