25 APRIL 1941, Page 14

Country Strangers .

Lack of signposts means little to the countryman in his own area, yet nothing has changed travelling in the countryside so much. On

a recent journey into the West country. I found it interesting to note haw defence-regulations have changed, or rather aggravated, the countryman's attitude to roads, strangers and directions. There was .a time when "Can you tell me the way to?" was a sign for a nice set of rules to be brought into play: If both sides played properly this was one of the pleasant interludes in the motorists' schedule. It's all very different now. On a journey of 125 miles I got lost about fifteen times, three times hopelessly. I stopped to check .rny position about the same number of times. On about seventy-five per cent, of these occasions people professed the most astounding ignorance of the road I wanted ; twenty per cent., of the rest misdirected me ; the other five per cent, agreed with whit I said. I learned too that to unfold a map in a car is roughly an act of treason. The countryman is cer- tainly playing his part in tying even casual invaders into knots. Yet twice on this journey I came to within sight of the sea without being stopped and continued to drive in what are supposedly strict defence- areas without any question at all However, I see from a local paper that on the day. of a forthcoming sale an auctioneer's catalogue is all that is required for the penetration of one of the strictest area:-..