"Comedy always works best when it is mean-spirited" - John Cleese

Author John Corby also writes as "Bulldogge" for the British Canadian newspaper.

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Monday, July 28, 2008

Driving in Britain

A Canadian friend of mine, who should have known better, incurred the wrath of a British lorry driver during our recent trip to the UK. It seems that Canadians driving in Britain have to learn to adapt to a lot more than just driving on the wrong side of the road.

My erring friend (we'll call her "Bonnie" - not her real name) was in the lead vehicle of the convoy of rented cars in which our group was travelling. She was navigating our route with the aid of a "sat nav". In Britain, GPS devices are usually called "sat nav" (satellite navigation).

As we reached each roundabout on our route she would extend her arm from the car window and indicate which exit we should take by holding up the appropriate number of fingers. You can probably guess where this story is leading.

Somewhere, on a major route in the heart of England the voice on the sat nav called for the second exit at the next roundabout. Bonnie dutifully wound down the window, stretched out her arm and signalled the second exit with her fingers.

A lorry had managed to get in the middle of the convoy, directly behind Bonnie's car. Upon seeing Bonnie's signal, the lorry driver moved his vehicle to within inches of Bonnie's rear bumper, leaned on his horn to attract her attention and returned her "2nd exit" signal with great vigour.

An explanation for non-Brits:
- A "lorry" is a British transport truck also known as an "HGV" (Heavy Goods Vehicle). Lorry drivers are not reknowned for their patience, courtesy and consideration for other road users.
- Gestures involving the display of extended fingers are always dangerous. In Britain gesturing with the forefinger and second finger is considered particularly offensive.

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