It’s A Sign

I think I should have seen the signs… stop drinking NOW

When I was a child a new set of street signs came out, following one of those Commissions that are beloved of governments who give sinecures to old white males who might otherwise have opinions and voice them. My favourite was the warning of men opening umbrellas

The thing is, when my mother received her first Highway Code in 1944 there were ten road signs. The new signs above were introduced in 1985. People have tried, ever since to cut down the number but it’s like a flu epidemic. One begets another dozen. Rightly the authorities are clamping down on phone use in cars – people text while driving for pity’s sake – but even without such distractions the plethora of road signage, indeed signage generally blows your mind and makes trying to drive and exercise in multi-braining. Is it any wonder we have accidents.

However, like wallpaper music and white noise we block out these optic interferences. So more go up, more shouty, larger, with greater threats. They’re like motoring pop-ups – just bloody irritating.

a ‘make your mind up’ sign

Today I walked Dog to and around the park.

Like everyone wants this detail I love the out of hours emergency number; most likely it’s when you’re locked in making a sign facing away from the Park really useful…

I photoed a range of signs, most of which I’d walked past a hundred times or more and never consciously spotted.

Ok, so can someone explain why this sign was ten feet up a wall; do they expect a class of spidermen to want to practice here?

How many assisted me on my way, informed my journey, filled my life with wonder, added to the store of human knowledge, peace on earth and general understanding?

You couldn’t make it up. This is in a wood.

The square root of buggerall, that’s how many.

I give you the four hundred metre signage trail. Go on, tell me your favourite.

number one where I parked

Why can’t they name bridges? I am not a number. This one feels like a Arnold

let’s make our children’s lives fun shall we? Nope, let’s pander to the aged voters who get us re-elected and have forgotten what it’s like to be 12…

Peabody do good things with their social housing; first one that I can’t diss but did it have to be sooo HUGE

All sorts here but basically don’t park between 12 and 2 or it’s Β£80.

good to see the notices are bang up to date; plus I’ve hidden the list of no-nos

These terrify me; if Dog was dognapped I’d be devastated

I tried this once; the ‘testicle hammer’ isn’t for the faint hearted…

Do you find this bizarre? So you are a random person about to ‘commence work’ on a major gas installation and the Gas Authority aren’t aware of your plans. That probably means you are up to no good, yet because all British park visitors are essentially law abiding they expect you to call the emergency number…

at last, some clarity and sanity, though if you can’t find your way through the gate…

… they mark where to put your feet…

… and in season they sell stuff; I won’t knock this one – i do actually look out for it.

… unlike this one; I’m mean FUCK RIGHT OFF… please

who cares? Really. And isn’t one ‘Lottery Funded’ enough?

another board with a rather out of date award..

we, too, have an obesity crisis clearly… this is on the side of a pedestrian bridge across the ponds


to be fair I don’t think this is a sign but some sort of brain freeze my phone went through, not that I can blame it

I think we all need this by now … oh right, it’s shut…

… but there are more… phew.

I know families like these things and we wouldn’t necessarily have as many benches without them but they creep me out; like sitting on a grave

this one though is ok…

ha! Back to it; good old Lambeth. I couldn’t find the rude notice. As for whoever commissioned this, why did they think it necessary to tell us it is polite? Surely the reader is the one to decide if it is polite… how much did it cost too? *heart sinks…

This one was new to me; affixed as it was to the clock; ok, it’s basically an unnecessary piece of self aggrandisement but we’d not know much about the clock without it

said clock…

and then we come to the cutesy little railway and its dull and unnecessary health and safety ‘model trains may eat your children’ notice…

are you lost…?

just maybe you need a sign…

so, ok, this one I approve – well done Lambeth…

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published several books: a four book series following Harry Spittle as he grows from hapless student to hapless partner in a London law firm; four others in different genres; a book of poetry; four anthologies of short fiction; and a memoir of my mother. I have several more in the pipeline. I have been blogging regularly since 2014, on topic as diverse as: poetry based on famous poems; memories from my life; my garden; my dog; a whole variety of short fiction; my attempts at baking and food; travel and the consequent disasters; theatre, film and book reviews; and the occasional thought piece. Mostly it is whatever takes my fancy. I avoid politics, mostly, and religion, always. I don't mean to upset anyone but if I do, well, sorry and I suggest you go elsewhere. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
This entry was posted in dogs, Dulwich, humour, London, miscellany, thought piece and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

38 Responses to It’s A Sign

  1. gordon759 says:

    Oddly enough the main designer of the ‘new’ road signs was female and (at the time) young.

    My favourite signs of all time was one we had locally, until it was mocked by just about everybody and removed.
    A metal post bore the sign ‘This sign not in use’ and nothing else.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. trifflepudling says:

    A current mind-boggling sign near me is an ‘end of speed limit’ sign which is about 5 feet in front of one which shows ‘dangerous z-bends’ on an obviously very steep hill (the views are amazing) and ‘slow’ painted on the road.
    Are those footprints for a batwatch trail or something?!

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      I guess something like that but I couldn’t find the sign telling me….!


      • trifflepudling says:

        Enjoyed all the photos – talk about our being bombarded with information all the time! Perhaps most people don’t see them anyway as they often seem to be involved in looking at a small screen of some sort whilst walking along. Although I read some good news – drug and alcohol abuse numbers in young people have fallen dramatically and it’s thought this is because they’re very engaged with social media etc and so are less bored – excellent in that respect!

        Liked by 1 person

      • TanGental says:

        My sense has always been we underestimate the young. Let them learn as we did, with minimal interference and they’ll get there as long as we ensure they avoid a Lord of the Flies scenario.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. “Blocking out the scenery, breaking my mind”. 5 Man Electric Band.

    An ear worm that fits your post. And, don’t sign me up to live at Lambeth.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      Nope it’s a place of contrasts – oddly i work with a children’s charity htat receives a lot of financial support from Lambeth – they work hard for the areas deprived kids and then they spew out such balonney…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. globalhousesitterX2 says:

    Our most humourous sign was when driving a motorhome through the outback. For at least 1km we had large signs warning us of an approaching bend, this bend was if lucky a 5 deg one. We had just completed approx 100kms in a straight line!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ritu says:

    Love all these signs His Geoffleship! They are pointless… but entertaining!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Gives ‘Doing the Lambeth Walk’ new meaning doesn’t it. I hate when I can’t take my well behaved dog places just because someone with the power to ban them did. Of course now that it is commonly known none of us have any common sense any more, all these notices are needed in case we decide to walk on a marsh, carry an elephant over a walk way, drive blind, dress our kids in velcro and send ’em up a wall to play at spiderman or play football on a bowling green. Though to be fair the last one probably happens regularly……..

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      there’s a cafe near us, a local chain of bakery cafes witha sign on the door ‘No dogs’ Under it is an explanation: ‘we love our canine friends but as we prepare food here we aren’t allowed by law to let dogs in. You are welcome to use the garden etc.’ Which is a polite notice. Sadly it’s also bollocks. Well the law piece. As I regularly point out to the staff there is no law in the UK banning dogs from any food establishment whether there is open preparation of food or not. Of course, I emphasise, it’s their cafe and they can ban dogs if they so wish. It’s just they shouldn’t use the law as an excuse for dog hating. I’m a bit of a sign zealot, sadly. I need to get out more, but not to that cafe.


      • Interestingly I have just found out something similar here. When I first started taking Sid to the retirement home I was a bit concerned at the fact we were being based in a big open plan living/dining/kitchen area. I kept him on a lead at first, concerned with being a ‘law abiding citizen’ I didn’t want to get anyone into bother. Every visit I was urged to let him off the lead and as I saw how well he behaved, I did so eventually . Of course he soon ended up in the kitchen, ‘helping out’ by hoovering the floors as the afternoon teas were prepared. The staff would ‘Oops’ drop a little something and it would be hoovered up rapidly. (Having a dog means never having to bend down in the kitchen!) Eventually I asked if it was okay for him, Health and Safety wise, to be there and that was when I was told there were no rules against it. Another place where I had enquired about Siddy being a visiting dog had claimed ‘Health and Safety makes it impossible for us to have a dog on the premises.’ Which it turns out is bollocks! πŸ™‚

        Liked by 2 people

      • TanGental says:

        I am not happy with this canine prejudice. But I’m really unhappy with the legal bollocks…


  7. Erika Kind says:

    Gosh, you put a great collection together here. The 5t sign made me burst completely…. lol!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Charli Mills says:

    I was once in a position of power to say no to signs! I was called all sorts of names for my Don’t Ask My Team For Signs attitude. I kid you not, every day, some staff person wanted a sign for their department. I led the marketing team and actually thought about these nonsense sign requests. One department manager wanted my staff to make her a sign that read, “Don’t buy this maple syrup!” Really? Then why carry it? What I had to be was a problem solver. For every nonsensical sign you see, there is a problem. However, no one truly thinks of how to resolve the problem, instead they rely on signage. When said sign doesn’t work, or get noticed, they request more and bigger signs. I made managers talk to their staff first to resolve the problems and then have to reason how and why a sign would fix it. Sometimes, they’d go behind my back, say if an unplanned promotion happened over the weekend, another pet peeve of mine is a lack of planning. On a Monday morning I was once greeted with a large sign with wedges of Wisconsin craft cheddar and Minnesota grown apples that used the wrong font, causing several letters to disappear on the photo background. Therefore, it boldly read, World Ass Cheese. That must have boosted sales! I loathe unnecessary and unproofed signs. Ha! Thanks for sparking a rant!

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      excellent rant and I think I’ve tried that cheese, somewhere south of Cahors in France. Yes there are hugely inappropriate signs and a lot of very unsightful people making them…

      Liked by 1 person

  9. barbtaub says:

    As an American, the signs here are a never-ending source of entertainment. One I’m currently pondering is down the street from us in Glasgow.

    Liked by 2 people

    • TanGental says:

      I think my favourite was the one telling us it was a polite notice. Who thought they needed to emphasise that!! Looking forward to your perspective Barb


  10. Mary Smith says:

    Love the big yellow footprints showing where to put your feet!
    For the last few months we’ve had an infestation of signs proclaiming Diversion – but no other information so after passing one we drive on in some trepidation in case we really were supposed to head down that single lane track.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. willowdot21 says:

    Oh! The daftness of local councils and utility companies not to mention of time benefactors.πŸ€£πŸ€—

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Rowena says:

    I take this post as a sign that you are okay and weren’t in the wrong place at the wrong time. Of course, what are the chances? Yet, that’s no doubt what those who knew the victims are saying.
    I enjoyed your interesting array of signs and commentary. Now that I have received my NDIS funding and have 9 hours of cleaning per week, I’m needing to erect a few signs. Beware of Network Cabling. One of the cleaners loves turning switches off at the wall so we’ve had phones not charge and tonight the freezer was defrosting. Equally surprising, I am needing to put up a sign showing how to make mashed potato. Both Geoff and I had thought they couldn’t go wrong with that but I guess that’s why there are so many signs in this world. Some people need them.
    One last word on your signs. I would’ve appreciated that “Beware deep mud” sign today when I decided to sort out my in trays. I’m sure I don’t need to describe these dreaded storage tanks to you in any detail. However, I had a declutterer sniffing around my precious tea cups so sorting out the intrays was a lesser evil.
    I felt that I’d made quite a few changes today but did anybody notice? Any pats on the back? I guess that’s what I’m for and another interpretation of “selfie”.
    Take care and stay safe. It might actually help to read the signs!
    xx Ro

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      Thanks Ro. Yes all well here. In fact I have a personality that abhors a full intractable. Which might sound like paradise to you but remember this (a) I answer things too quickly without sufficient thought and often have to undo them and (b) I file away too soon and them am buggered where whatever letter/notice/invoice/coupon has got to. I’ve neglected visiting your blog recently. Seems like I may have been decoupled from it.


  13. I rather enjoy looking at bizarre signs. My favourites are the one that gives a traffic cone hotline number (I wonder if they talk dirty to you about cones?) and the one that tells you that old people may be crossing the road. Shouldn’t they use pedestrian crossings like the rest of us?

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.