Friday, 15 April 2011

An arrogant bustard

Whilst sitting over a cup of coffee and a toasted cheese sandwich on the way back from Berkshire yesterday evening, Jon asked whether I would be able to do a ‘Jon is an idiot’ kind of blog recounting anything silly that he had done whilst we had been away. Placing the half of sandwich that I had been tucking into back onto the plate, I placed myself in typical thinker pose and, whilst scratching my head, replied that I was sure I could think of something.

Sadly, if I am to tell the truth, I did reply along the lines of ‘Well, der!’ and - with hindsight - probably rather too quickly. I had tried so hard to leave as long a pause in between his question and my answer so as not to appear too eager, but I failed miserably. In my defence, I was hungry and wished to resume the demolition of my toasted cheese sandwich. I must also add here, that this all took place only a few seconds before Jon took a drink from his glass of Diet Coke and managed to stab himself in the eye with the straw. And as all of you will know, Jon wears glasses so to do this was not as easy a task as it might at first seem.

To be honest, I don’t think he actually did do anything too Jonathanesque on this trip, apart from nearly exposing certain parts of his body - which would mostly likely not be a good idea to reveal in public - on a couple of occasions when his braces came undone at the back, with a resounding ping. The following scramble to avert the ‘trousers around the ankles’ scenario may well have provided a highly entertaining video to put on CFZtv, but unfortunately the situation called for immediate attention, not allowing me to obtain the camera from the camera bag that sat tantalisingly on the back seat of the car.

The sat nav, however, surpassed itself in its mis-directional stupidity. So much so that both Jon and I screamed at it to shut up, before it was unceremoniously unplugged and then dropped further along in our journey (albeit by mistake) when Jon opened the car door, not realising that when he pulled the plug from the cigarette lighter socket with sour-tempered gusto, the wire had flown back and become twisted around one of his legs. You never know, the event may have knocked some sense into it. The cause of our testiness with it? I can explain if you would care to know. Usually, when approaching roundabouts, the lady inside the tiny box tells me which exit to take (in fact she makes sure I don’t forget by repeating the information several times on the approach to them). But at least three times last night, she took us back to the same roundabout and told me – with no emotion in her voice whatsoever - to turn right, then right again.

She seemed determined that she wished me to park the car on top of the grassy, daffodil encrusted mound in the centre of the roundabout for some peculiar reason only known to herself. No matter how hard we tried to navigate ourselves out of town by – we thought- making acceptable sense out of her instructions, she managed to take us back to the damn roundabout. So, in the end, we decided to go with the flow and interpret her ramblings in a sat-nav kind of way, and did as we thought we were being told by pretending we were tiny boxes also rather than using our jaded sense of direction or the stars. We thought we were onto a winner – she did not re-compute the journey and seemed perfectly satisfied with our interpretations of her instructions at last. Lo and behold she took us where she clearly wished us to go. Her sinister aim was revealed. The Vodafone headquarters was her desired destination. It was then that we lost our tempers with the small speaking box and the tiny female entity inside. We searched frantically as we drooled psychotically inside the untidy mess that is the back of the car, and eventually found the old-fashioned way of finding our way back to the correct route. Road atlas in Jon’s hand, we eventually managed to vacate the vortex and made our way serenely into Hampshire in a manner more befitting our age, rather than like two enraged escapees from Bedlam.



This is Madeleine the secretary bird by the way. She resides at the Hawk Conservancy near Andover, Hampshire where we visited on the way to Berkshire on Wednesday. Isn’t she gorgeous?



And this great bustard definitely fancies himself something chronic.

1 comment:

Dr Dan Holdsworth said...

I can only sympathise where sat-nav equipment is concerned. Probably the worst such equipment I have ever encountered was an early version of the free AndNav software for Android smartphones. This uses the OpenStreetmap mapping (which is completely free, unlike most other maps) which is free to all, but woefully incomplete in the countryside.

Worse yet, I was using it to navigate in Eire, and the software seemed to have taken a distinctly Irish bent to how it told us where to go (I suspect a meddling Irish wizard at play); once you got the hang of this rampant surrealism it was easy enough to follow, but the learning curve was steep.

The unit did manage to vaguely redeem its self by crashing with what can only be described as aplomb in the general vicinity of the Hill of Tara, which I would have driven right past had I not been forced to stop and check a map instead, which led to a most interesting ramble through an ancient and holy site.