Friday 22 August 2008

Only bad drivers blame their sat navs

Weight a blessed mystery; 6.4 units of alcohol went down my neck yesterday evening; I have 1,262 more days to waste; M62.

You know how you read about those idiots who end up driving down farm tracks, railway lines or canals because their sat navs told them to do so, and you think “How could anyone be so stupid?”

Well, this morning I typed “Burton, Cheshire” into my sat nav and drove for the best part of an hour thinking that it was a very strange way to get to the cattery which the LTCB had taken the trouble to point out to me after her riding lesson last night. Eventually I pulled over to take a look at a conventional map, and quickly worked out that I should actually have selected “Burton, South Wirral”, which is in completely the opposite direction. Luckily the two cats in the carrier on the front passenger seat could not speak, but their looks said quite enough.

Having safely deposited them with their temporary carers, I then got lost again trying to replicate the return route on which the LTCB had taken me last night. Once more I turned on my trusty sat nav, confident that at least the LTCB’s home address was accurately entered onto the system, and it led me onwards for a couple of miles … so that I could turn around in a bus turning circle rather than performing the three point turn I had been planning to make in the first place. Back in Chester, I stupidly allowed it to lead me to a bridge which I knew full well was closed for road works. All in all, a great demonstration that Common Sense will trump New Technology every time, if only one applies it.

Having filled the rest of the morning writing my newspaper column for next Tuesday, I felt that I deserved a decent lunch and walked to the pub I have come to think of as the Curmudgeons’ Arms. Here I encountered the legendary landlord for the first time, and was totally unsurprised to find that he bore an uncanny physical resemblance to a late friend who was renowned as the most miserable publican in Northumberland. Perhaps this great man’s finest moment was glowering at a couple who had had the temerity to enquire “Is this your bar menu?” as they picked one up from the, er, bar. To which their host replied, in a tone of withering contempt, “What does it look like? A f***ing bus timetable?” Funnily enough they found that they had lost their appetites.

Since my last visit the Chester curmudgeon had stuck up a new blackboard by the door, bearing the boldly chalked legend, “Don’t!! Bring your stag-hen or pub crawl here. We don’t need you. We don’t want you. We won’t serve you!!” Marvellous. That will be why I was his only customer under the age of 65, and the only man not wearing a suit and tie.

It was not the two pints of beer that did the damage, nor even the pork scratchings or the cottage pie with spiced red cabbage. No, I think I can safely say that it was the chocolate bars I ate afterwards because they were on a “three for the price of two” special offer at the shop I passed on my way home. How am I ever going to achieve my target weight of 12st 7lb without undergoing an amputation? Admittedly my overeating does increase the chances of contracting Type 2 diabetes and having to have a leg off, but I think even my sat nav would spot that that is not the right way forward.

This evening I drove the LTCB, the dog and me from Chester to Northumberland, on roads that proved surprisingly quiet given that it was a bank holiday weekend. The sat nav did not lead us astray once. But then I knew exactly where I was going.

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