“Now, when you get up there, you’ll come to this thing we call a ‘roundabout.’ Got that, yeah?”
He talked slowly. He talked loudly. We realized he thought I was foreign. He thought I was an American! He said again, but slower, “a ‘ran-da-bhat.’ ” Bloody nerve.
“Anyway, you’ll come to this ‘ran-da-bhat’ and—”
He never explained what a ‘ran-da-bhat’ was exactly. Instead, he started making large circular movements with his oddly bent hand and arm. If I had been American by birth and not by choice, I might have imagined he was describing a carousel with gaudily painted wooden horses placed on the highway to amuse passing commuters, rather than a traffic circle. I stared at him. He smiled, nodding, looking like the amiable idiot he thought I was.
“Yes, yes, I know what it is, I’ve been ‘ere before.” I tried to thicken up my Cockney accent. He went right on, ignoring me and my strategically dropped aitches.
“But don’t go right a-rhaand it. Turn off before you do, and that’ll get you on the Ilford Road. Can’t miss it.”
I thanked him and we were on our way.