Sat nav rage -- and chaises longues in the Fens
I've begun to accept that I am rather missing the old road atlas.
I mean sat navs are great when you are on your own, trying to get to a destination you don't know in some busy central city. How many times have I been on my way to talk at a school, got in the wrong lane and found myself back on the ringroad that I came in on... and ended up 30 minutes late, while the assembled junior classicists got more and more restless, and the teachers more anxious, wondering when I would turn up? (This was the era before mobile phones too.)
But honestly, if you've got a passenger, and if s/he is a reasonably competent atlas reader, then s/he's a much better bet than the electronic voice. "You're going to be turning right in a bit, so I'd get in the right hand lane" is a lot more engaging than the damn woman who intones in her cyborg tones "prepare to turn right".
In fact, I've ended up pretty aggressive against the disembodied voice in my car (even if I do still use it.. partly because -- of course -- we've thrown our atlases away).
Currently, we have an integral, built-in sat nav. It came as a rather pricey extra with our little Vauxhall Corsa, but we were so fed up with the sort that you had to fix to the windscreen (they always fell off, so you ended up with it in your lap.. and how dangerous is that?). But the built-in one has had different problems.
For a start, about a week after we bought the car, we got a message telling us to update it, for £150. The husband decided that this was a rip off, after a week for heaven's sake! I agreed and we didn't update. The upshot was that we are driving around with a sat nav that appears to recognise no modern by-pass at all. So any trip through Peterborough or Bedford, on the nice new dual carriageways, is accompanied by a chorus of "rejoin the highway" (...but we're on the bloody highway you idiot...).
We've also had terrible difficulty in getting the volume fixed, so currently the damn woman whispers to us . . . and the map on the little screen itself shows about 50 metres around where you are, and we havent worked out how to change the scale (not for want of trying, I promise!).
This evening we were going into the Fens, and had already worked out that we wanted to go via Ely (thanks to the AA online route). The damn sat nav kept telling us to do a "U turn where possible" all the way up the A10. It turned out that it hadn't recognised the postcode PE13 and was trying to take us to PE1...ie central Peterborough.
Anyway the reason we were going into the Fens was that I was cutting the ribbon at the opening of Ludovic Potts's new restoration workshop in Guyhirn -- furniture etc restoration, that is. We have known Ludovic (pic above) for 20 years, when he turned a nice, wrecked chaise longue we had bought dead cheap into something you could actually sit on. And since then hehas brought back to life all kinds of bits and pieces we have (brilliantly honestly, I must say... he will often say, "If you really like this, restore it.. but I don't think you'd get your money back if you sold it".
Ludovic's story is a great one. He started off aged 16 on a Youth Training Scheme as a furniture restorer in Hertfordshire, started his own business in 1986.. and now he's really got a thriving operation, still doing all the stuff beautifully (there were demonstrations of this tonight).
And I was clipping the ribbon for the opening of the new premises.Cor. Pinch yourself Beard (ME??) and good luck Ludovic!