Tuesday, October 17, 2017


What do you think of SatNavs? Do you use one?

Dave has no innate sense of direction, so when he was given one a few years ago it revolutionised his journeys. He loved it so much that for the first two weeks he had it switched on and talking to him all the time, even when he drove the three and a half miles into Bakewell. Well, you know Dave.

On our first long joint trip to a foreign place (somewhere in Gloucestershire) Dave had it plugged in and programmed and I sat with the road atlas on my knee. I like maps. I like to plan out the route before i go and if necessary write myself notes and directions. It became clear on this maiden voyage that my idea of the most sensible route did not match that of the SatNav - or 'Jane' as we called her then. This led to increasing frustration and animosity between me and Jane, and me and Dave, so I surrendered to both of them. We got there just fine, of course.

Since then I have always spurned the thing for trips on my own to new places. Last night I had to be somewhere in Sheffield that I had never been before. I had to be there for 6 p.m. so I was driving through the rush hour and the venue was in the middle of one of those fast moving one-way systems. There were arrows on the google map showing direction of travel on some of the streets but not all. I looked at the map in the morning and again before I set off and memorised a visual image. Yes - you know what happened - I went sailing past where I needed to be. Do you recall that scene towards the the end of Little Miss Sunshine where they can see the hotel they need to be in but have no idea where the bloody entrance is, and in the end they just drive through a barrier and go for it across a place they really really shouldn't be? It was not like that.

I ended up parked on a street within a few minutes walk of the venue but I didn't know which way to walk. Fortunately I have a tongue in my head. I got there just fine. But that was in daylight. The meeting finished at 9 o'clock and it was dark. I found my way back to the car but had NO IDEA and I mean NO IDEA which way to go. That part of Sheffield is alien to me and it is very near a dual carriageway that leads straight to the M1. I didn't want to end up in Leeds. So I plugged in Jane and tapped HOME and followed her directions. With her help, I got within sight of a familiar landmark - Sheffield University Arts Tower. As soon as I reached it, I switched Jane off.

I shall never be rude about her again, and next week when I have to do the trip again, I shall programme in my destination. So I guess I'm converted, but only in extremis.


marmee said...

gosh I too sneered at any form of assistance! I can read a map I used to say. Then I started using the google maps app on my phone because a very direct way( sort of mountain pass) to a oarticular area was closed due to a rockfall and i needed to go via the backroads. Well, I too was converted there and then. And had my grandson in the childseat in the back commenting on the lady saying :Exit the roundabout NOW ! So i was entertained as well as guided.

Anonymous said...

I always feel guilty when I disobey the SAT NAV's directions, especially when it gets persistent. Ridiculous I know,that's the time to turn it off!

Sue Hepworth said...

Actually, I find that Jane is very forgiving and also flexible, unlike some humans. If you stick to your guns she will often bend and find another way.