See Also: Paint Drying

Excitement in the village, where they speak of nothing else* – we have a traffic light. Admittedly not a permanent one, but this week we have had road works going on that have narrowed the only real street to a single carriageway and they’ve put in some temporary lights while they work. It’s a bit of overkill, to be honest, because the road leading to the village is no wider than the bit they’ve installed the traffic lights for and besides you can see if anything’s coming the other way, but I assume they have a set of rules somewhere about putting in temporary traffic lights – or perhaps just a spare set of temporary traffic lights – so that’s what we’ve got.

As far as I can tell, they appear to sit there on red until something (generally me) approaches and then they immediately turn green which is very satisfying if you’ve ever found yourself on a bike at a traffic light wondering if the loop thing is ever going to detect you or if you’re going to have to sit there until darkness falls. They go green even when the workmen have the entire street filled up with their mini digger thing, and they also seem to go green to anyone coming the other way regardless of whether they’ve just gone green for me and I’m still making my way through – I assume they’re just on some sort of a timer and don’t wait for the road to clear before giving the other side the green (which was probably a good thing this morning because I was just cycling through when I had to stop and go and inspect progress in an acquaintance’s veg garden. It takes time to properly appreciate someone else’s beetroot, leeks, tatties, courgettes, mangetout peas and kale, and it might have been a long wait for anyone coming the other way…).

In short, as traffic lights, they’re not particularly useful, but I suppose they do serve as a sort of mechanical safety chicken to slow people down on the run in to the village which is nice. And I shall rather miss the momentary sensation of power I get as the lights change the minute I approach. Of course, given that the last time I passed the workmen were all sitting in their wee cabin thing drinking tea, we might be enjoying them for a while.

Reading this through again, I realise it’s a sure sign that you have spent too long in the country when you’re actually pleased to see a traffic light…

*oh all right, not really


2 Responses to See Also: Paint Drying

  1. John Gibson says:

    I have just come into work. On the way while I waited at the lights by Oxford station, there were two others waiting on their bikes. I just knew they would not wait for the lights to change, and sure enough they went on the red. This is no surprise in Oxford, but when I passed them further up the road, I saw that they were in their sixties.
    It is more common to be someone a lot younger.

  2. disgruntled says:

    you’d have to be quick to run this red light!

    Fairly typical of RLJers that you ended up overtaking them anyway

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