This is one of the roads that leads to our house. Yes, you read that right. It's not our driveway, it's actually a ROAD. There are three ways that you can get to our village and two of them are single track roads. The traffic is two way so there are places dug into the hedges where you can pull in so that two cars can get by each other. The system works really well in the off season. Everyone knows where the passing places are, everyone knows how to reverse, and no one is very bothered about the sides of their car getting scratched.
In summertime it's another story. In the summer the population of this area multiplies massively. People drive down in brand new SUV's that they seem to have never reversed before coming to Devon. They won't get over to let people pass for fear of scratching their paint and they panic when meeting another car. It takes twice as long to get anywhere in the warmer months because you spend as much time going backwards as you do going forwards. In fact, there have been a few times I have been in the car when Mark or his Dad have gotten out and directed traffic to break up a traffic jam. People also drive really quickly - absudly quickly - and most cornering also involves a hitting of the breaks. Around here driving is an extreme sport.
I have a love-hate relationship with the hedges. They are there to keep the soil from eroding (I'm told,) they are a property boundary, they create some traffic noise control, and they provide homes for a large amount of wildlife, birds, flowers, and strange plants. Sometimes when we are pulled over waiting for another car to pass us, I can find myself inches away from a rainbow of tiny blooms peeking out of the leaves. They aren't like North American hedges. They are so old and so well established that they are a solid wall of earth and organics. In a car-hedge collision, the hedge will always win.
Secretly I don't like them very much. The part of me that loves the rolling hills and tiny villages and sea views of Devon cries out in protest as we drive by catching only glimpses through gaps in the hedge. You can drive for quite a long time along the roads with only quick flashes of countryside. It's always exciting to turn a corner because you never know what you will find. Often you find a pub. Most roads here lead to a pub!
It's funny how posts can change mid-go! I was going to answer the Friday Question today but I think as I went on I enjoyed introducing you a little more to my corner of England. While there are hedges in other places in the UK, I think that these in Devon are pretty unique. Even people who have traveled throughout the country arrive at our house surprised and a little shaken by their trip down. All I know about driving in Devon is that one of my biggest challenges has been getting up enough courage to begin to drive again. My Canadian license is good here but only for an automatic car. We have a standard car. So I have to learn to drive on the other side of the car, on the other side of the road, how to drive standard AND in a really scary place. I've taken tentative steps a few times but it just SCARES THE HELL OUT OF ME. It's the thing I am the most embarrassed about, the thing that bothers me the most, and the thing I am having the most trouble facing. *sigh*
So that's one of my challenges. By this time next year I want to be driving myself places. You heard it here first.