On Saturday I had a poggyW stand at a fair. This is not an unusual occurrence but
- I was going on my own and
- I had to drive somewhere I’d never been that was 30 miles away.
To the normal person this probably wouldn’t be an issue but people who know me will know that I am only happy driving if it’s within a 10 mile radius or I know the exact route forwards, backward and from every conceivable direction. (This fear comes from a particular trip years ago when I was driving from Somerset to Kent. It turned out I took the right road, just in the wrong direction – for 3 hours. I ended up in Cornwall).
In preparation I borrowed a sat nav, printed out an AA route planner map, located an A-Z of London and unearthed my map of the UK. I then discovered I had a Sat Nav on my phone and decided to embrace the new technology and try to use that. After all, if it worked, I’d be able to drive anywhere…the UK would be my oyster (as long as the Pog-mobile held out, of course.)
So anyway, on Saturday I did a practice run with the Sat Nav Man and was pleasantly surprised. He wasn’t up to much conversation but I remained polite, thanking him for each concise instruction. I even started to find his voice quite comforting and found myself wondering what he looked like…
But then the real trip started. We got on quite well until I turned off the M25. Man went strangely quiet. I looked down on my lap and realised my phone had slipped to the top of my legs and ‘lost gps signal’ was showing. I managed to pull over and reset it all so not to worry, but then realised that Man moved quite a lot. I propped him on the dashboard, proud of myself for finding a solution so fast….but it turns out there is a gap between my steering wheel and my dashboard and I caught him just before he fell the whole way through it.
I decided the solution was to drive like a granny so he wouldn’t move much (I’d allowed myself 1.5 hours so time wasn’t too much of an issue). We started getting on quite well. He’d prompt me for speed cameras and reassure me to ‘continue straight’ at regular intervals. It turns out though, that ‘stay left’ actually means ‘take the exit on the left’. I realised this as ‘recalculating’ flashed up when I stayed left but sailed past an exit and on to the Blackwall Tunnel. I shouldn’t have been anywhere near the Blackwall Tunnel. At this point I’m sure Man took on a slightly sarcastic tone as he told me to ‘take the next left, then turn right and immediately right again’. We kind of fell out at this point.
We eventually made it to the fair, which was great, but then I had to get back home.
We circled the area for so long I wondered if I’d re-entered the postcode for the fair, but decided I should trust in Man. He knew his stuff after all. And sure enough we started on the route for Bumpkinsville. Trust, see? That’s all you need. Well, that and a Man who stays awake. Because he went to sleep. I realised this when we drove past the exit for the M25 and the only signs on whatever road I was on were for Dover. I don’t live anywhere near Dover. I considered pulling the car over and crying. It was dark, I couldn’t see for the rain and I’d packed all my poggyW on top of the printed maps. Then I remembered that the Pog-mobile has window wipers (I keep forgetting that bit of functionality) and at least I could see again.
Eventually I re-awoke man while driving down a motorway that I still couldn’t name. And he did manage to take me home. It was just via a heap of places that it shouldn’t have been.
I think it’s safe to say that I won’t be travelling the length and breadth of the UK with Man as my only companion in the near future. Apart from anything else, he seemed a little too life like for my liking…:o)