They say pride comes before a fall and I should have seen it coming. I have just had a friend staying for a few days and she got hopelessly lost (or in her words "Where the hell am I?") on her way to me the other day.
"I've just passed this huge church and a white pub", she wailed.
"Oh you're fine", I assured her. "Just keep going, turn right at the lights and you're here".
You can't imagine the sense of accomplishment I felt at recognising local landmarks (without the name of the church or the pub, I might add), and being able to guide her to my house. "I'm home. I belong", I thought to myself, in a moment of over-the-top self congratulations.
Flash forward to this morning when I dropped Man Child Mark Two off at school then ambitiously decided to head straight for a near-ish Tesco Superstore without having to come back home and start from scratch. I looked at Google maps, made myself a quick list of left-right turns and was feeling pretty confident. I even remembered to put the re-usable bags in the boot/trunk fer cryin' out loud. That's how on the ball I was.
And then I made a wrong turn. ONE WRONG TURN. That's all it took. The roads not being anywhere near straight round here, I was soon heading back in the direction I had come, and straight into the longest queue at the temporary traffic lights near my house. I don't even know the area well enough to dart off along a side street and do anything fancy and time-saving.
The thing about the signage in the UK is that it can be fairly terrible. Last summer, when staying at my mother's, the kids and I headed off into the country for some zip-lining and general hard work. (I watched.) Again, I had mapped the journey, complete with A and B road numbers. I knew it wasn't going to be easy (windy, tiny roads) but I wasn't prepared for the TOTAL LACK of road numbers at every roundabout. I mean, what's the point of them if they're never used. Every roundabout had the name of a teeny, tiny village but no number. Of course since we were out in the middle of nowhere Google Maps gave up the ghost and we were left trying to figure out directions by the position of a hardly visible sun.
Round these parts, my particular village is rarely sign-posted, even from a few miles away. You have to learn where it is in relation to the places that have hit the mapping-jackpot. And then you get to a roundabout that has no mention of your place and more than one exit for nearby villages! Yes! I'm not joking!
Is it any wonder that I can barely make it to Tesco without tears.