“L” Plates…


“L” Plates
by voxpops


I’m afraid I can’t muster a whole word, but if you’re nearing the end of a sentence perhaps this letter will be enough to raise a small smile:


When I was a teenager in Britain, if you wanted to learn to drive (who didn’t?), you slung a couple of signs on the front and rear of your dad’s car, hopped in the driving seat, and spent the next 40 minutes making your father wish he’d become a jungle explorer rather than a bank clerk, as it would have been a good deal safer. These modest square placards sported a solid-looking “L” in bright red on a white background, and warned other drivers that it might be wiser to seek an alternate route.

After I discarded those rather uncool learner plates, and left the driving instructor (who had the unhappy task of taking over when my dad bailed) to his therapy, “L” began to designate something even less cool. People would make a sign with their thumb and index finger and hold it up to their forehead, rather like the “H” that denotes Rimmer is a hologram in Red Dwarf (and which looks a bit like a bunch of “L”s stitched together – appropriate since Rimmer is, not to put too fine a point on it, a total loser!).


Creator:Joel Anderson Copyright:© Joel Anderson Photography 2012

So I was a bit taken aback one day recently when I was amusing myself on Google. I’d been watching one of those home-search TV shows where the presenters try to find something to suit a couple or family who want to trade their patch of dirt for another. This one was set in Northern Ireland, an area that I’m unfamiliar with. After the show, I zoomed in on Google Maps, trying (unsuccessfully) to locate one of the featured houses. So I idly hunted around to find the shortest sea crossing between mainland Britain and N. Ireland (I know, sounds a bit like a loser pastime if ever there was one), and stumbled right onto this:

L wide

Now I know that tectonic plates shift all the time, but I’d speculate that it rarely results in seabed formations that look like they might belong in a kid’s program: “Today’s episode of Sesame Street has been brought to you by the letter L…” Was someone at Google (in their best Dick Van Dyke Cockney impersonation), ’avin’ a larf or takin’ the Mickey? Taking the Mickey (making fun of someone) is apparently Cockney rhyming slang: “Taking the Mickey Bliss” – I’ll leave you to work out the rhyme.

The current political malfunction is worldwide. I could well imagine that some wag thought it a good idea to raise a metaphorical thumb and finger, just to indicate the dire state of the UK as it thrashes around, trying, and so far failing, to resolve the European question.

Or is it something else, altogether? I doubt I’ll ever find a straight answer to that, so I’m left with my imagination. I like the idea of those old “L” plates as I feel like a perpetual novice, always trying to discover what the ’ell’s going on.

Screen Shot 2019 01 21 at 8 39 56 PM

And the point of this ramble? Aberrations. Your aberrations probably won’t be the same as my aberrations. But I’d lay hefty odds that they’ll be there waiting for you. It’s rare to have one so obvious that it’s accessible to the whole world (makes a change from the fuzzy Google images and debatable detritus that I’ve posted here before!). And I’d suggest that it doesn’t matter whether there’s a perfectly logical (or at least acceptable) reason for any particular aberration, it’s what it conjures in your own mind that’s important. And for that the sky’s the limit – or maybe not…







38 thoughts on ““L” Plates…

  1. Hi Vox – You have deep thoughts. Hope you get another chance to chase Forrest’s treasure or one of the other treasures that are out there waiting to be discovered.

  2. I was searching for the “Thrill of The Chase” page when I stumbled upon this very interesting Under Seas Adventures page. Finally, something interesting on the World Wide Web!

    You will also be able to find many interesting features that appear to be cities and major roads connecting them under the Mediterranean Sea connecting to Africa. No connector roads to “L” so I guess they had to take a “pleasure canoe” to that particular brisk resort.

    Forrest, please come out of your period of rest to throw a little meat out for the all house-bound Chase dogs. If not, we will all be hunting for coins in the Smokies and stone “L”s in the land of blarney!

    Maybe, you can address the Ethica”L” Di”L”emma or something…

    Thanks for your prompt consideration. I am ready for this weather to break so that I can go fishing, if not for that pesky ED (don’t even let your mind go there).

  3. What the ell’s going on? I love it
    Thank You For This Story:) Sometimes, I feel as though people are holding an “L” on their forehead, about me, because I am different:( I embrace my individuallism:) Aren’t we all still learning to drive through this one ☝ life we are given. Life is a learning curve, In My Opinion.

    • Not me, I enjoyed your last video! Some will not find it but there was good info in there too. Haven’t seen your other videos yet. If they are mistreating you that gives you the W and they lose. Your positive attitude is contagious!

  4. I once had to look up the meaning of that “L” because it seemed to me that every delivery scooter in London has one. Even though it makes sense that the “L” should stand for “learner” I was certain there must by an English synonym for “courier” that starts with the letter “L”.

    The treasure is not in England or North Ireland and even Phil and Kirstie know that.

  5. If you want the truth ask a librarian. They share of hive mind when it comes to finding info. And they are more helpful than a psychologist.


  6. Vox, It’s an interesting oddity but I can’t see any connection to the Chase. I did, however, note duplicate letter “L” by moving the map to the left of the original. Just keep going left on the map and it will appear. Perhaps there are more. I’m still clueless.

    • Bob Millerhttps://www.google.com/maps/place/Ireland/@55.9376895,-19.9852365,120558m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x485e619e5d73698f:0xca9b39444d6ac68d!8m2!3d53.1423672!4d-7.6920536 on said:

      Yes! It is….

  7. I always enjoy it when “Red Dwarf” can get drawn into the conversation! Love that show! 🙂

    Aberrations are fun too. You inspired me to roam about Google Earth a bit just now to see if I could find any more L’s like that. I was unsuccessful in finding another L, but I did find another interesting aberration. Check out the longitudinal straight line passing through the Arctic Ocean north of Wrangel Island. Now zoom in further on that line and you will find yourself quickly lost in some sort of interdimensional sliver of time & space!

    Probably actually just a weird glitch of the satellite imagery, but still fun to hop around hunting for more aberrations like this!

  8. Hi Vox,

    I’ve always enjoyed your posts. This one is different than I’ve seen from you in the past.

    It sounds as if you have been exploring 50 leagues under the sea off the cost of Ireland. I encourage you to go ashore to find that home. Ireland is a beautiful home. The people there are loving and kind.

    Learn-er. Loyal. Love. Laugh. These I get.

    Loser doesn’t even cross my mind. Hope it leaves your mind.

    Abberations are beautiful I think.

    I also think that I have no idea what you are saying, but I enjoyed your post still.

    Be well!

  9. I have a little aberration for y’all. In Google Maps, go to about coordinates 45.0027 -110.0009. At this point, west of Cooke City, the green shaded area for the national park stops following the Wyoming/Montana state line and takes a jog northward.

    If you go to that corner and zoom in, you will find a strip about 250′ wide or so that heads due south into YNP, but is not shaded to indicate NP land. It runs all the way to near Ampitheater Mountain. Very odd. I’m assuming it is a data collection error. Even if it is a real-world boundary curiosity, I have not come up with any decent solves that make use of the information, so I hereby release it into the wild. If it leads someone to the chest, maybe be a friend and send me coin or something. 🙂

    There is another curiosity just south of Ralston, WY on a triangular “beach” at 44.702994 -108.859143. If you zoom all the way in while in Satellite Mode, there is a little blotch of greenery at the high water line that seems to form an arrow pointing to a crude triangle of blobs. (You have to look closely.) My assessment is that this is just one of those real-world oddities that happen naturally. I’ve seen nature form stranger shapes. It may not even be there in the real-world anymore, since the area appears prone to flooding during high water flow.

    I discount it as being connected to the Chase because this area is below the 5,000′ minimum altitude. (Ralston is at 4,554′.) If I find myself in the area, I’m tempted to wander down and take a look just to satisfy my curiosity (if I can find a route that doesn’t involve trespassing), but I am not likely to make a special trip just for this.

    That one caught my attention because I have ancestors who helped settle Ralston, CO (which was later renamed to Arvada, CO). The coincidence was amusing.
    Google Maps is full of aberrations, both data and real-world. It’s always fun when you find one you haven’t seen before.

      • I see no aberration there..
        You’re not late sir..

        cafe au LAITTUDE
        turn to LATITUDE
        twist to ALtitude vs mNESSecitude..
        walk into the Open Press Quarter..
        next thing you gnow R..
        Really climbing now Mr Ivy League..
        Now you’re S
        with all the elevation that didn’t know better

        are the sighTs gone?

  10. A couple things. First, there’s a similar set of Google Earth sea floor straight lines west of Trondheim, Norway: a triangle and some additional lines. Similar in scale to the “L” above. It’d be interesting to know which are real and which are artifacts for all of these oddities around the globe. [Wouldn’t be surprised if someone’s got a website for it already.]

    Second, re the WY/MT border and the odd strip, there are a lot of funky state borders in the USA where the original surveys were off and the various jurisdictions dealt with those at later dates in differing ways. Sometimes the border was fixed to match a documented intent, other times it was left as surveyed with a jagged edge. This border has some of those, where you’ll notice it doesn’t precisely follow the 45th parallel all the way. If you check various historical sources, poke around GE and other maps, and catch some of the “How The States Got Their Borders” episodes, you can find more.

    What the Smeg, one of those zillions of since-passed Ace Rimmers now forming that planetary ring must have figured it all out. One probably found the chest, too.

  11. So odd! Life is simply magical.

    I am about to publish my first book, Dear Dad, and have been talking about making the 50 press plates. Is “L” 50 in Roman numerals?

    And for total coincidence, the paper stock for my book is “Blazer.” I think I found the blaze! I know I did, in all seriousness.

    Erin go braugh! Ireland live long. Love, heart, honor, hope.

    Cheers, Voxpops, cheers.

      • Thanks JDA!

        It’s my tribute to my Dad and his book on leadership and love. Messages every person of every age needs, especially as we head toward 2020.

        Of course, there is a very strong tie in to the chase folks will want to know.

        Lots shared that the chase community will benefit from – closure, peace and healing.

    • Awesome on the book. Yes, L is 50, thus this Sunday is Superbowl 53, LIII and everyone will have their eye on the football to make sure it isn’t slightly deflated.

      • . Deflated would be unwise in games of that scale ID. I’m sure that would result in game over with lots of penalties. But perhaps the team owners can pay the price of all the penalties for a deflated ball. Id recommend the focus on inflation.

  12. I couldn’t think of any other way to say your given away L-ocation . With the several other thoughts goin through my head. I was somewhat relieved afterward when I seen the wind blow . Sorry for the miss communication. Didn’t mean loser at all because you and I both know that is not indicative of your capabilities. Hope all is good and i see the wind blow in your yard as where you blaze it .I will personally stop and apologize. Im planning on making a trip to see some relatives in a couple weeks. I’ll be looking for the blaze .

    • I definitely feel a connection to your handle but I don’t post enough to know who you are talking to but I hope your both good. Have a good time visiting relatives. Your words also remind ed me of a song about laying in tall grass and dreaming with the one you love. It’s been along road and I hope you work things out and dream the good dream.

  13. Thank you to everyone for your comments.

    I’ve always had something of an education phobia, but these last few years have thrown me in at the deep end. It’s a lifelong lesson. I also get the feeling that a lot more of us are in the process of “finding it.” Good luck to all!

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