Some Observations from an American in Wales

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jkbarnes
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Some Observations from an American in Wales

Post by jkbarnes »

We spent our first few days on the coast in Mumbles. It was beautiful! It very much reminded us of the New England coastline, and that’s good because the New England coast is the best type of coast. (And for the record, Connecticut is not New England. That state can go screw itself.)

As we drove to our place near Llangattock, I was reminded of eastern Pennsylvania. I was reluctant to say as much because I I don’t know that comparing anything to eastern Pennsylvania is a compliment. Now that we’re settled in, I can see how wrong I was. This place is nothing like eastern Pennsylvania.

A few observations:
  • the UK needs to replace God Save the King as the national anthem with Roundabout by Yes. I swear to god there’s a roundabout every mile and a half. I thought I was good with them, but this is a whole other level!
  • Driving on the left hand side of the road is not an issue. It’s the right hand drive of the car that’s throwing me for a loop. All my muscle memory is messed up.
  • One lane roads are bullsh*t! I’ve been white knuckling it across Wales. You people are crazy. People coming careening down these roads without a care in the world!
  • The Welsh accent is beautiful. The north Welsh accent might as well be a foreign language.
  • I thought I knew a lot about castles, but nothing prepares you for an actual castle. And visiting Windsor Castle doesn’t really count. It not quite the same.
  • Based on the way our tour guide was talking, the Norman conquest of Wales was what, only a hundred or so years ago? He made it sound like recent history! :lol:
This trip has been magical so far, exactly what the Mrs. and I needed and were hoping for.

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Re: Some Observations from an American in Wales

Post by jkbarnes »

Additional Observations:
  • What’s with the monstrously huge plugs?!
  • What’s up with switches on outlets?
  • Your switches are backwards. Off is on and on is off!
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Re: Some Observations from an American in Wales

Post by NationOfLaws »

UK plugs are massive but my understanding is they’re infinitely safer and more repairable than our FREEDOM PLUGS.
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Re: Some Observations from an American in Wales

Post by RichM »

jkbarnes wrote: Sat Jul 01, 2023 8:04 pm
This trip has been magical so far, exactly what the Mrs. and I needed and were hoping for.
It's so good to know your trip is doing what you wanted it to after what sounded like a stressful end to the academic year.

As for plugs, single carriageways and roundabouts I'm so used to them I so don't even notice! Often it's the "bit of string" to turn on the lights a UK bathroom that causes most concern! It must have come up before now that you should read "Notes from a Small Island" by Bill Bryson? I think you'd love it!

I'm so pleased you're enjoying your holiday.
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Re: Some Observations from an American in Wales

Post by JAFO »

I saw elsewhere comments from an American that you don't have many roundabouts. it could have been worse. It could be like it is in France, priorite a droite, where traffic joining the roundabout, and joining main roads have priority. (Priority on the right) It's fair to say that modern signage and road markings now override this.

One lane roads reflect a calmer age where horses were the rule rather than the exception, I think. Cornwall and Devon are similar. Don't you have these in rural communities in the US, maybe like Hazzard county, or more likely Amish areas?

Glad you're enjoying your vacation. :D

PS are you visiting Llareggub? I've never been myself.
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Re: Some Observations from an American in Wales

Post by JAFO »

Re the pull cords in bathrooms. UK safety regulations don't allow wired sockets in bathrooms, so lights and heaters have pull cords.

Also our electric plugs have 3 pins to include an earth connection for safety, although some appliances may not actually be earthed at all. The larger pin is the earth.
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Re: Some Observations from an American in Wales

Post by JAFO »

Re single track roads. Some rural roads go through farming areas, and may be gated, where you have to open a gate yourself to enter the area when driving. Generally there also will be a metal cattle grid, which dissuades cattle from trying to approach the gate

If you visit castles, or more likely stately homes, pastureland for deer can curve steeply at the edges to form a ditch, to stop the deer accessing or straying into residential areas/gardens. This sort of ditch is called a ha-ha
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Re: Some Observations from an American in Wales

Post by nbg »

Pleased to hear you are enjoying yourselfs.

If you think that Welsh single track roads are difficult - best avoid the lanes of Devon and Cornwall. Particularly during the summer.

Although it is the tourists that generally cause chaos…

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Re: Some Observations from an American in Wales

Post by missF »

Proper castles are brilliant Drew! There’s one on Westray, a northern island in the Orkneys which are a group of islands off the north coast of Scotland. You call in at the farmhouse across the road and say hello and are given the key to the castle to go and let yourself in :D
There’s another fairly ruined castle in north east Scotland where the floor in the main hall slopes away from you. If you run towards the far wall too fast you’d fall through a maw in the floor to be dumped at the bottom of the cliffs in the sea :thumbup:

Single track roads are to savour 😂
I lived in Devon for a while and used to go running on single track roads with 8ft hedges cut like walls on each side. I had to keep crossing and recrossing the road at corners to make sure I was as visible to oncoming cars as early as possible :lol:
In remote Scotland you’re more likely to have to stop while a herd of sheep move past you.

Glad you’re having such a good time :D
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Re: Some Observations from an American in Wales

Post by jkbarnes »

RichM wrote: Sat Jul 01, 2023 9:15 pm It must have come up before now that you should read "Notes from a Small Island" by Bill Bryson? I think you'd love it!
It’s a favorite of mine!
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Re: Some Observations from an American in Wales

Post by jkbarnes »

JAFO wrote: Sat Jul 01, 2023 9:21 pm I saw elsewhere comments from an American that you don't have many roundabouts.

….Don't you have these in rural communities in the US, maybe like Hazzard county, or more likely Amish areas?
We don’t have too many where I live but they’re increasingly cropping up. There’s an absolutely bunkers one just over the bridge on Cape Cod where my wife is from. Trial by fire if you’ve never driven a roundabout before!

As for one lane roads, not so much in the suburban hell I call home. As you point out, they’re to be found in far more rural areas, and are likely unpaved. Back when my county was still fairly rural there was a dirt road that if you drove down, they might shoot at your car if they didn’t recognize it! :shock: That’s no lie! The police didn’t even head down that way.
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Re: Some Observations from an American in Wales

Post by jkbarnes »

JAFO wrote: Sat Jul 01, 2023 9:34 pm
Generally there also will be a metal cattle grid, which dissuades cattle from trying to approach the gate

If you visit castles, or more likely stately homes, pastureland for deer can curve steeply at the edges to form a ditch, to stop the deer accessing or straying into residential areas/gardens. This sort of ditch is called a ha-ha
With the place we’re staying in now, the directions referenced a cattle grid. I had to email the owner to ask what that was!

As for the ditch around stately homes, some plantations in Virginia had that. It’s particularly noticeable at Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello. They don’t call them ha-has though!
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Re: Some Observations from an American in Wales

Post by jkbarnes »

missF wrote: Sat Jul 01, 2023 10:08 pm In remote Scotland you’re more likely to have to stop while a herd of sheep move past you.

Glad you’re having such a good time :D
We had to do that today! It was not quite a herd though, maybe just three or four. My wife was in heaven!
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Re: Some Observations from an American in Wales

Post by jkbarnes »

Additional thought:

Electric kettles are brilliant! We’ll definitely be getting one when we get home!
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Re: Some Observations from an American in Wales

Post by Bahnstormer_vRS »

@jkbarnes - Roundabout by Yes; a classic track. One of their best; I don't listen to it often enough.

Great to hear all is well with your holiday Drew. Good also to see & hear you're chilling out, even looking like you're going for a 'full set'. :wink: :wink:

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