Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Map happy

Are we the only family left in England without a sat-nav? This week the Littleboys and I drove to see my friend, International Escapee Mummy, who naughtily married an American and left the country, but is presently ensconced in darkest Surrey en route from Minnesota to Dubai (read all about it on her brilliant blog here).

Both International Escapee Mummy and her mum were impressed that I had managed to arrive without help from such a device, particularly as I had come from a different direction from usual, and had to negotiate the wilds of central Woking on my way.

Turns out that even International Escapee Mummy’s husband, who is a jumbo jet pilot, is a fully paid up fan of the sat-nav, and they even have one with the voice of Eddie Izzard. I also read in the paper this weekend that you can now get one featuring Kit, the car from Knight Rider (oh, those long ago days when David Hasselhoff was cool….) and that the most popular one in the UK features the voice of John Cleese as Basil Fawlty.

Clearly we are not up to speed with the world of the sat-nav, but to tell the truth, it hadn’t really occurred to me that we should get one. Driving my offspring around London, I’m so accustomed to simultaneously having to read an A –Z, drive the car, and placate the Littleboys because they have dropped their tractor/football/beaker on the floor in the back of the car – surely it’s all part of the multi-tasking challenge that is motherhood? Littleboy 1 helpfully also likes to provide directions – he knows the route from Nursery so well that if I take a detour he yells out “NOT THAT WAY”.

What’s more, The Doctor is resolutely against any form of computerised directions.
Instead, he has a vast collection of Ordnance Survey maps, one for every area of the country we have ever set foot in, plus an array of foreign Atlases. We are about to set off on holiday to Norway, so he has already excitedly lined up his trip to Stanfords in Covent Garden this week. (The rudimentary road maps that come with hire cars are never quite good enough; they don't show those exciting little minor roads that look like such a good short cut but cunningly peter out into a rutted track at some point.) And, if we had a sat-nav, we would have missed out on so many adventures – like the confusing turn-off at Genoa that led us straight to the ferry port instead of the motorway.

GPS? Pah. Who needs it….

9 comments:

Frog in the Field said...

We don't have Sat Nav!!
It wouldn't get you to our house either, every rep who comes to see me phones from a mile away to say their sat nav took them to the wrong place....it's rubbish!!

The Dotterel said...

There were large signs here during recent roadworks instructing drivers to 'IGNORE SAT-NAV' due to the number of lorries getting stuck. Maps are much better (especially if you've got a passenger who's an expert reader).

Frog in the Field said...

I've tagged you, come and visit, sorry...but you know I do have to pass these things on!

Tattie Weasle said...

Great to read you - thanks for dropping by. Did enjoy this one. The joys of Sat Nav...getting lost and being able to blame it on the computer rather than your hapless co-driver! This in our household is a boon as despite me saying turn right here he invariably quibbles my instructions then says he won't turn round and usually lands up getting us lost anyway. I'm all for it as long as it works properly....I'm sure I'll still land up on a blasted heath miles form anywhere....

Potty Mummy said...

Hi Valley Girl, thanks for dropping by, and your posts sound suspiciously like you live in a parallel universe to South Ken, only (whisper it) South of the River...

And am sure your friend will be delighted to learn that there's a buggy on sale in the US for a paltry $3000 dollars that has - you guessed it - sat nav built in. I guess it must be for the exhausted Phillipino nannies after working a 20 hour day - because if you can spend £1500 on a buggy, my guess is that you won't be pushing it yourself....

girl with the mask said...

My life was changed my sat nav. I borrowed one once and ever since have huffed and puffed everywhere I travel without one because THEY MADE IT SO GOD DAMNED EASY. So I've stopped going anywhere.

x

valley girl said...

Agreed, Dottorel and Frog, you read so many horror stories about sat navs that even if I did have one, I would probably spend the whole time worrying that it was wrong.

Tattie, I hadn’t thought of satnav as a deflector of marital strife – although on balance I reckon The Doctor’s irritation with the satnav would actually be worse than the bickering over the map.

Potty Mummy, a buggy with sat-nav sounds extraordinary (although I know you can get GPS devices for your kids too!). Personally I would like a pram with a homing device, so that if I lose it again (see January 08) I can just whistle or something and it would come.

Girl with the mask, I find all technology has this effect –eg. I never look up an address now until the last minute because I think, oh I can just Google it. Works a treat, until your broadband connection is down, or husband switched off the computer before leaving the house and you don’t have time to fire it all up again before you go to work.

PS and thank you Frog for tagging me – will have a think about fave blogs over my week in Norway...

International Escapee Mummy said...

A stroller with sat-nav! We'd still be late everywhere and it would probably only last 5 mins, given that the only person pushing the stroller at the moment is The Toddler himself!
As for the Eddie Izzard voice-over - I'm wondering how we can get rid of it now, as it won't be too much longer before The Toddler repeats one of the more colourful refrains, ie, 'Stop p***ing me off!' - probably in front of the in-laws!

valley girl said...

You could get the Basil Fawlty one, then Toddler could go round saying 'don't mention the war'!