Mum's Gone to…God Knows Where

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I had just got out of the shower. Wrapped in a towel I walked to the bedroom window and looked out over the fields at the back of the house. Suddenly I heard a voice:


I screamed and dropped the towel.

There was no-one there. My heart was racing. I thought I was alone in the house as Dougie had already gone out and I was sure the door was locked. Then I spied where the voice was coming from. In the corner of the room was our trusty Sat Nav, happily charging itself. Obviously, now charged, it had come to life and frightened the life out of me. Why my daft husband had decided to charge it in the bedroom rather than in the car itself was beyond me (he told me later, after laughing like a drain, that as it was completely dead it had needed a proper boost as it sometimes took a while to pick up the signal).

Our experiences with TomToms and the like have been hit and miss. Even choosing the voice caused an argument. We eventually plumped for Jane as Dougie said there was something reassuringly familiar about ranting at a female voice if she got it wrong. Despite a degree in Geography, map-reading has never been my strong point. Ask me about ox-bow lakes and the regional consequences of Thatcherism in the 1980s and I’m your girl. Ask me whether it’s left or right at the next junction and I’m flummoxed.

You may wonder why we took a fly-drive holiday to Iceland? Thankfully there is only one  main road on the island so you just keep going clockwise. Though at one point, coming away from Reykjavik, we did travel anti-clockwise for 10 kilometres.

Buoyed by this success, the following year we tackled a fly-drive round Eastern Canada and this is where our GPS nightmares were real corkers:

We had pre-booked a Sat Nav and I sat fiddling with it in the basement of the car hire garage in Toronto, keying in the address for our next stop. The garage was located on Yonge Street which is apparently the longest street in the world and, I quote, “one of the busiest traffic arteries in Toronto”. Great.

As we pulled out of the garage and started to move, we waited for our lovely satnav lady to tell us what to do…..

“…deux cents metres, tournez a gauche”

“WHAT THE F**k WAS THAT?”, blasted hubby.

“Erm, I think it’s French”, I reply


“Err…hang on a minute, I’ll have a listen”


“I’ll translate…..err, left, it’s left, look there’s the little white arrow”


“Left! Left here. Now! Just turn!”

Thankfully he managed to turn into a fairly quiet street where we parked up and I altered the language on the GPS so we could have a nice English-speaking woman to swear at.

Things improved slightly until later in the holiday when we tried to locate our hotel in Montreal. If you would like to read the full post go to Mum’s Gone to Canada – Day 11. Let’s just say, keep a map handy if you plan to drive through a tunnel!

I could go on with my Sat Nav stories but will leave it there for now. Would love to hear your tales of the perils of GPS, map-reading or general husband/wife car squabbles! Come on, please share so I can take some comfort that we’re not the only ones.


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  1. TheMadHouse

    April 26, 2010 3:53 pm

    Sat Nav has actually made me feel much happier and confident when driving on my own, plus it got us out a pretty sticky situation when an accident shut a road we were travelling on in Paris!

    Oh I am crap with maps, reading in the car makes me feel sick!

  2. Expat mum

    April 26, 2010 7:34 pm

    Our new car has GPS which is great as Mapquest print outs always turn out to be dead wrong. However the GPS lady is a little bit of a cheater. You plug in an address and she tells you that she'll start giving you directions – "in a minute" (or words to that effect.) Basically, the GPS needs the car to move a little before it can start directing you. Which is no help at all when you don't know whether to move forwards, backwards, turn right or left. I usually move in the wrong direction and given that Chicago is all one way streets, end up having to drive a quarter of a mile before the instructions start. Pah!

  3. Heather

    April 26, 2010 8:04 pm

    There really is little point in having sat nav where we live, there are very few roads. Although I have heard tales of tourists using it and being sent down snowed in lanes that are closed in the winter due to the sat nav thinking it was a more direct route than using the big open snow ploughed road.

  4. Very Bored in Catalunya

    April 27, 2010 8:08 am

    Sat navs are terrible things, I refuse to use ours, what wrong with road signs and maps eh? OH has ours tuned into some weird dude called Doctor Nightmare, every now and again on a long journey, he'll blurt out things like 'what's that noise coming from the trunk?' 'do you fancy a trip to the cemetery?' and 'my other car's a hearse'. Great fun! *raises eyebrows*

  5. Trish @ Mum's Gone to...

    April 27, 2010 9:12 am

    @mammatalk – it was absolutely as I've written it: sounds made-up but honestly I was starkers, shrieking like a harpy.

    @themadhouse – you're right, they have helped us out on many occasions, but we do have this habit of believing them when they aren't infallible.

    @expatmum – Hi Cuz! That happens with ours too – doesn't quite get going until you've made the wrong choice.

    @kelloggsville – I read your post; very funny. Thankfully we don't argue much at all outside the confines of the car.

    @Heather – I hadn't thought of that. Again, we forget to use our common sense.

    @mummmmeeee – makes me feel so much better to know you're having big ding-dongs too!

    @vegemitevix – glad to amuse (and it's all completely true; you couldn't make it up!)

    @verybored – love the idea of Doctor Nightmare: would be a refreshing change from prim and proper Jane.


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