Single Lane Cornish Hedgerow Streets

Driving in the UK is actually not as scary as I had imagined. By the third day, I skillfully and cheerfully manipulated the single-lane hedgerow streets. These really should be called paths. As my daughter said, these are as wide as the bike paths we use in Minnesota.

But everyone was friendly and smiling, and we never had any incident. I knew when to break and wait, and also took charge when it seemed it was I who needed to go first. After the pass, there was always this friendly wave from driver to driver.

Still, the second  day driving from Port Isaac to Padstow where we were staying, we had lost track of the handwritten map our hostess had written for us, so we temporarily were relying on Google offline maps. Of course, Google wanted us to get to Padstow as fast as we could. This meant driving these single car-width hedgerow streets. My daughter instructed me to turn left, and at first it seemed to be a fairly wide lane, in English terms. But having driven fifty yards or more the road turned and we saw it was tall hedges on either side and only room for one car.

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I panicked. The adrenaline soared through my body, and I said, “I cannot do this.” A car appeared heading toward us. It was a Beamer. Veering to the left as far as possible, and sure enough, the lady was waving and smiling, and she made it past us without incident. I couldn’t believe it – there was absolutely no room!

I immediately started backing up. We reached the turn, which wasn’t far and I backed around the turn. I noticed a wider part of this street and thought I could turn around there.

As soon as I started turning a car appeared. Cora yelled out. Although I also panicked for a second, I figured they would just have to wait, which they did. I cheerfully waved them on and turned onto the main road.

We found the little handwritten map under my bum and made it home without having to drive these hedge streets until the next day when I felt ready.

After driving these, I felt like the other streets were wide highways.

Click here to see a video of one of our hedgerow drives. And here is one more.


My First Driving Experience in the UK

“Now I have tomorrow behind me,” I said, now having driven in the UK.

I was extremely exhausted after our harrowing eight-hour trip (supposed to be 5-1/4) from London. We drove in an hour-long traffic jam. We drove through roundabouts. Maybe only three times did I slam on the breaks so hard because cars came up so suddenly. This sent, of course, everything in the car to the floor.  I drove over curbs (once definitely causing damage to the underside of the “carriage”). Only one time did I completely panic, screaming an untruth, “I am on the wrong side of the road!!!!” Luckily, I was able to immediately pull into a “petrol” station, saving us from the peril we never were in.

Adding to our stress, we had no cash despite repeated attempts. We were dehydrated and starving (ok I am exaggerating). Through all of this I always stayed positive. I didn’t want to stress out my young daughter who was calmly and continuously selecting music from her playlist for us to listen. But I’m kidding also. She definitely picked up on the fact that I couldn’t not keep the car in the middle of the road and always wanted to drive on the wrong side…I wonder how why she knew? 🙂 

That was my first driving experience in the UK. I’m not sure I will ever do it again.


I did not feel any perspective for the first hours of my driving in the UK. Ha!
Driving in the UK did get a little easier as the days passed. We even managed to drive the hedgerows!

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Sexual Violence in War, Police Custody, Civilian Life

Getting to London with my Daughter

I never foresaw how getting to London would cause such stress in our morning. Having left the cozy bakery where we had filled up on coffee and bread, we walked the block and a half to the U Bahn station. Unfortunately, we were supposed to take the S Bahn. I had forgotten to think this step through, and I automatically headed us down the stairs to the U Bahn station we mostly had been using while living on Mueggelstrasse. When we reached the bottom of the stairs, I remembered that the S Bahn didn’t go there. We had to turn around and go up the stairs again. Already my muscles were excited from the exercise of rapidly walking and then lifting the suitcases up the stairs.

First hurdle getting to London passed

Since there were no signs, we followed a crowd, hoping and assuming it was for the S Bahn station. Our pace had already quickened because I could feel myself start to worry. I asked a lady halfway up the hill to be sure we were following the right crowd. Getting to London was going to take many more steps than I had anticipated.

Arriving at the S Bahn station, I only knew that we needed train number nine. That one had just left. A new one did not light up on the sign that showed the next two arriving trains. I looked for a time table, but of course there wasn’t one anywhere to be found, at least for the S9.

Looking at the map, I realized we could take another train and then change. Still, it wasn’t yet entirely clear to me. One lady told us just as a train was leaving, “you should have taken that one.” This German repeated that fact three times during our subsequent conversation. To shut down the repetition, I finally said, “well, we can’t do anything about that now.” She then finally confirmed that I should get on either such and such or such and such number train.

Getting to London got me exhausted! 

I looked at my watch and thought we should be okay still, but really I wasn’t entirely sure. We got on the next train where I immediately asked another woman for directions to the next train. Of course, I could see this on the map, but the Berlin U/S Bahn map is so complicated I wanted to be sure. I felt sure I couldn’t make a mistake. It looked like we would transfer in Adlens-something so the S46.

We had two small roll suitcases and a super heavy backpack that I could already feel in my shoulders. We were also carrying coffees, a fruit cup we had purchased last night, two sandwiches, a sweet baked good, and who knows what else.

When we got out of the first train, and I quickly realized the next train would come on the same track. We sat and waited up to two minutes before our final train came. That ride to the airport was maybe ten or fifteen minutes long. When we got out, the walkway was completely packed with people, which made me worry because of the crowds and because our flight was in just over an hour.

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As we walked this wide corridor I saw signs for Terminals A, B, C and D, but I had no idea which one we needed. I stopped, checked my ticket and couldn’t see where it stated which terminal. We just kept walking/running, and finally, as we came out of the corridor, I saw a sign and quickly checked and saw which terminal we needed. Of course it was D, the one that was the furthest away. Still almost running, we headed toward that one. I was waffling between feeling like we would make it and also just hoping that we would. The flight was so cheap, so that wouldn’t have been the loss – but trying to find a new one, messing up our plans, having to either sleep again somewhere in Berlin or somewhere new in London – I didn’t want to even go there in my mind.

When we got to the first door of D, I quickly looked around and found the Easyjet counter we needed. But what I saw made me even more anxious. In front of the counter was one of those zig zag lines that crossed back and forth at least ten times. The crowd was huge, with hundreds of people. We got in line right away, but my heart sank. It didn’t seem possible that we could get through in time.

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I went to the bathroom where there also was a line, so I immediately came back out. I was just too nervous to stay in a small, smelly room with a line. An EasyJet employee was standing near my path back to Cora. I asked him what he thought we should do. He said to just get back in line, that we would make it. The long line was moving fast. But since it was now less than an hour before takeoff and we also needed to get through security, part of me still worried. Another part of me thought they would have to take care of us since they want their passengers on their flights.

* * * * *

Sure enough, suddenly the large man I had asked ten to fifteen minutes prior suddenly yelled out “London Luton? London Luton? Here number 28 and 29,” and he started opening up the gates to let us out of the long line. I told Cora, “go, go.” So we got into the next line and waited there. Finally having checked our bag, we got into the next long line for security. That was stressful trying to unpack things. Cora also temporarily panicked that we left her bathroom bag in the hotel, not realizing it was in the suitcase we had just checked. But we finally got through.

Then again I checked what gate number since it wasn’t on my phone, and we walked/ran to the bathroom and then the gate. We made it with hearts racing, only to stand and wait fifteen minutes to board. They checked the second wheelie bag for free because the flight was so crowded. That was fine with me. I just grabbed my book and papers out of it.

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Waiting to board, I just kept breathing. It had been a stressful morning. I keep my mood up, but the stress was still there. I didn’t feel like missing our flight and probably paying much more for another one. This also could mean we would have to drive in the dark to arrive in Padstow. Or it could mean we would have to stay overnight in London because it was too late. I sat in the plane, and my body felt shaky from the early-morning exercise we had, walking up and down stairs, lifting the suitcases and carrying the heavy backpack. For an international two and a half week trip, we packed very lightly, but still…and then I got to drive in the UK on the left side of the road for the first time.


More on our trip:

Single Lane Cornish Hedgerow Streets

My First Driving Experience in the UK


Victims, Heroes, Survivors: Sexual Violence on the Eastern Front During World War II. PhD dissertation.



Getting to London made for an exciting morning for us!

Out with the old-fashioned, patriarchal Mrs. title!

I recently made it onto a BBC News page because I submitted comments after reading an article about the woman who coined the term Ms. The Mrs. title is patriarchal and should be eliminated from our language. Patriarchy and the title Mrs. go hand in hand. The BBC edited my comments and included my picture along with comments and photos of a few other women. What fun! It is an important issue, and young women should not voluntarily and knowingly be using the term Mrs. any longer. That is only continuing the linguistic prison we find ourselves in much of the time. Language matters!

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I wrote:

Thank you for the article.

This issue is one of my pet peeves and has been for decades. Several men have told me I am “too sensitive” and am “expecting too much of others” because of my opinions on these words and titles.

I only ever use Ms. and have used it since I was my early twenties. I am now fifty. It is insulting to me that I would be considered a possession of my husband while he is an individual, being a Mr.

I have been frustrated in Europe where Ms. isn’t used so much, so, for example, in Germany, I am Mrs. Gertjejanssen or even Dr. Mrs. Gertjejanssen. “Frau” gets translated as Mrs. instead of Ms. Also, when purchasing an airline ticket there is no Ms. choice on some European airlines.

It is also disappointing how many young American women use the possessive Mrs. Perhaps they don’t understand the meaning behind it and use it because it is traditional. Perhaps they view Ms. as too feminist instead of as an equivalent to Mr.

Thank you again for the article.


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Patriarchy is upheld by sexist language, and patriarchy and the title Mrs. go hand in hand. Females are not the property of men and therefore need to reflect this in their names. They need to keep their first names and use an equivalent, non-hierarchical title. Ms. reflects equity, independence, and doesn’t insinuate old-fashioned patriarchal subjugation.

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Sexual Violence in War, Police Custody, Civilian Life