As the school summer holidays draw to a close, LittleBear and I have embarked on something of a road trip. For some time, well, OK, since we went to the Isle of Wight two years ago, I've been promising LittleBear we'd go to the Jurassic Coast and go fossil hunting. So, I've booked a long weekend away with him, and arranged a fossil-hunting tour, and we're on the way! (And, with reference to the above post, we're staying in a hotel, so I don't have to do any cooking or cleaning! Hooray!)
But it turns out the Jurassic Coast is quite a long way from East Anglia, so we're taking it in stages. And we're doing it without BigBear, who doesn't have enough leave left from work. So it's a solo-parenting road-trip. First stop: GrannyBear's house.
There is little to note about the trip so far, consisting of 5 hours at work (with a hangover), a frenzied hour of packing (with a hangover), collecting LittleBear from holiday club (with a hangover), and driving for 2.5 hours on The Road From Hell (with a hangover)*. It wasn't my favourite day of the holiday. And I'm close to falling out with my SatNav already.
Here are my issues with my SatNav:
1. It doesn't have a "don't behave like a git" setting, and is therefore quite capable of suggesting I leave the motorway at a junction, whizz round the roundabout and rejoin straightaway, just to leap-frog a few hundred yards of stationary traffic. I am not that kind of an arse, and I don't want my SatNav turning me into one. So far I have kept enough of a beady eye upon it that I have not fallen for this particular scam.
2. It doesn't seem to have a "please don't take me down almost non-existent roads" settings. This is akin to the "don't behave like a git" setting that's missing. I don't like taking the kind of short-cut that involves zooming down single-track roads or dodging through sleepy residential areas with children playing in the streets. I know it's my job as a driver not to make stupid decisions about routes, and not to blindly follow my SatNav wherever it may take me, but it's not necessarily obvious that a road is going to degenerate into the kind that has grass down the middle, and aeroplanes skimming the hedges in front of me as I make a split-second decision about whether to turn onto it. Which is what happens along Tilehouse Lane as it passes Denham Aerodrome, as I now know.
3. There is no way, upon reaching my destination, of asking the SatNav, "where the hell have I just been?" Names flicked by on signposts, road numbers jumbled together as I turned from one to another, until I finally reached safe, recognised, known turf, at which point I was beyond tired, wallowing in bewilderment and simply wanted to know what insane route I'd just taken in an effort to avoid 10 miles of the The Road From Hell. And yet the SatNav just blinked blandly at me and told me I'd arrived at my destination. Where I've been remains a mystery.
Tomorrow, as I undertake the second leg of the journey, I hope to stick to roads that at least have a line down the middle of them.
* I feel duty-bound to point out that I have reached a rather distressing time of life where a single drink results in a hangover. I find this deeply, deeply unfair, and yet it hasn't exactly stopped me drinking entirely. Yet. One glass of wine will generally make me feel rather unwell for at least an hour the following morning. My lasted-almost-all-day hangover was the result of drinking two, not particularly strong, pints of beer the previous evening. Deeply, deeply unfair.