back to article Furious English villagers force council climbdown over Satan's stone booty

Outraged villagers in Bucks have forced the local council to ditch plans to shift a millennia-old boulder they believe was originally part of the Devil’s foot. The Soulbury Boot is believed to have been cut off from Satan’s lower quarters in an ancient fight between Lucifer and the locals in Chapel Hill, Soulbury. It is also …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I suppose the council are between a rock and a hard place.

    1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Only one upvote - looks like that comment fell on stony ground

      1. wolfetone Silver badge

        That comment rocked my world I have to say.

      2. msknight Silver badge

        Boulder-dash. You barely gave it an hour before leaving that cold-as-stone comment.

  2. xj650t

    The compensation culture at work!

    I didn't see the 2ft high boulder in the middle of the street and smashed my car into it, now somebody else take the blame and pay for fixing my car already.

    Holy Frack, if you can't see a boulder in the middle of the road, then what flipping chance do pedestrians and cyclists have.

    Please post your car keys to I'm to stupid to drive, c/o Iwoz txting at the time.

    </rant>

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The compensation culture at work!

      "I didn't see the 2ft high boulder in the middle of the street and smashed my car into it, now somebody else take the blame and pay for fixing my car already."

      Similer incident in Frome, Somerset, where there is a small stream running down the middle of a pedestrian street in the town centre. Some woman stepped in it.

      She immediately demanded via the media that it be closed over so that she couldn't step into it again.

      Fortunately as with Soulbury common sense prevailed. But yes, shouldn't someone be sending the motorist the bill for cleaning the rock, just in case Lucifer gets annoyed about it?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The compensation culture at work!

        While I agree that the compensation culture is far from desirable and that people need to use their eyes...... a two foot bolder in the dark is hardly the same as a pedestrian or a cyclist. Of course I haven't looked for any photos so there may be other reasons why driving into it was stupid.

        ... I tired hard (well a little bit anyway) but it did remind me of the old insurance claim:

        "I drove into the wrong drive and hit a tree I haven't got".

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: The compensation culture at work!

          "a two foot bolder in the dark is hardly the same as a pedestrian or a cyclist"

          From the pictures on the Beeb it appears to be either chalk or to be painted white so it's a good deal more visible than the standard dark-clothed pedestrian or unlit cyclist.

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: The compensation culture at work!

            The boulder is grey, the tarmac around it is grey... simple solution would be to paint (or apply that high grip coloured epoxy finish to) the surrounding tarmac, in order to enhance contrast. No need to paint the boulder, or to erect a fence.

            For sure, the motorist erred, but one should design systems with human fallibility in mind.

            I haven't found mention of what time of day or in what weather conditions the motorist hit it. There are a good number of motorists who don't use their daylight running lamps (use them in anything less than perfect visibility, and that includes on sunny days when in the shade of trees etc), or are late in turning on their headlamps towards dusk.

            (Picture is on the BBC link in the article)

            1. John Sturdy
              Thumb Up

              Re: The compensation culture at work!

              The rock clearly is designed with human fallibility in mind: it appears to have suffered little, if any, damage from the collision.

            2. PNGuinn
              Happy

              Re: The compensation culture at work! @ Dave 126

              Ah! you've hit the nail on the head there. Or the bonnet with the boot...

              The silly motorist was driving like a cyclist - you know, dark car, dark clothes, no lights, all over the road - and the poor bloody rock didn't see him.

        2. Sir Sham Cad

          Re: Of course I haven't looked for any photos

          A cursory Giggle brought up another article on this story. The stone, which appears to have been transported there during the last Ice Age, is in the middle of the road with ample room for a car either side. The road was built around the stone leaving a carriageway to either side in much the same way as a normal traffic island. Granted, in the dark they tend to have lit bollards denoting their location but there's no indication this accident happened in the dark.

          No, this person managed to be special enough to be the first person to drive into this rock in 11,000 years and wants to get paid for their specialness.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Of course I haven't looked for any photos

            Thanks Doctor Syntax and Sir Sham Cad

            Yes a white bolder with a road which goes around it makes me more inclined to want to give the person asking for compensation a slap.

            AC from earlier.

            1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
              Headmaster

              Re: Of course I haven't looked for any photos

              In the Beeb article there is an older pic of the stone, and it had a street lamp just behind it. Oddly said lamp doesn't seem to currently be in place, but that strikes me as a sensible thing to have close to it, to both illuminate it and also to give less visually aware motorists something a bit bigger and taller to spot and avoid perhaps?

              1. Def Silver badge

                Re: Of course I haven't looked for any photos

                https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.9352709,-0.7172309,3a,75y,17.21h,60.53t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1soEEboxT97BCvL7oDRK3vCQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!5m1!1e1!6m1!1e1?hl=en

              2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: Of course I haven't looked for any photos

                "Oddly said lamp doesn't seem to currently be in place"

                Street lamp? You think we should pay to run street lamps? Not any more we don't.

                PP Bucks County Council

          2. Scott Broukell

            Re: Of course I haven't looked for any photos

            Stone me! - Presumably a case of erratic driving then (groan).

            <mines the one with Eye Spy British Geology in the pocket>

          3. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

            Re: Of course I haven't looked for any photos

            "the first person to drive into this rock in 11,000 years"?

            There were others, but they were too embarrassed to own up.

        3. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: The compensation culture at work!

          If you drive a car into something that is not moving and hasn't moved for 11,000 years then don't attempt to blame anyone else.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: The compensation culture at work!

            "If you drive a car into something that is not moving and hasn't moved for 11,000 years then don't attempt to blame anyone else."

            But its brake lights weren't working.

        4. Gene Cash Silver badge

          Re: The compensation culture at work!

          "in the dark"? Your headlights aren't working? Or are you driving too fast to stop for things that show up?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The compensation culture at work!

            This would fall into the same kind of category as green cars being most difficult to see.

            And I bet plenty have bumped or grazed it, just no-one has made an issue of it before.

        5. PNGuinn
          WTF?

          Re: The compensation culture at work @ ac

          "a two foot bolder in the dark is hardly the same as a pedestrian or a cyclist."

          Definitely. Pedestrians and cyclists are so much softer.

          Your point being?

        6. Robert E A Harvey

          I haven't looked for any photos

          I have: http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/3997650 and http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2594600 are quite recent, and it is not painted white.

        7. John Presland

          Re: The compensation culture at work!

          Three-point turn in the middle of the day.

    2. Mage Silver badge

      Re: The compensation culture at work!

      How many motorists have hit it since:

      a) Highway act of 1980?

      b) In cars since 1896?

      c) In horse drawn carriages since existence of road/village?

      1. Winkypop Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: The compensation culture at work!

        d) in the past "250 million years"

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The compensation culture at work!

      Will the case be thrown out of court if they suspect the driver was stoned?

    4. Dazed and Confused

      Re: The compensation culture at work!

      Does the phase "Pissed as a fart" spring to mind?

      I suppose it was either blame the rock for jumping out at them or admit to being either drunk in charge or not in charge.

    5. Imsimil Berati-Lahn

      Re: The compensation culture at work!

      I'd have thought it's clearly a case of "driving without due care and attention", 3 points and a fine minimum, but what do I know. "SumWon else's fault! Munny PLeez!!!"

  3. bazza Silver badge

    I like my brick.

    (obligatory Father Jack reference)

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      I thought it was "I love my brick"?

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        BORED of "Brick"

        1. David 132 Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          BORED of "Brick"

          I believe the actual Father Jack quote was, "Fed up wi' 'briiiiick'!"

          ...right after chucking said brick at Ted's head.

  4. ChunkyMonkey
    Facepalm

    Technically the stone is an obstruction in the public highway

    Let's face it idiots crash into things all of the time. It's in a village, on a corner and a junction. All of these are reason to go slow and be observant!

    If we have to start taking stuff down because some idiot bumps into it, we will all be in fields.

    I'd take the license and keys from the muppet that hit it and not give them back until they learn how to drive.

    1. bazza Silver badge

      Re: Technically the stone is an obstruction in the public highway

      Indeed, I bet if they removed it they'd be putting in traffic calming speed bumps within the year.

      1. nijam

        Re: Technically the stone is an obstruction in the public highway

        > ... traffic calming speed bumps ...

        A misnomer if ever there was one. Admittedly "traffic-enraging" doesn't flow off the tongue so well.

        1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

          nijam, re speed bumps.

          Speed bumps are only good for one thing & that's catching air time off of when you hit one at high speed & become momentarily airbourne.

          We know we're SUPPOSED to slow down for the damned things, but whom can resist the urge to hit the gas & give a delighted whoop of glee at the sudden feeling of seeming weightlessness?

          And then the idiots in power wonder why nobody wants to walk in the zebra crossing on the other side?

          *Cackle*

          I'll get my coat, it's the one with the crash test manniquin in the pockets. =-)p

          1. David 132 Silver badge

            Re: nijam, re speed bumps.

            We know we're SUPPOSED to slow down for the damned things, but whom can resist the urge to hit the gas & give a delighted whoop of glee at the sudden feeling of seeming weightlessness?

            This post is sponsored by the Society of Shock-Absorber Manufacturers, Coil-Spring Suppliers and Sump Guard Fabricators.

      2. Ripper38©
        Coat

        Re: Technically the stone is an obstruction in the public highway

        Excellent. Have an up-vote! Mine's the one with a 2 foot boulder in the pocket

    2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: Technically the stone is an obstruction in the public highway

      Stick a couple of keep left arrows on it and officially deem it a bollard. That way any retard that hits it and whinges for compensation can be prosecuted for careless driving and/or mocked to within an inch of their lives.

      1. John McCallum

        Re: Technically the stone is an obstruction in the public highway

        "Stick a couple of keep left arrows on it and officially deem it a bollard."

        This wont work Last time I rode from Huddersfield to Wakefield some numpty had managed to hit one of the roundabouts ( this is about a metre + high made out of black and white blocks in chevron pattern as per regs) .

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Technically the stone is an obstruction in the public highway

        "Stick a couple of keep left arrows on it and officially deem it a bollard."

        Way back I used to drive between Belfast & the in-laws in Carrick passing the entrance to what was then Jordanstown Poly. Opposite the entrance there was one of those islands with plastic bollards illuminated from below. Almost every time I passed the bollards were squashed flat; I doubt that when they were replaced they ever lasted more than a couple of weeks & usually less.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Technically the stone is an obstruction in the public highway

      Considering it's age, the highway is technically an obstruction to the rock

  5. TeeCee Gold badge
    Facepalm

    Spot the problem.

    Is it:-

    a) The fact that there's been a massive and obvious lump of rock in such and such a place since forever?

    b) The fact that some myopic fucktard drove into it and is being well paid for doing so.?

    (If it helps any, the solution to (a) is "move the rock" and the solution to (b) is "make being a claims lawyer an offence punishable by burning at the stake".)

    1. Ol' Grumpy

      Re: Spot the problem.

      or

      c) move the claims lawyer to the rock and burn them there! :)

      1. PNGuinn
        Go

        Re: Spot the problem. "c) move the claims lawyer to the rock and burn them there! :)"

        NO!

        It's a lawyer you're talking about.

        Chain him to the rock and leave him there.

        1. Spamfast Bronze badge

          Re: Spot the problem. "c) move the claims lawyer to the rock and burn them there! :)"

          >Chain him to the rock and leave him there.

          If chained to a rock, we have to include having a regenerating liver daily ripped out and eaten by an eagle don't we? (Although dignifying the pond life with the same punishment as Prometheus is probably setting the wrong precedent. Maybe chained to a rock at the bottom of the sea with two hundred colleagues as per the classic is more like it after all.)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Size 14

    Nope, no way round that.

    https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.9353008,-0.7172634,3a,75y,45.29h,81.71t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1skowBR8TH_Y5yVqqYEpnEZA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

    1. joeW Silver badge

      Re: Size 14

      My old home town has a similarly-sized lump of rock in the middle of a junction (something to do with the foundation of the town, I forget the story/legend). Simple solution, throw some bollards and a bit of kerbing around it.

      Like so - https://www.google.ie/maps/@51.6229216,-8.8879659,3a,41y,314.74h,70.21t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s_AkvmT_lVh71mw_ZDUPG8A!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

    2. kyoukoku

      Re: Size 14

      Haha, you can even see on the Streetview images where the numpty hit the boulder, and it looks like her car possibly rode up onto it, then bled out all over the road around it. Brilliant!!

    3. Sykobee

      Re: Size 14

      It seems clear to me that painting on a white hatched zone around the rock would be more than adequate (unless that's not attractive for tourist photos). The white lines on the road are in a very bad state if things are the same as the Google streetview.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Move the bloody thing

    Are these yokels insane? It's a massive rock in the middle of a road. It shouldn't be there. A reasonably foresightful person could perceive the hazard it causes to road traffic, especially during snowy weather or poor visibility. I'd argue it should be smashed to pieces, but moving it so anyone who wants to can still dance around/rub against/worship it is an acceptable compromise. Typical bloody minded Little Englander mentality that the councillor won't even consider that.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Move the bloody thing

      That's a bit strong.

      It caused no injury. Given its location, no car should be travelling fast enough to injure the occupants of the vehicle should they hit it. If people didn't have ridiculous, expensive colour-matched bumpers on their cars, the cost of repair would be far lower too.

      Being purely pragmatic, it would be cheaper to paint the tarmac - or even fit solar LED road studs - around the boulder than it would to move it.

      1. PNGuinn
        Flame

        Solar LED road studs

        Sorry - off topic but a pet rant.

        They tried some of them on the A414 just outside of Writtle a few years ago.

        Dim and piss useless compared to traditional reflectors. Strobing flicker on the road ahead as you move your eyes. Dying like flies at the moment.

        /rant

    2. Dan Wilkie

      Re: Move the bloody thing

      Because if they move it, nobody will know about how Old Soulburys villagers bravely fought Lucifer 250 million years before the village was formed (and over 249 million years before mankind existed). And then what do they have to be proud of? The whole village will descend into depression, alcoholism, and drug use to hide their shame, and before you know it there'll be a Nova SR on every driveway.

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Move the bloody thing

        Because if they move it, nobody will know about how Old Soulburys villagers bravely fought Lucifer 250 million years before the village was formed

        To paraphrase Pratchett - if we stopped traditions just because we forgot how they started, we'd be no better than foreigners.

    3. aleeivel

      Re: Move the bloody thing

      Rather they removed Anonymous Coward!!! Villages should be preserved with there local oddities, anyone who is to blind or stupid to be unable to avoid that should never be allowed to walk without supervision let alone drive!!!

    4. Nigel 11

      Re: Move the bloody thing

      Very many junctions have a plastic thingy with a keep-left logo on it in the place where this rock is sitting. Often the plastic thingy is on a raised island with kerbstones and a brick or concrete interior. Some are in the middle of busy A-roads. So why is this rock an obstruction, when millions of traffic islands are not?

      I'd suggest painting an area of white cross-hatching around the rock thereby making it officially part of a traffic island. Any motorist who hits it after that will have been contravening the highway code and not giving due attention to the road markings, and can be told to FOAD. I'd also suggest that at the same time, painting a give-way line at the actual junction would improve the road for all of its users.

      1. PNGuinn
        Boffin

        Re: Move the bloody thing

        "I'd suggest painting an area of white cross-hatching around the rock"

        Definitely not.

        Just look at the at the state of that road surface on the BBC pic.

        Traditional British at its best. This rock needs proper traditional marking. There's a clear need for a veritable Erection of Penises at this junction!

        Bet that'd satisfy all the villagers. They could make a fortune out of the postcards.

      2. Pookietoo

        Re: painting a give-way line

        Experience tends to suggest that people drive more carefully and considerately in this sort of setting with as few traffic signs and road markings as possible. It's only the extreme idiots like the one in the story who need lines to keep inside (although they tend not to manage even that - what is it with all these drivers who can't stop before the stop line at junctions, or keep inside the lane markings on bends?)

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Mushroom

      Re: Move the bloody thing

      I agree with you...

      There's a 16th century church in the middle of the road by me....can we demolish this as well.

    6. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Move the bloody thing

      As well as being a joyless anonymous coward, unable to see how these oddities of life add to the fun of it all, I'd suggest that you've missed the obvious solution.

      We don't need to smash this stone up. Moving it is in fact very easy. Simply ring the church bells at midnight, and it'll move of it's own accord.

      Of course the article doesn't state where it'll move to, or stop - so some research may need to be carried out first. After all, we don't want even more claims from people whose parked cars have been whacked.

      Or I guess we could just ask satan to come and reclaim it. I assume if we asked his representatives on Earth Piers Morgan or Simon Cowell nicely, they could have a word with their boss, and see what he says...

    7. Dazed and Confused

      Re: Move the bloody thing

      Given that the rock was there first surely it is the road that should move if there is a problem.

    8. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Move the bloody thing

      "especially during snowy weather"

      I don't remember there being much snowy weather in Bucks when I lived there. Not real snow like up North.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Move the bloody thing

        "I don't remember there being much snowy weather in Bucks when I lived there."

        Was down that area a few years back having driven through some awful snow on the way, especially on the M1 passing Sheffield. It was nice when we got there. But that night it started snowing and there was a foot of the damned stuff in the morning. I too thought they never got snow in Bucks.

        I can only assume it was freezing over because someone was thinking about moving that bloody rock :-)

  8. Putters

    The Old Photo in the Beeb article ...

    ... has the correct solution. Put the lamp post back !

  9. x 7

    several pix here http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/weird-news/ancient-boulder-stay-after-villagers-7657934

    paint a roundabout round it! That then makes any impact the fault of the driver

  10. Roger Lipscombe

    To be fair...

    Looking at Streetview, the rock does appear to be smack-dab in the middle of the junction, and isn't particularly visible (grey rock on grey background). There's not even a kerb around it.

    Surround it with a traffic island, with the usual high-visibility signage. Job done.

    1. Bloodbeastterror

      Re: To be fair...

      "Surround it with a traffic island"

      That was the first thing that occurred to me. Streetview does indeed make it clear that it's a bit of a hazard - though presumably the locals know it well enough to avoid it. But in Health & Safety terms it's no good to say "X millions of motorists have avoided it ok" - with more cars on the road it does need a bit of highlighting.

      And we Brits don't move historic items. Bad for the tourist trade...

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: To be fair...

      >Surround it with a traffic island, with the usual high-visibility signage. Job done.

      That was my first thought, but modern street furniture is fairly ugly. The contrast twixt rock n road could be increased in a more attractive way - by painting the surrounding tarmac perhaps.

      I like the look of small French towns. Instead of using yellow lines to denote where your can't park, they simply use cobbled areas to mark where you can park. Motoruists are credited with the common sense. The result is so much more attractive, and restful (your eyes aren't constantly taking in a "Oi, No!" signal).

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        Re: To be fair...

        I would have thought that a small raised kerb around it and application of some paint to the road surface around it would do the job. The whole junction looks like it could do with resurfacing anyway, so why not kill two birds with one, erm...

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: To be fair...

          "a small raised kerb around it"

          That would simply make the target bigger. Let's face it, if you can hit a boulder a low kerb is no problem at all.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: To be fair...

        Yeah, despite the Outraged of Tunbridge Wells comments here (many of whom seem to think the rock is white???), that grey boulder on grey tarmac is asking for a collision. Begging for one.

        Sure, leave it there, but, yes, put white hatch marks around it,or another lamp-post in front! FFS.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: To be fair...

      "isn't particularly visible (grey rock on grey background)"

      To be fair to the rock, it's not really changed in millions of years whereas man has come along and made a brown soil/mud dirt track around it instead of the nicely contrasting grass the rock originally picked for it's spot. Then later some twonk came along and tarmacced over the reasonably contrasting brown dirt track with what? Grey bloody tarmac of all things!

      You can't really blame the rock for settling down in a nice, highly visible spot and then some bloody humans come along and camouflage it and THEN blame to poor rock.

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: To be fair...

        You can't really blame the rock for settling down in a nice, highly visible spot and then some bloody humans come along and camouflage it and THEN blame the poor rock.

        I blame today's rocks and their sedimentary lifestyle.

  11. Dabooka Silver badge

    The alternative viewpoint..

    is to prosecute and sue the driver for damaging an ancient monument.

    That I would find far funnier, and more in keeping with most people's view form what I've read

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Coat

      That

      Then put signs before the rock in all directions saying :

      Rock ahead. Number of idiots having plowed into it : 1

      Finally, not far from the rock, put a Hall Of Fame slab with the names of all the morons who plow into it and then sue.

      Never Forget.

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: That

        At which point no doubt you'll get motorists so fixated on avoiding the original rock in the road that they plough straight into the hall of fame slab...

      2. Stoneshop Silver badge
        Go

        Re: That

        a Hall Of Fame slab with the

        crumpled front license plates

        of all the morons

        1. David 132 Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: That

          crumpled front license plates

          T'wouldn't work.

          British licence plates are polycarbonate/acrylic and just shatter when hit.

          Not like the proper stamped metal license plates used in civilized countries.

          1. x 7

            Re: That

            "British licence plates are polycarbonate/acrylic and just shatter when hit." - which makes them technically illegal. UK number plates are required by law to be crash resistant

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: The alternative viewpoint..

      > damaging an ancient monument.

      You would have to get it made a Scheduled Ancient Monument first. And let me tell you, that ain't easy..

  12. adnim Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Simple signs

    on approach stating... "slow obstruction in road". Alternatively turn it into a traffic island with arrowed bollards either side. Then anyone hitting it would be guilty of driving without due care and attention.

    Or am I being too sensible about this?

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Simple signs

      "slow obstruction in road".

      That's a bit of an understatement. "Totally static non-moving (on less than geological timescales) obstruction in road" would be more like it.

      1. DropBear Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Simple signs

        Ehhh, no need to think small. Let's have the rest of the Devil built up over it in the same rough rocky style - like a modern mini Colossus of Rhodes - and have the traffic in one direction pass straight under it. Instant tourist attraction level-up, great visibility, win-win etc. (until a lorry driver bamboozled by his satnav ignores the height restriction and ploughs through the whole thing, obviously).

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Simple signs

          Well, if part of its boot is already 2 feet high, then its crotch will be at at least forty feet, so little chance of even an average tipper truck with a raised bed tickling its balls.

          But they could try things out with a hologram first.

  13. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Coat

    Did the driver claim ...

    "The devil made me do it"

    Alternatively, he was "on a mission from God" (or Glod, of course)

    I'll get me coat

  14. Elmer Phud

    Didn't they . . .

    Build the by-pass round Royston to prevent motorists running in to the Royston Cave?

    1. Nigel 11

      Re: Didn't they . . .

      Fascinating. I'd never heard of the Royston cave. And when I searched for images of the cave, I found this. Which isn't actually of the cave itself, but of another rock in the middle of the road, a mere stone's throw from the cave. (Sorry, couldn't resist).

      http://www.megalithic.co.uk/a558/a312/gallery/England/Hertfordshire/Image003.jpg

      So there is precedent for turning a rock into a (remarkably tasteful) traffic island.

    2. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Didn't they . . .

      Build the by-pass round Royston to prevent motorists running in to the Royston Cave?

      Nah, it's probably one of those bypasses you build because you got to build bypasses.

      <insert hhgttg.ico>

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Didn't they . . .

        "Nah, it's probably one of those bypasses you build because you got to build bypasses."

        Then why can't Tintwistle have one?

        1. x 7

          Re: Didn't they . . .

          "Then why can't Tintwistle have one?"

          the plan was for the M67 to have bypassed you years ago but there were too many complaints from the nimbys in your local villages so all the money went on the M62

          anyway, if you believe the press releases you're due for a Manchester-Sheffield tunnel in around 20 years

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Didn't they . . .

      Maybe a new home for the Royston Vasey roundabout zoo!

  15. glen waverley
    Pint

    "roll away the stone"

    Very nice Leon Russell reference (para 7). And it's Easter week too, so topical.

    Icon for the journo (or the sub)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "roll away the stone"

      I'm not convinced it wasn't more likely to be a Mott the Hoople reference:-

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roll_Away_the_Stone

      Also realised that when you said "Leon Russell" I was thinking of Leon Redbone...

  16. s. pam
    Pirate

    Many Bucks drivers are shit, pure and simple!

    Disclosure: I live in Bucks

    This county has an incredibly disproportionate number of residents who cannot do the speed limit, tell how much room then need when opposing traffic is coming, don't know how big their cars are along streets with cars parked as but a few examples of the abject stupidity regularly on display.

    Add in a large number of Jazz and Picasso owners to the Micra crowd and there are days, like Thursdays (Pensioner Hell on the Roads day) and you're better off staying indoors safe.

    Shit, this reminds me I have to go to Aylesbury today....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Many Bucks drivers are shit, pure and simple!

      "(Pensioner Hell on the Roads day)"

      Yesterday I noticed a middle-aged woman helping a very frail old lady across the pavement to their car. It looked like a typical case of senile dementia. The middle-aged woman got in the car - and her fragile companion managed to negotiate her door with some difficultly. The realisation that the old lady was the driver sent a shiver down my spine.

      PS You forgot to mention Mobility Scooter drivers which show the same lack of spatial and speed awareness on pedestrian paths.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In America

    This kind of silliness generally gets put in its place by members of the Church of Satan who rise to the opportunity to play silly buggers.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: In America

      Isn't America the place where they build roads through trees?

  18. Pseudonymous Diehard

    Legal nonesense...

    I hope the locals campaigning against the removal of this rock remember that the devil is in the details.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Legal nonesense...

      You mean that this rocky problem could also lead to outcomes to their detriment, and then the boot would be on the other foot, with a hard to shift obstacle in their way - and then they'd be between the devil and the deep blue sea?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Love the comment in the original article..

    "Let's bear in mind this is about one person who's crashed into this stone in over 11,000 years"

    You can't fault the guy for the accurate risk assessment, although I note that in earlier days it had a lamppost nearby. Maybe it's worth re-establishing that one, that would also provide power for a huge sign with a massive arrow pointing at the stone, just to make it clear to other minimally talented drivers.

    That ought to suffice for another 11,000 years.

  20. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Sue the glacier that put it there!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Sue the glacier that put it there!"

      That's sexist - why can't a generic glacier be male? ..or is it like the C&W song?

  21. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Rock? That's not a rock.

    It's barely a grown-up pebble.

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Rock? That's not a rock.

      Depends how far it extends underground...

      1. sandman

        Re: Rock? That's not a rock.

        Rename the road "Highway to Hell"? Or "Highway to a small bit of Hell's boss"? Or "Look, we know it's just a rock, but we can all pretend, can't we?"

        1. Nigel 11
          Coat

          Re: Rock? That's not a rock.

          Rename the road ...

          Spinal Tap way?

      2. hplasm Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Rock? That's not a rock.

        "Depends how far it extends underground..."

        It's the tip of an underground rockberg!

        (rockrock??? hmmm...)

  22. David Nash Silver badge
    Devil

    Belief?

    Nobody seems to have remarked on the fact that the article asserts as fact that the villagers "believe" that the rock was part of Satan's foot.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Devil

      Re: Belief?

      Be careful. The last person to argue this (or that normal people don't marry their sisters), got burned in a giant wicker shoe.

  23. Andy 66

    A rock in the road???

    And nobody questions why the road was built around the rock in the first place?

    That's what you get when you subcontract. Lazy shoddy arse work

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A rock in the road???

      "That's what you get when you subcontract"

      Maybe the owner didn't want to sell.

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/9696468/Chinese-home-with-easy-motorway-access-and-ample-driveway.html

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: A rock in the road???

        "Maybe the owner didn't want to sell."

        Or :http://www.sabre-roads.org.uk/wiki/index.php?title=File:M62_Stott_Hall_Farm._-_Coppermine_-_16890.JPG

        1. David 132 Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: A rock in the road???

          @Doctor Synax Upvote for mentioning Stott Hall Farm (and beating me to it).

          I used to drive past there regularly on my way across the Pennines to York.

  24. TheOtherHobbes

    Who took the sword out?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Damn metal thieves!

  25. zaax

    This is the work of the devil, as he did walk near(ish) by

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devil's_Footprints

    1. Steven Raith

      Upvote

      Just for referencing one of my favourite tales out of the Readers Digest book "Strange Stories, Amazing Facts" which was the first book I read that really got me to open my mind and think critically about things, and contained reports about that phenomenon.

      Got me into a proper interest in the paranormal, UFOs, myths, and the explanations thereof - great stuff for a young mind to stretch into.

      As a result of all that, I also know far more than is healthy about the occult and the paranormal. Always great for polite conversations.

      So upvote for bringing back some fun memories! And if you see that book in a charity shop/on eBay, snap it up.

      Steven "doesn't believe in ghosts and things, but they are fun to think about" R

      PS: Put a bloody traffic island around the rock, this shit isn't difficult, unless you work for the fucking council, where breathing and walking at the same time is considered the height of personal achievement.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Upvote

        As a result of all that, I also know far more than is healthy about the occult and the paranormal. Always great for polite conversations.

        More to end polite conversations :)

  26. Potemkine Silver badge

    Does the indelicate driver weigh the same as a duck?

    Anyway, burn the witch!

    Ah, the charm of local traditions from local places....

  27. gerryg

    In my world

    Motorists crash into lamp posts, illuminated keep left signs (other types of illuminated street signage equally vulnerable) bridges, each other, pedestrians, cyclists (I know, I've weakened my case)

    We could paint everything yellow and erect barriers around it but that still wouldn't solve the problem that 99% of motorists think they are above average drivers

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In my world

      "We could paint everything yellow and erect barriers around it but that still wouldn't solve the problem that 99% of motorists think they are above average drivers "

      And ... more than half of them are right (assuming that the 1% who don't think they are better-than-average drivers are probably all correct)

  28. Maty
    Stop

    There's always one ...

    A friend of mine used to live in Namibia. His work used to involve driving across a bit of the Kalahari desert that was so flat and empty that there was no road - you just took a compass bearing and set off.

    In all those kilometers of emptiness there was one tree - a baobab. It was such a distinctive feature that it was marked on maps. Then one day someone drove a truck into it, irrecoverably damaging the thing.

    If that tree got hit, then a rock in the middle of a highway stands no chance. Sooner or later some idiot will always come along.

    ('Stop' sign, obviously)

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I would put it to you

    that all the 'bloody moron' comments here are from those majority drivers who think they're nigh-on if not actually experts at it - and so are complacent drivers, i.e. accidents waiting for a place to happen.

    And not (veteran) bikers.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: I would put it to you

      It's not (just) the fact he hit it that people are mocking. It's because he doesn't see any blame on his part and is suing for damages.

  30. x 7

    Devil connections...........

    You do all realise that the "Devil" connections will date from pre-Christian pagan religious rituals, and that the stone may well have been a sacrificial altar, with young maidens having their throats cut while being held down on it.

    Personally I think the tradition should be revived, so that anyone who damages the sacred stone gets sacrificed to the old religion. That should solve the problem of drunk women driving into it

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Devil connections...........

      According to wikipedia, the devil connections are believed to have been made up by a previous pub landlord in order to get more people coming into his pub.

      In other words it's all about the beer, which as we know is sacred to the FSM.

  31. thomas k

    "It's hard to tell who's Old Harry when everyone's wearing boots." - G. Eliot

  32. channel extended

    I say put

    A constables office in front. Then there is no question of idiocy!

  33. raving angry loony

    Bloody bureaucrats!

    It's not an "obstruction". It's a "traffic calming measure". It's been there for fucking centuries, and because some gormless, inattentive twat ran into it they're going to move it?

    The guy who ran into it should be charged for any scratches to this irreplaceable historical relic!

    (Just noticed this: In total, your posts have been upvoted $FOO times and downvoted $FOO/6.7 times. Must try to be less agreeable.)

  34. Martin Cable

    If...

    ...you don't see a 2ft high boulder in the middle of the road, one has to wonder what you are doing behind the wheel.

  35. MJI Silver badge

    There used to be a lamp post

    That would have stopped people trying to dent the rock.

    That would be safer and allow people to watch it at night having its roll around

  36. spot

    No council would move Ayers Rock if someone ran into it. If The Soulbury Boot is declared sacred by the villagers that ought to ensure it stays put. Maybe they should apply for World Heritage recognition to be on the safe side.

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