Tuesday 8 September 2009


Last Friday the wretched satnav deposited my grandson-in-law and me in the wrong location in deepest, darkest Norfolk. I suspected that something was amiss when it took us off the google route but, fool that I am, I decided to ignore google and stick with the fool in the car. Hey, a top of the range satnav that is reading the road conditions straight from the satellite can’t be wrong, can it? Oh yes it can!

So…Einstein’s definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I am proud to report that the very next morning I put this theory to the test and, guess what, he was right. I am now officially classified insane.

On Saturday morning I punched our wedding destination into the satnav and off we set to a tightly timed schedule only to end up on a very nice suburban road that went for miles winding around neat houses, bumping over sleeping policemen, obviously lost.

The second person that we asked for directions guessed where it might be and off we charge again, racing against the clock. No, that’s not right either. Then I remembered that there was a “Church Street” on the satnav list so we tried again and bingo, finally found the church.

Hellishly late we abandoned the car and we made a run for it, hair blowing wildly in a gale,. “Quick” said the photographers, “the bride hasn’t arrived yet, she’s late”. Whew, thank goodness for that.

Unfortunately, our hurried approach was heard by the organist and, as we staggered in, to our horror, she struck up “Here comes the bride”. The vicar started to frantically flap his arms around in an attempt to warn her to stop but by this time the congregation had all stood and were gaping at two red faced, flustered, dishevelled and embarrassed guests, one clutching a fascinator in a hot sweaty hand. They very unkindly laughed.

When we sat down I attempted to don my very attractive fascinator only to be told by OG that it didn’t look quite right. I took it off. He said my hair didn’t look quite right either. We both attempted to "fluff it up a bit" but the mirror told the story -on top of everything else I was experiencing an incredibly bad hair day!

But I digress. The wedding. It was a beautiful, simple service with much laughter and joy. Then on to Emmanuel College Cambridge for that typically English tradition, canapés, Pimms and champagne on the lawn followed by a meal in the dining hall. The word to describe the day was “perfect”.

But all good things must come to an end and OG, not being social butterfly, always likes to leave before the heavy drinking starts and people start getting silly. Me? I like to get silly! Time to go.

Ah! the main gate was locked and the porter’s lodge empty, as in no porter to open it for us. We went on a reccy to find another exit, eventually stumbling across an elderly academic couple walking slowly, but purposefully. OG asked if they were making their way to an exit and, as they confirmed that they were, asked if we could follow them. They looked bemused and agreed. He muttered that they had “a special key” to open a gate.

After quite a long trek and the use of the “special key” we found ourselves in a back alley where, again totally lost, we were forced to ask for directions to the Crown Plaza. The puzzled man (probably the Lord High Justice or something grand) asked why, if we wanted to go to the Crown Plaza, we hadn’t used the main gate. When we told him it was locked. He said “but you should have gone through the door in the porter’s lodge, that’s always left open”. Shit!

And finally …everyday you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.
Winston Churchill.


Marian Dean said...

An hilarious tale sounding all too familiar like a trip to Folkestone we made last month... only a matter of 40 miles, brother in law was driving with his posh new sat nav on board, all wrong!!! We ended up buying a street map, in Folkestone ,so we could get to our destination.

Love Granny

Maggie May said...

A great read!
Funny....... brings back feelings of deja vu.

DogLover said...

Ah, SatNavs. We were due to meet our cousin, a retired university professor and a genuine polymath, at a pub we used to know near Newbury. I had put the postcode (zip code) into the SatNav, so we knew we'd get there.

It took us on to a motorway, which puzzled us a bit because we were clearly somewhere near our destination, but we supposed that it knew what it was doing. After a mile, it told us we were at our destination which was clearly quite wrong: even in England pubs aren't situated on a motorway.

We had to continue to the next exit, 10 miles away, before we could get off the motorway and come back. We should by now be saying hello to our cousin.

We raced back and got off the motorway, went up a road we recognised and saw a pub ahead. But it was the wrong name, so we continued another two miles. Eventually we came back and stopped at the pub to ask our way. "You're here," they said, "we've changed the name".

Behind us was our cousin - "Traffic bad?" he queried. "Shocking," we said.

What had gone wrong? The SatNav had only taken in the first four digits and not the full six! I still don't know why.

jay said...

Hahaha! Oh yes, I've had our 'Susan' direct me to the middle of fields, tell me to take a right on a non-existent roundabout, and literally lead me round in a big circle. But I still use them.

They do need upgrading from time to time, I think.

Love the story about trying to get out and then finding the gate had been open all the time! Just the sort of thing I would do! LOL!