Wednesday, September 6, 2017

For the Love of God - I'm Just Trying to get to Tesco!

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. 


14 comments:

  1. Even with proper signage, presumably Google Maps just LOVES to get me lost in the middle of rural South Carolina. Every single time.

    I feel you will know your way around soon enough. Even the back/side roads.

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  2. Welcome to Canada. I complain about signage or lack thereof every single day. I guess we learned it from the mother country. Sigh.

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  3. Oh, I feel your pain! We always laugh because our satnav will say, "Take a left onto the Road" or "Turn right into the Street' because (obviously) nobody in the world knows the name of that Road or Street - least of all, the people who make the satellite maps. The other thing we have run into here is what we call the 'penalty Lane'. This is where you miss the turning (usually because it's poorly marked or the satnav doesn't tell you to turn) and then, after a long recalculation, are directed to turn left into the next lane (because this inevitably happens in the country) and you find yourself on the narrowest, most rutted, overgrown-with-hedegerows lane you can imagine. This typically is designed to get you where you're going, but at great cost to your car and your emotional stability. We've decided it's a punishment for missing the turning, hence its designation as a 'penalty' lane. Sounds like otherwise you're settling in nicely, which is good to hear. x

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    Replies
    1. Penalty lane. Ha ha ha. I will have to tell the Ball & Chain about that one.

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  4. During my early days in Blighty, I found myself on a big, scary roundabout, looking for helpful signs, like we have in the US, saying something like "Route 7 North" or "South I-88." But all I had to go by were signs reading "Basingstoke" and "Bracknell" and, not only did I not want to go to either of those places, I didn't even know were they were. So I went around the roundabout seven or eight times, then made a random (naturally, wrong) choice.

    Sixteen years later, driving in this country still makes me weep.

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    Replies
    1. It is a challenge when you don't know the area. Sigh.

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  5. Visited friends in France with my family a goodly while back, when GPS navigation was still a novelty. We headed off to a table d'hôte with our French friends near Chenonceaux. 1) Village not listed in the sat-nav directory. 2) Predictable lack of signage. 3) Roads, being ancient, do not go in any logical directions. 4) Locals don't know how to get there either. It became a bit of a farce, with us driving through the SAME village three times. Second time, we asked for directions, which locals could not provide. Third time, asked again, in the local bar, where a rather tipsy patron offered to lead us there as she was driving that direction. Her driving was erratic (to say the least), but she did get us where we wanted to go. Unsurprisingly, we had been within minutes of the place the whole time.

    I laughed until I was almost sick.

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    1. Not sure I would have been laughing though! What a nightmare.

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    2. Ah, well. We were in a jolly holiday mood (I was, anyhow). The whole thing was reminiscent of a rather clichéed comedy script. And we did get there, after all. In time for an absolutely scrumptious dinner, no less, and a cool off in the pool.

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  6. The other thing we have run into here is what we call the 'penalty Lane'. This is where you miss the turning (usually because it's poorly marked or the satnav doesn't tell you to turn) and then, after a long recalculation, are directed to turn left into the next lane (because this inevitably happens in the country) and you find yourself on the narrowest, most rutted, overgrown-with-hedegerows lane you can imagine.

    หนังตลก

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    Replies
    1. Ha ha, yes. Or, as happened to me the other day, I missed a turn and had to drive for over two miles to find somewhere I could stop and turn around in. Pah.

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  7. So I went around the roundabout seven or eight times, then made a random (naturally, wrong) choice.


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