Signs of the times

August 13, 2012



Signs can be a real irritant. London’s Kensington High Street recently had a purge of its excess signs and pedestrian barriers and, as a result, is so much kinder on the eye.

On the other hand, signs can also raise an unexpected smile.  Here are four that I’ve spotted in the last few months that made me stop, smile and shoot a quick photograph:

Mashantuket Pequot Museum, Connecticut, New England, USA:  Unfortunately there were seemingly no signs at all to help direct the driver to this much-recommended museum.  We fought our way there, overshot it, found our way back – the road system in America can be annoyingly bereft of useful road signs – and finally reached the car park.  We wondered why it seemed so little used.  Arriving at the entrance, a small notice told us that the museum was currently shut on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays… What a pity!  It’s evidently an excellent museum that records the history of this small Native American tribe and I had hoped to see it with my husband.  Small bonus on the way back to the car: this sign…

Lanercost Priory, Cumbria, UK:  We spotted an impressive series of buildings as we drove down country lanes – following the remains of Hadrian’s Wall – after a recent conference in Carlisle.  Established in 1166 by Henry II, and now run by English Heritage, the church door at Lanercost Priory sported the well-weathered sign in the photograph to the left.  We saw no evidence of cows in the vicinity, but they are obviously tough northern beasties if they can eat car aerials and mirrors without urgent need of veterinary attention.

Dorset, UK:  After a pleasant night’s sojourn at the riverside Priory Hotel, Wareham, and a relaxing morning stroll around its glorious four acres of carefully-tended gardens, we set off towards Corfe Castle and the chain ferry at Studland Bay.   A couple of miles down the road, I caught sight of this sign (below) as we pottered past.  I wasn’t sure if I’d read it correctly, so we turned around to take a second look.  It did indeed say:  Melancholy Lane – No Through Road.  Even the sign itself was somewhat battered and melancholy; truly the end of the road in terms of appearance. 

Lastly, the sign below – spotted in France on a long drive back to Normandy last year – made me giggle.

(Sue Ockwell)