SAS – Satnav Antipathic Soldiers and The Misadventures Of Suzie From The Isle Of Skye (some strong language)
This is a trueish but highly embellished version of something that happened to one of Cleo Hart’s friends. Cleo is travelling at the moment.
As all our regular readers know we Boggart Bloggers are great fans of all whacky and totally unnecessary technologies and Sat Nav systems especially. Sat Nav seems to lead the field in providing an expensive, complicated, extremely fallible and irritating way of performing a function that should be simple and free. If you want to drive from London to Leeds and don’t mind going via Bristol, Aberystwith, Preston Gubbals, Carlisle, Burton on Trent and Wigan or being rescued from mountain torrents, bogs, feral chavs in Blackbird Leys or a snowdrift outside Kiruna and having to face the ridicule of your friends down the pub trust your Sat Nav. If however you just want to get from London to Leeds without much fuss simply drive round the M25 until you see signs for M1, Watford, The North. Follow them and keep following signs for The North. Ignore your Sat Nav’ yelling that you should take the next exit. It will only lead you eventually to the A666, the road to hell. Actually the A666 runs from Bolton to Blackburn so for most people is probably the road to somewhere worse than Hell. Leeds is at the other end of the M1 from London. Just stay on the M1. Easy peasy.
So why do we cruel, sarcastic bastards love Sat Nav?
Because of the blind faith that people who buy one have in their system and the way that when things have gone so badly wrong blind faith is no longer enough the childlike trust they show that their parent – surrogate gadget will somehow make things alright.
At this time of year our esteemed colleague Cleo Hart and numerous others set off for The Alps to work in ski resorts throughout the season. Most make the long and arduous trek via London and the M25 (gridlocked 24 / 7 because of sat nav users driving at 5mph while scratching their heads and saying “This doesn’t look much like the Lake District) to Dover for the short, unpleasant crossing on the regular cattle ship to Calais.
Cleo however, tipped off by her dear old Dad who knows about these things, heads from Lancashire across to Hull (just get on the M62 and head east (the opposite way to Liverpool) until you come to the North Sea Ferries terminal or drive into the water off Spurn Head. Even easier than peasy.
Several of the others now use the northern crossing, its an easier drive in the UK, a more comfortable crossing with a good meal, a pleasant evening and a good night’s sleep on the ferry and a better route across France. So last year another girl from northern parts, let’s call her Suzie from the Isle of Skye thought it would be a good move for her too. Western Scotland to Hull sounded easy. At the time Suzie was seeing a soldier, a member of and elite regiment (we are a bit sceptical about the veracity of this claim, members of this elite regiment as well as being trained to jump out of planes, navigate by the sun and stars, live on a diet of worms, beetles and dandelion leaves and light fires by rubbing two boy scouts together are trained to read maps.
Suzie’s soldier friend approved on her idea and volunteered to programme the sat nav for her. Great, who could be better equipped to program map references into a sat nav than a man trained to find his way round barren, featureless deserts and tundras? Surely Suzie could not go wrong if she just relied on her sat nav.
Suzie missed Hull, in fact she ended up in Wales Not just the civilised bit of Wales that joins on to Cheshire or the Wales, populated by Gavin and Stacy, Charlotte Church and the only gay in the village but Welsh wales where it is a crime to speak English and those things that look like basketwork garden ornaments can be assembled in a matter of minutes into a wicker man. A combination of blind faith, childlike trust in the parenting skills of inanimate machines and her boyfriend’s ignorance of maps and references, the cardinal points of the compass, left and right and the difference between his arse and his elbow led to her turning right instead of left and driving past all the signs printed with red dragons and pointing to towns with names like Llanfairpwyllgwillgynn-bibble-yibble-yibble-yibble-llantisiliogochgochgoch give or take the odd goch without realising she had a problem. Maybe it was because the signs were printed in two languages, Welsh and Ogham (the secret language of The Druids)
Now in our house we think we have an idea how this might have happened. You see we know a young person who some years ago was headed from Lancashire to Sheffield and phoned home in a panic to say. “Help, I think I’ve taken a wrong turning and ended up in Wales, I’ve just passed a sign for Pontefract . Maybe the sat nav logic had made a similar mistake and interpreted “continue past signs for Pontefract” as “follow the shortest route to Pontypridd”. We shall never know however.
The problem for our lovely lass Suzie from the Isle of Skye was not so subtle. She was still following her sat nav’s orders and desperately trying to convince herself the device was taking her via a shortcut to Holyhead which must be near Hull as they both start with H. For Suzie, even though the blacktop road had become a muddy track several miles ago blind faith had been replaced by childlike trust in the machine. When the muddy track became a verdant Welsh hillside even childlike trust gave out. Suzie stopped and got out of the car only to be confronted by a Welsh farmer who spoke in Welsh, not saying “Iached Da (pron. Yakki da) young lady, do you need any help” but something she guessed from the way he was pointing a shotgun sat her meant “GET ORF MOI LAAAAAAAAAND”.
Suzie did get to France eventually after spending several weeks in a clinic where she was given post traumatic stress therapy.
From this shocking sat nav story of betrayal we learn several things:
(1) When driving from West Scotland to Hull it is a good idea to turn left somewhere no matter what the sat nav is telling you.
(2) Sat nav is useless, whatever it tells you, do the opposite.
(3) We are not going to win the Afghan war for the simple reason that when our elite soldiers’ were sent to flush the Taliban out of the Hindu Kush their map reading skills caused them to end up running round Patagonia.
(4) Never listen to the kind of techieheads, webbyheads, sciencyheads and other pointyheads who try to tell you machines are smarter than we are. Machines are unthnking automatons and people who think they will ever be intelligent are cunts.
Sat Nav all at sea
Under The Influence Of Drugs Eight Legs Are Too Many