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Ode to Sat Nav

Ode to Sat Nav


A sense of direction is, unfortunately, one of those things you either have or don't have. I sometimes wonder had I been forced to join the army, had I been heli dropped into the rain-lashed  depths of Dartmoor with nothing but a compass for company would it have made any difference?

When we lived in London I existed without Sat Nav and car journeys were one, long, screeched riddle which my desk-bound husband was forced to interpret: 'Asda on my right, station on my left, where am I?'
We bought our first Satellite Navigation System the day we moved to the country. It was literally life changing.
People, anyone, even complete strangers, could say 'come round for a cup of tea' and I'd answer, 'yes I'll be there'. I might take two and a half hours longer than necessary and cross three counties depending on my sat nav's temperament that day but I'll be there.
Three years passed in an almost seamless haze of accepting invitations and honouring the engagement. Then the thing broke.
Sense of direction gets worse with age, I'm sure of it. If I was heli dropped onto Dartmoor now, the crows would be picking over my bones a couple of months later for sure.
Recently I took on virgin territory (unassisted) in an attempt to make a three year old's birthday party, excited pirate in the back seat.
The thing about the country is there are no landmarks. You can drive around in a circle for hours, goldfish-like, thinking is that the same convention of cows I passed ten minutes ago or a different one?
I didn't really know the hostess of the party but by the fifth phone call we were pretty well acquainted.
'What have you done now?' she inquired in a tone of utter bemusement.
Then my phone gave up.
When the tear-stained pirate and I eventually made it home, I didn't even bother taking my coat off before I logged on to order a new Sat Nav.
I like this one much better. She has a great personality and really goes the extra mile, as it were, urging me to slow down when a speed camera comes into view and not to rush through villages.
She's more like a best friend than a navigation system. Sometimes she even compliments me on my driving.
'The way you handled that roundabout really takes my breath away.'
'Awesome reversing.'
I can go anywhere, any place, any time. The freedom is electrifying.
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