It’s not often that printed driving directions grab my attention, yet it happened a few weeks ago. I was planning a trip to Cardiff, and since I don’t know the area well, I decided to check out and the route online. Although I have sat-nav, I always like to have a vague idea of where I’m going, so I print driving directions as a back-up. I was reading through the directions, and I noticed the following step:
“Cross the Magic Roundabout, 2nd exit”
Wow – I’m going to be crossing the magic roundabout. That sounds pretty exciting, right? Well, maybe….
For me the phrase “Magic Roundabout” conjured up two images. Firstly, a stop-motion animated children’s TV program from the 1970s, and secondly a rather famous and complex road junction in Swindon. Assuming that the likelihood of this “magic roundabout” being related to the 1970s TV show was extremely low, I made the assumption that it must be a frighteningly complex junction. You know the type – a busy junction that only locals can traverse, and visitors use at their peril. A shudder went down my spine as I imagined having to traverse this seemingly increasingly complex junction after a long journey.
Having set this expectation very firmly in my mind, the reality was somewhat more—well—glacial. It transpired that the magic roundabout in Cardiff was rather less ‘magic’ than I had been anticipating. It was nowhere near as complex as the ‘magic roundabout’ in Swindon, which was the benchmark I had been expecting, and in many ways, given its surreal nature, it shared more in common with the 1970s TV show! In short, it was a normal roundabout with some interesting art on it. My presumptions and expectations had been altogether wrong. I later passed it on foot and took a picture: