The drive in English countryside is very comfortable. I already told one of the the reasons in the chapter Roundabout.There might be a lot of factors, I think. I will try to think of others.


Keep LeftERight-hand Drive

My driving depends on this premise, of course. My first driving abroad was when I was fifty-five. It was too late to master keeping right rule and left-hand drive.


The driving in the countryside is easy for me because of good maintenance of the roads. There are three type of roads, MEAEB.
M is a l iExpress way in Japan). It is distinguished by single or double figures after M. For example MPA MSO. You will find on the map that the network of the motorway covers the whole country. Besides it free.
A is a main road (National road in Japan). It is distinguished by single, double, three and four figures after A. I heard that small figure was Mainer, but it is not necessarily main. There are various roads in type A. On one hand it has two lanes in each direction with central reservation, but on the other hand, it has only single file. Any way it corresponds with the traffic density.iThere's a view that long distance way between two shires has single figure.)
B is a region road (Prefecture road EMunicipal road in Japan) It is distinguished by four figures after B. It is explicit instructions even if it's short distance.
I had never been tired of the driving on the road because of their moderate slope and undulation. Occasionally, I'm surprised of its straight length and sudden up and down as a jet-coaster in Japan.A Of course that's fun!
All roads except in the above are named Avenue, Street, Lane and others. Sometimes the changing of the name confuses drivers all of a sudden. You will find the road while you have a short walk in a small village. Always you had better to carry a map.

horse ambling

Limited speed

I don't understand the limited speed in England clearly. I found a lot of opinions in the internet. I adopt the rule, which is convenient for me.
M road and A road with two lanes in each direction \\\ 70mile/houri112km/hourj
` roadione lane in each direction )@ \\\ 60mile/houri 96km/hour)j
a road \\\ 30mile/houri48km/hourj
Most of English driver, however, enjoy the speed. It looks like that there are few people to keep the limited speed. I think that people would change themselves into the speed freaks when they are driving. What fun! Though I become the freak as English driver on the motorway because I love speed driving. There seems to be the regulation of traffic from the helicopter. I have found the comment in the website that your maximum speed 100 mile/h would be all right. That fun! My limited speed is just the same.

release of regulation

I am impressed that all of English drivers always keep their speed in 30`40mile/h when they are passing through a town or a village. They draw a sharp line about the driving speed and others between own risk and keeping the rule. I love it.
As soon as they look the traffic sign of the releaseiblack oblique on the circleEEEI spent much time to understand it.j they certainly accelerate their cars. iJust to make sure keeping the rule because I have heard a car had been caught speeding over only 10%.)

Traffic signal

traffic signal for cows

The traffic signals are rarely seen in countryside. There are roundabouts instead of that. If I could find the signal, the interval is very short. When pedestrians walk across the crossing slowly, the signal turns red immediately. As it changes so fast that we don't have any stress there.
There is a difference in the procedure of signal between England and Japan. Blue Yellow Red Those are the same. Different point is Red Yellow Blue. We can prepare for the starting on the yellow signal. I think that both of them are rational system for reducing futile interception of the traffic.
On the other hand there is a traffic signal for cows on the road A.
I hope to see the traffic moving some day.
We can drive smooth in the countryside as there are few signals. It's nice.

Traffic sign

I seldom watch the traffic signs in the countryside. They are minimized. Therefore they have accuracy. You won't be able to turn the corner without reducing your speed when you watch the sign "Slow". Inevitably, you will follow the sign. Every sign is very plain with pictures, figures and letters. We can understand all signposts as soon as we look at, because they are unified in their shape and color. The signposts for tourist are painted white letters on the brown board. The signposts of National Trust are always helpful for us.
Though they are minimized, too. The signposts at the junction and at the roundabouts are seasoned wit and humor. They always give us a comfortable drive.


We rarely see the signpost "STOP" in England. Instead of that we can see the signpost "GIVE WAY". That meansEEoncoming car has priority give the way. If there isn't any car on your road ahead, you don't have to stop even if at the roundabout.@ As a result we can always drive smoothly. It's pleasure.
The signpost of speed camera is only one eyesore thing. I wonder if there are so many cameras whenever I pass along. Is this an inclination lately? Perhaps it will make me control safely.


It is truly said that English people have a good manner. They often give me the way. At that time he makes a slight bow. I feel him smart. They raise their one hand, which is on the steering wheel toward me with a smile. They're smart.
I've never experienced to be glared at when I met another car on the narrow road in countryside. As soon as he reverses his car when he watches my car even if my car is far away yet. And then he makes a sight bow. That's fine. I do the same contagiously.
I've rarely heard the horn in England, too. They've never fan and threaten with the horn. Of course we need the horn to escape from the danger. Occasionally we ask the direction when we lost our way. They show us the direction kindly and often lead us to the corner we can understand. It's pleasure for us.


Lately people necessarily have a car in England, too. There are enough parking lots. In the countryside we often meet the system "Pay and Display". After you park your car you will find the sign board "Pay Here". Below the board there is a small ticket machine. You buy a ticket for your need and display in your car.iYou should display the ticket, which is noticed the limited time from the outside.j
Please read the caution before you get the ticket. For exampleEEafterPWFfreeEESunday: free etc.
Before then, you have to pay attention to select the parking because there are two types for long stay and short stay. Short stay means within about three hours. If you need more hours you had better to select long stay.
I've failed in the selection once. I had bought a three hours ticket (We had bought the longest ticket at that machine without reading the caution and had displayed and had gone away.) When we returned to the parking there was an envelope, which made me feel a premonition of tragedy on the window. It told me to pay 70 for the penalty of the overtime in this short stay parking. "Was this parking for the short stay?" "Ah" "It's just worth delicious dinner in the hotelh. We had to pay the penalty, of course. i As we asked the host of aa to examine the way of the payment, he taught us that it would be reduced half fine within a week. So, we depended on him.j
A Private enterprise is entrusted from the police to expose the violation of the parking. They always watch the parking because the expose of the overtime is piecework for them. Please be careful!
There was a Pay & Display machine in a parking of supermarket. It's very lucky to find the parking free. Though It's difficult to find free parking in the tourist attraction, we can easily find it in the countryside. That would be welcome. Anyway I 've never waited in line for the parking.
I love it.


In England people say gasoline petrol. There are some petrol stations (filling station) in the appropriate space along The Road M and A.
People have to refuel by themselves. First, you stop your car beside the vacant pump machine and unscrew open the cap of petrol tank of your car. Second, you choose the nozzle "Unleaded" (It's green). After you insert the nozzle into your petrol tank, grasp the lever hard and petrol will flow out. When your tank is filled with petrol the machine stops at the same time automatically. You should screw the cap firmly. Then, you confirm your pump number and the consumption of petrol. You have to go into the shop. "Pump number ,Please" That's ok.
I enjoy self-filling.
A petrol station is like a convenient store in Japan. We can buy a pot of mineral water, some shortbreads, newspaper, weekly magazine and chocolate there. Incidentally you had better to use toilet there. The cost of the petrol is far higher compared with in Japan. It's cost about 85 pence/liter. ( June 2004 ) In this time one liter is 180yen in price because of the depreciation of the yen.
We have to accept the comparatively high cost instead of free toll in the whole country.

The A A & Multimap

This is the most useful website supporting my drive in the countryside.
u s@`` v The Automobile Association
There are some differences between The AA and The JAF about the history and the substances of service. The JAF was established in 1962 as compared with The AA, which was organized in 1905.
"Route Planner " is the most valuable website for me in AA. According to my instruction of the departure point, the destination and via places, it shows me the route plan. It teaches me the section distance, total distance, route and directions.
In the route item there are all of the road number. In the direction item there are place-names we will pass through and some landmarks.
The indication of the direction at roundabout and junction is very polite. It makes me pleased.
On the planning of my first drive in the country side I found the map with a scale of one to 50,000 at Visit Britain in Akasaka and copied a lot of it. After a long consideration I made a route plan and marked on it.
Shortly afterward I fond the Route Planner and I was astonished. Though I had selected the best route, The AA showed me quite another route. As a result of my examination, route AA was better than mine. I entirely have been dependent on The Route Planner ever since.
Besides I get a lot of information about accommodations and restaurants in the gWhere to stay" and "Where to eat".(every area) Accommodations are given rankings according to the five-grade evaluation. I usually select it four or five stars. I've almost been satisfied every time.
We had a dinner in the restaurant, which had got the "Seafood Restaurant Awards" in "AA Hospitality Awards" in 2004. We had been the pubs, which had got the "Pub of the Year". The results met our expectations.
It's happy.


u l v is the website not only about England but all over The Europe. When you input the street or the town or the post cord (zip code), you can see the map of your demand. You can choose the most likely size map in thirteen levels from a scale of one to 40,000,000 to a scale of one to 5,000.
It's very useful.
If I have only a map with a scale of one to 50,000, I am uneasy when I go through a large roundabout and a junction. If I can extend the map, I will be able to simulate driving and to comprehend some points on that map. I set my mind at rest.
I'll grasp the detail of the name and number of a narrow street in a large town if I have a map with a scale of one to 10,000. It's convenient!
Using this website I tried to do interesting thing. I saw the aerial color photograph of the town.iIt was very spectacular.)
For example, I can compare The Stonehenge with The Stone circle in Avebury. Just imagining of the view of sparkling wave of@Land's End thrilled me. It's exciting. Land's end


In England I love the beautiful sceneries most of all. A gentle slope of Cotswold hills EA vast extend of Salisbury Plain E Beautiful green mountains in Peak District E The shining surface of lakes in Lake District E An irregular coastline seaboard in Cornwall E Wild wide Moor E The broads in East Anglia E Flocks of sheep and herd of cows feeding fresh green E A row of houses in Kent E Wide view from the Motor WayE@T always deeply fascinated with all of them. We can have a wide view every place in England. There seldom are soundproof walls along the motorway and guardrails along other roads. We rarely see a telegraph pole and a signboard. The traffic sign is so least that the signboard is rarely seen in the countryside. These are the same in a village or a town. As a result of this control every town looks very beautiful. I love it. It makes me pleased.

view of evergreen from the car window view from the car window riding a row of the house and street from the car window


The distance is written by mile m on the traffic sign board. My respectable navigator sometimes bother me to say "We will have the exit in one meter" as she was looking at theu Junction 1 m@v. "Don't make me surprise! I'm driving road M now. Our present speed is over 80mile/h . It's impossible to get off the road in one meter ". Please don't mistake one mile for one meter. I'm beaten.
We can convert the mile of the Route Planner in AA into kilometer. I prefer kilometer expression because of my realization. One day my respectable navigator told me that you had to turn left at the junction 3 kilometers ahead. While I was driving, I had been watching the display screen in my car. But actually, I turned left in a hurry at the junction only 2 kilometers ahead. After I had experienced several times like that, I noticed that the distance was written in mile on my display screen. I'll never tease my wife in the future.

International driving license

international driving permit

International driving license is issued for everyone easily.
The official name is international driving permit.
At first I wondered if there was any examination about the traffic rules in the foreign country. But everyone needs nothing without one's driving license, passport and picture, which are taken recently. The service charge cost 2,650yen. You can get it at the driving test office or the designated police office. The term of validity is one year. It takes only half an hour to have the license. I could drive in England in June 2004 with the international driving license, which I had got in July 2003. It was my profit.


I usually make a reservation on the internet on Hertz in Japan, and I rent a car at Heathrow. Outside the terminal 3 at the Heathrow airport there is the bus stop for Hertz office. There are some bus stops for other ret-a-car offices nearby. It is not long before the yellow bus (Hertz color) comes and a muscular driver picks up our heavy luggage easily. Once, I said to him "Please be careful, it's heavy ". He answered "This isn't so heavy as my wife". His warm personality made us pleasant.
The bus went to the terminal one, two and arrived the vast extend Hertz office in less than ten minutes. Usually I seldom see a customer in that office though there are an awful lot of cars in that parking. It's strange.
In the June 2004 five groups were standing in line in front of the counter. But two clerks kept the pace slowly talking on the phone or searching something on the computer.
All the time we had to be waiting for our turn while we were watching travelers and the sight out of windows.
I think the time is valuable for adjusting of our thinking in England. It's important.

Hertz Rent-a-car

We always make full insurance there. After the necessary steps are all taken, I check all the part of how it works. If you meet a new type of car which you havenft driven before, you should make sure every switch in your car. For example, how to change into the back gear, how to open the cap of petrol and the boot, which is the light, how to switch the beam etcEEE In Japan a car has a winker lever on the left, but on the contrary it has on the right in England. I accustomed to the roundabout at once, but I still mistake the lever. I only drive about ten times in Japan as I don't have a car. Lately my total hour of driving in England is longer than in Japan, but I sometimes move the winker instead of the wiper hastily. I usually spend time at the wide Hertz parking like this.
Let's drive safely and happily this year, too.@@@