I’ll be doing a lot of driving through a lot of
Europe with a 4- and a 5-year old on the back seat and no one in the passenger seat next to me over the next year or so. As soon as there are no obvious signs directing me to my destination (read: as soon as I’ve left the motorway) I will be in need of a map-consultation-stop at every junction. Not only have I got no sense of direction, my sense of any correct direction is usually the direct opposite. Friends will ask me: ‘C, where do you reckon?’ and I will think carefully and proclaim: ‘I reckon we should turn left!’ on the basis of which they will all turn right, knowing that is where we should be going then.
I’m not offended – I have simply come to terms with some of the facts of life.
So – today was the day. I tried the SatNav my parents kindly gave me this summer. I set the language to Dutch, thinking it would be a nice bit of exposure to that language for the kids while we were driving, and off we went. Asked the kids what name we would give the kind lady and the unanimous vote was for ‘Fluffy’. Of course I couldn’t work the thing out (give that girl a PhD). On the way out to my friends for some reason no directions were being provided, however this did not stop Fluffy from her other apparent duties: all I kept hearing were gentle reminders to ‘please observe the speed limit’ whenever I went any faster than 3 mph. Fluffy was switched off pretty promptly – I know where my friends live.
The return journey was slightly more interesting. I went from one, to a different set of friends, from whose house I always get lost on the way home. That, combined with his job in GPS type stuff (yes I’m blonde, just in case you’re beginning to wonder) meant I could not leave their house without Fluffy fully instructed with the coordinates of our house and blurting out instructions as to where to go next. Wonderful! I marvelled at the cleverness of the thing, how it tells you to turn left after 300m and then again exactly at the turning! Amazing – hurrah for technology. It only took me a split millisecond to completely surrender to this machine and let it guide me through the clever back routes to the M3.
What beautiful countryside
And such a lot of it.
Having identified the button with which you can switch off this thing to ‘avoid motorways’ (excuse me???) we happily joined the A303. Hurrah! Progress at last. What a shame about Fluffy’s constant need to comment on my driving. Mindful of the passengers in the back I refrained from commenting, but equally mindful of an empty road, 3 rumbling tummies and the fact tomorrow we’re all back to school, it actually didn’t even occur to me I might respond to Fluffy like a grown up. Imagine my glee when the two in the back at some point started talking back at her!! ‘Yes we’re doing that!’ unfortunately I soon realised they were not being loyal to their mother at all – it was just their poor grasp of the Dutch language. Whenever they heard her complaining about my 'snelheid', they thought Fluffy was telling me to join a 'snelweg' (motorway) & failed to observe I’d already done that (which I hadn’t, clearly, but you try & explain that to my two).
Oh well. Practice – lots of practice! J