Satnavs vs Maps

I may need a new satnav.

Its been at least a couple of years since I last used mine but on Monday I had to venture all the way down south into Northamptonshire and so took the satnav with me – then plugged it in when I was about ten miles from the address.

I was still on the M1 when it awoke from its two year slumber which must have been a shock for the poor thing as it instantly told me to turn immediately right – not something that is too easy to do on a British motorway – note to foreign readers, we drive on the left side of the road here, which is actually the right side (not the wrong side like most foreign parts).

After that the poor thing decided to run through its vocabulary, probably just to check that it could still talk and so I was rewarded with a complete listing of everything it could say, “Take the next left, turn right, at the roundabout take the third exit, turn left then right, right, right, right, stop and ask someone, my memory chips are fooked up”.

Fortunately the place I needed to be could be seen from the motorway and so I switched the satnav off and threw it on the back seat and there it lays until I’m desperate enough to use it again.

It was all so different in years gone by, in the days before satnavs you used maps, huge big sheets of paper with roads drawn on them, and you grew adept at reading them whilst not watching the road and sometimes you didn’t even drive over the kerb and into a ditch.

Or you could stop and ask someone, but the problem with stopping to ask someone even today is that people who live in the locality are often ashamed to admit that they don’t know where the local place is that you’re looking for and so they end up telling you anything, sending you off on wild goose chases down streets in the wrong direction, just because they couldn’t shrug their shoulders and say “Don’t know”.

I was once driving along a main road out in the countryside near to a town in West Yorkshire, completely lost, looking for a small district in the arse end of Wakefield called Altofts, clueless of where it was I saw an old woman walking along the pavement carrying a big shopping bag, I stopped the car and wound down the passenger side window, “Do you know where Altofts is love?” I called out.

Two seconds later she’s sitting in the passenger seat closing the door behind her, “Aye love” she says, “I’m going there, you can give me a lift”, to hell with personal safety, mine not hers, I drove off, still a little stunned by her forthright ways.

About three miles later we arrived in Normanton where there was a small market, its close to Altofts but its not Altofts.

“Stop here” she said, and so I did.

She climbed out of the car and turned back to me,

“Go down that road there”, she pointed to the next road on the left, “and then ask someone else”

Cheeky cow.


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