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Roadkill and Other Metrics

Posted by on May 5, 2012

We have done a lot of driving both at home in Oz, NZ and now in the UK, and as a driver you work on ways to keep your mind busy.

In Wales it was easy, the road signs were all in Welsh first and then English second, sometimes. I wish I had done some research beforehand on the Welsh alphabet and pronunciation because places that have names without vowels are confusing at best, but even the simplest of things is a mouthful of ll, f, w, dd and the like. After meeting the locals, with a little bit of vocal coaching, we realized the collection of letters had gutterals and new ‘vowel’ sounds that make a sort of sense but because Welsh pre-dates most other languages, the sentence and word construction is beyond my puny brain to understand.

Roadkill can be an interesting metric of a place. One of my ‘stay awake and alert’ tricks is to look for it and identify it if not too mangled (and hopefully not cause it). To date in the UK we have seen a load of hedgehogs (none live yet tho, sadly), a couple of pheasants (and three now live), a small deer, a couple of badgers (thankfully none of these live as they are about as good tempered as a tassie devil), a bunch of rabbits (and a bunch that got out of the road of the car quick enough), a swan (out of interest, a swan explodes when hit by a car – imagine grisly pillow fight and you get the picture), some ducks and a bunch of unidentifiable flat things. A lot of the roads we have travelled on have been bordered by hedges or impenetrable stone walls, so I guess if wildlife gets caught on the road, getting out of the way is relatively trickey.

In general, the roads have been fairly well maintained, but I think there is a ‘stealth’ setting on our SatNav that gets Plastic Patsy to find the most obscure route from A to B because we have been sent on some terrifying but in the end fantastic journeys down country lanes, up goat tracks and have as a result seen a lot of rural life, which is wonderful really. Plunging into a hedgerow is no longer terrifying, meeting a tractor (or worse, half a house being transported down a barely single lane road, yes, this happened to us) is an interesting challenge. We have figured our car has a sign on it somewhere that says ‘out of towner’ on it so the locals have been extremely accommodating of our panic and dithering.

So glad we chose to drive a large slab of our trip, you see more and have a good degree of control when you do, so long as you do not pay too much attention to the fuel costs.

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