So, for those who are not aware, a sat nav is a gps system, you know the ones that talk to you and tell you when to turn, what lane to be in, and generally lead you straight to your destination once you plug the address in.
We’ve never actually used one before, but on the way down to St Ives, we tried out the one Dev’s brother had lent us, and by the time we got through the motorway confusion at Birmingham, we were sold! The girls named our sat nav voice “Josie Porgie” and Josie quickly became like part of the family. We praised her constantly, and she got us to Plymouth, then Swanage, without incident. Right to the doorsteps of the places we were staying. Fantastic. We even joked about the sat nav in the Picasso and pretended to be Bryn talking to Nessa….(you’ll understand that if you’re British and you’ve ever watched Gavin and Stacey).
So yesterday morning, we left for France feeling pretty confident, and ready for our 10 hour drive. Josie was fully charged and ready to go. But I wasn’t sure I really liked the way she got us out of Swanage – wasn’t the quickest way. So, we lost an hour there. This should have raised suspicion, but I think she may have been lulling us into a false sense of security. And you know how the rest of that day went if you read my last post…
Then when we finally got to France, Josie kept trying to get us off the highways onto little roads. Little roads that would only add time to our already arduous driving schedule. I started to get cross with Josie and turned her off from time to time. But I forgave her each time for her misdemeanors, and when we were finally able to get her to accept the name of the town in which we had booked our hotel, we went back to full reliance on Josie. Even though the route she was taking us was not the same as the one on the iPad. Which again, should have raised suspicion. But we still trusted her (although not as much, it has to be said). So, when she announced, at 10:30pm (which was already an hour and a half later than we were supposed to arrive), that we had reached our destination, we were very relieved.
Until we realized we were at a motorway service station. With one guy working. Who didn’t speak a word of English. Then I wanted to swear at Josie.
Turns out, she took us to the service station because it was sort of close to where we were going. On the map. But unfortunately, there was no exit to get to it. So after three very stressful attempts at communicating with the guy in the services, during which I realized how bad my French actually sucks, we figured out that we had to drive another 12 km down the highway and then double back on a parallel road to get to the hotel. Meanwhile, I had managed to contact the hotel, and a very stressed and tired sounding woman informed me that reception closed at 10pm (it was now 11), but that she would come back when we got there. When we got there, it was 11:53. Which made the grand total of driving time 14 hours, with three short bathroom stops. This was no sat nav misdemeanor. This was a full on felony.
Josie has been disowned. I turned her off today and shoved her in the glove compartment. If she had been ours, and not on loan, I would have shoved her under the tire. Right before we drove off.
On the up side, when we woke up this morning and ventured outside our hotel (Hotel Arts et Terroirs – which I suspected at midnight last night may mean Arts and Terror, and wondered why I would ever book a place with a name like that), we were deep in the Burgundy region. The little walk down the street to find a bank machine for euros, a post office to pay the toll fine we incurred last night when the toll booth would not take a credit card, and a patisserie for some breakfast, we were greeted with right-out-of-a-movie vineyards as far as the eye could see. It was really beautiful, and we regretted having to rush off so quickly to begin today’s driving adventure.
And another upside to the day was confirmation that we have the three best kids in the world. What other kids would quietly endure 14 hours in a car, making their own sandwiches along the way, and silently panicking as their parents flounder until 11:53pm?