still july 1979

After customs and other formalities him&her got on the way, the right way: on te left.
They had only be driving in Ireland for a few hours, when -of course-  there was this typical ‘drive left !!’ experience. There had to be. One bend in the road and the car seemed to direct itself to the right lane. Not very clever. A gasp, a “hou links!!” and a jolt to the left corrected things just in time.
The driver of the babyblue Ford Escort who was met (almost) head on by a red Citroen GS must have cursed those bloody silly tourists for this.
Sure it’s a well known fact that people learn from their mistakes, especially when learned the hard way.
It did not happen again. Other drivers they met on the narrow roads and lanes greeted them in the most peculiar ways: some just lifted one finger off the wheel, others shortly jerked their head. The one finger greeting was strange but funny. The jerk with the head was puzzling: in the Netherlands it would mean something like “what do you want?” or “are you looking for trouble?” Him&her started using the one finger greeting, i.e. index finger, that other one-finger-gesture did not exist in 1979. The jerk of the head was never properly mastered, neiher by him, nor by her and also never used in the Netherlands again in later years

Somewhere in Waterford -for all different reasons- the Citroen lost its way. The map wasn’t clear, there were lots of “major road works ahead” where seldom any work was being done or road signs weren’t always legible. In one of the many places this-Bally or Bally-that they parked the car beside a newsagency annex foodmarket annex bar. When asking for directions at the counter one of the customers said he’d show them “in a minute” as he was “going dungarvan ways anyway”.  Slowly he drove in front of them, very very slowly, probably thinking that lefthand driven cars must be slow by default. At some crossroads in the middle of nowhere he waved his arm out the open window and shouted: “Just go straight till you come to the bay. Good luck!”

Without any further directions they came to the bay, looked for a camping to pitch their tent and ended up in a caravan park somewhere on the coast near Dungarvan.





Indeed, a Caravan Park, so different from all the campsites and campings they had ever been to. No tents to be seen, only caravans and mobile homes, yet plenty of space for one tent, one car and one quite content couple. Delighted with themselves that they had managed to get there on the right side of the road.



4 thoughts on “still july 1979

  1. Hungry Breton (Franck)

    Haha, Brilliant! I do the index finger, the four fingers is also a thing, even quite new. Then there is the farmer’s wave, the back of the hand nearly against the glass, all fingers out! It took me a while to get the jerk right… Chin down slowly, then a quick jerk left ( or right).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. aafke Post author

    Yes, the back of the hand against the glass….i learned that one later.
    Also cleaning the inside of a steamed up windscreen with the back of the hand….such a joyous and smudgy move from the passenger in one’s car


    1. 35mm Film Shootist

      Your lucky to get a finger or nod, most don’t even bother. Soon you’ll get the ‘hazard light flash’ which I always notice comes after they’ve cut in front of your vehicle. A sort of thank you, but I think they are just being smug having cut you up.
      Don’t feel so bad about the drive on the left incident. I’m a professional driver and two days ago I still manage to forget myself in France, swiftly got over to the right and I didn’t look for the other drivers reaction.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. aafke Post author

    Thanks for looking in and also for your comment. Here’s a nod, a wave and a thumbs up…. stay on the right side and keep going!



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