Saturday, March 31, 2012

Walter in London: A Saturday Snapshot
















This is one of my favourite pictures of my father.
A street bench in London, England -- enjoying a ciggy. This was taken by my brother when they went there together on a business trip many [and I mean many] years ago.
I've always liked the urban feel of this picture -- the busyness -- and my dad, who was more of a "country" sort of person, plunked down in the middle of that bustle.
At heart, we are a small town prairie-raised family. My father relocated us to the city in the early '70's and became a very successful business man, but his roots are on farmland.
He passed away just before the New Millennium, and I miss him dearly. He was the kind of man that makes me proud of my middle name, for it is his first name.
I've always wondered what the sign in the background means. If you click on the picture and enlarge it you may be able to solve the riddle for me.
Since this seems like a one-way street going in the other direction, I've ruled out "No Right-Hand Turn" and have concluded that in this particular part of London it is illegal to try and bend straight lines in half. Any theories?


Thank you, Alyce -- for hosting this terrific Saturday Snapshot meme @ At Home With Books.

24 comments:

Cathy said...

What a wonderful "slice of life" photo! I'm so glad you shared it with us. I'm not sure what that sign means either, but I'll try to remember to ask my British husband when he gets home from work!

Trish said...

What a great vintage photo. I love how European cities are more pedestrian friendly than most North American cities.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

That is a great memory photo of your dad. Love the busy background too.

Lisa@ButteryBooks said...

What a wonderful picture. Love the contrast between the bustling city and the "country boy". Not sure about the sign.

Kaye said...

Looks like your Dad found his own little space of quiet among the hustle-bustle of the city.

Beth said...

I remember you previously posting this picture of your father. Great shot of a man feeling comfortable, relaxed and enjoying himself in a different country.

Haven’t a clue about that sign. I nearly killed myself (many times) crossing streets while in London. Signs didn’t help – I was always confused. Finally ended up crossing only with a crowd.

Kay said...

I love this picture. Such a nice bustle to the street scene and your Dad looks like he's just taking it all in. I wouldn't have a clue about the sign, but I do think it's interesting that it face the opposite direction of the traffic. I mean, who could see it?

Isabella said...

Great name, Walter. Solid.

I think you're right about no right turn, but wrong about it being a one-way street. You just can't see the other lane (they drive on the left, remember), cuz all the traffic's going the other way. Which makes no right turn a very sensible policy.

Staci said...

He looks very relaxed and quite at home right there! I would say that sign means no right hand turn too!! At least here in the States that is what it means!

Creations by Laurel-Rain Snow said...

The shot captures a moment in time, doesn't it? And he does look like he's not quite a part of the hustle and bustle.

It's the kind of shot that tells a story. Thanks for sharing.

Here's MY SATURDAY SNAPSHOT

Susan Lindquist said...

I love older snaps, as it's always fun to look at clothing styles, different cars, the signage and products advertised ... it's a peek at a lot more than the obvious ... I also love seeing how our loved ones and friends have changed over time ... your Dad looks so relaxed - just people-watching and passing the time in a quiet spot with the world rushing by on all sides.

Peppermint Ph.D. said...

Like Susan, I love looking at all the qualities of older photos...the tint, the clothes, the hairstyles, shoes, products, etc...your photo is one that someone could look at for hours just analyzing all the people, signs, happenings etc. :) No clue about the sign...I just returned from Ireland and I would never even attempt to drive there.

Kim said...

This is a great photo in so many ways! I love the coloring of, and after looking at it for awhile, I am guessing it was taken in the 80's maybe--based on the clothing styles? Even though it is a busy city street, it just has a feel of a European city, not one from the states. I also found myself looking the other people in the photo and wondering what has happened in their lives since then. And the baby? How old is she now?
I can see why you treasure this picture!
*smiles*

Alyce said...

That is a terrific capture of the bustle and your dad sitting in the middle of it.

As for the sign, my guess would be that it is set at an angle at the intersection to the right (out of sight) letting people know that they can't turn right because it's a one way street. If it's not that then who knows.

Leslie said...

I love the action in that shot, a moment frozen in time.

Eva @View from the Hillside said...

Wonderful photo. I love the crowds.
I think the sign means no right turn, and that it really is a two way street, just that there's no car going that way just then. It's always so confusing for us from driving-on-the-right-hand-countries to look at traffic in left-driving countries.
I did drive in Australia almost 20 years ago. It required a lot of concentration, but I didn't bump into anything. My biggest problem ended up being constantly turning on the windshield wipers every time I wanted to turn on the indicator lights ;-)

bermudaonion said...

That's a fantastic photo - I can see why you treasure it.

sim@chapter1-take1 said...

I had such fun with your photo! First I was struck by your dad having a "ciggy" a word my British parents both used for cigarette and we kids picked up. I don't think its used too much here in the states.
Feeling a bit like Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon tattoo, I blew up your photo. You can see THE HMV record shop (His Masters Voice) which according to my research is still located at 363 Oxford street. It is a two way street and probably one of the most popular shopping streets in London, right?
The sign definitely means no right turn according to this UK Road Signs manual. http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roads/tss/trafficsigns.pdf
THANK YOU for enabling me to have such a great time. I took an amazing journey through London and time.

Louise said...

Yes a lovely memory of your Dad. I too think that it's a two way street and there just isn't any traffic on the other side. If that isn't the answer it doesn't make any sense to me either.

gautami tripathy said...

Such a gorgeous photograph!

Here is my Saturday Snapshot post!

Pooch said...

Fantastic action pic! You can see all the activity and movement around your relaxing father: the traffic, people walking, the baby's head turning. Beautiful shot!

The sign? Do not bend your licorice stick.

;)

theairportswaythatway said...

This picture is super awesome. I'm sure your dad was an awesome guy. Because, well, YOU are. Judging by the style of the people on the streets - this picture was taken in the '80s? :)

Anonymous said...

Obviously he was suffering what I refer to as perogie ear. The universal " don't sign" warns of what can happen if you bend over in England. Man don't do it. Don't bend over!

Cathy said...

Others have already told you that it is, indeed, a No Right Turn sign. There's just so much traffic heading in the opposite direction that the sign becomes confusing. Plus narrow streets, parked cars, etc. often turns driving on UK city streets into a crapshoot. (I know this from experience.) Thank heavens the UK has some of the most polite drivers it's been my pleasure to meet coming from the other direction!

I also had to laugh at Beth's comment. Going to the UK for the first time with my British husband, I was so glad that he told me (rather emphatically) that pedestrians don't have the right-of-way in England; cars won't stop for them; and never, ever expect a car to stop (or slow down) just because you've stepped out into the street. That little piece of advice came in very handy while we were walking to Durham Cathedral!