Friday, 12 February 2010

The Sound of Tomtoms

K passed her test recently, and we set off on Tuesday to collect her 'new' car from my sister in Wedmore. The idea was that we would return in convoy, me hunched in the passenger seat with my fingers crossed, navigating K; the Social Secretary following behind. Expecting that we would separate en route (one way or another), she borrowed a TomTom navigator.

Being an old school cartophile/mapini (lover of maps) I've disdained these things, so the journey down to Somerset became a war of wills. I admit the irritatingly know-all TomTom rattled me, especially on the motorways. On the smaller roads it became a bit hyperactive, getting over-excited miles ahead about junctions where we just had to go straight on anyway, and imperiously demanding that we turn left at sharp bends where there was no other way to go. By the time we arrived, having bred successfully (in the past, not on the M4), I had begun to feel redundant. Navigation was about the only remaining thing I'd been useful for.

An evening in the pub and a takeaway curry were probably not the best preparation for the journey home. Not wanting to rouse the household by fetching a glass of water meant that I kept waking up with the sensation that someone had sneaked up and welded my tongue to my palate with a glue gun. When we departed next morning I left my dressing-gown behind; not a tragedy except it was an old one of the SS's, with pink ribbons below the bust. I may not own up to it.

Coming home, on the outskirts of Frome the TomTom and the SS over-rode my intention of turning right by way of flashing headlights and wild gesticulation, and we became lost. The TomTom lost its head completely, bleating about recalculating. Later, when we began ignoring the motorways for the A303 and A25, it became petulant and complained about losing its satellite. Haha, TT nil, BT one. And it can't mow a lawn.

The SS wants one anyway. Says it doesn't snore.


  1. When machine's start tellung us where to go you know the rightful world order is falling.

  2. Grrr I hate mine! It gets me lost in Glasgow every time because it remembers where roundabouts used to be three years ago, and it's just taken me to Kenton instead of Jesmond and then fallen off the windscreen and got tangled up in the steering wheel afterwards. I think it jumped on purpose. It's trying to kill me!

    Fave getting lost experience? A cheerful glowing green line of arrows making a perfect circle in a housing estate a stone's throw from Portobello Road, when I was trying to get to Ladbroke Grove, which I could see in the distance just before the Satnav navved me into the estate!
    I am planning to throw it into the River Tyne tomorrow, which will be a huge relief!

  3. They have severe limitations and should be treated with caution. I set mine to take me to an office in Kingshill as the place is a rabbit warren but, instead of taking me into the estate and up to the building, the bloody thing smugly told me I had arrived as I drove past the place I actually wanted on the A228. In the end I had to turn round and go back, into the estate and find it by myself. It also got horribly confused when it was supposed to be taking me out of Croydon once and kept telling me to turn right into no entry roads. But, on the plus side, it doesn't swear back at you.

  4. Friends and family always use these things coming to visit us...totally unaware that we live next door to France's Bermuda triangle.
    At Christmas, we can direct them by the seasonal lights on people's houses - left at the windwill, left again at the popping champagne cork, etc....
    Other times of the year, it gets complicated.

    AND the things always want to put you either on motorways - we don't have any - or on the direct route wich takes you twice as long as it uses roads through villages with chicanes to slow down the tractors and no passing places.
    What worries me is the propensity of people to obey it...a bit like the 'students applying pain experiment'.

  5. 2 posts in one week! Outstanding!
    You can be my co-pilot anytime.

    Aloha, Friend

    Comfort Spiral

  6. Am I the only one who, briefly, had a vision of German SS troops wearing dressing gowns with pink ribbons on them? Oh, if only they had.

  7. It's part of an international conspiracy of woman. The redundancy of man. But I expect that there is a model that snores, somewhere, out there.

  8. I find it easier to just live in a place so small these new fangdangled inventions aren't strictly needed!

  9. I love maps too and can't quite face getting a TomTom! We nearly bought opne for a big trip in Europe...maybe it would have come in handy as we got severely lost just near Asti. It took us hourse to reach our destination when, in fact, all we had to do was drive straight through one town...instead we tried to tackle it by trying all 4 approaches. Aaaagghhh!

  10. That should be "one" and "hours". Aaagh! to those too...Yes..I am hoarse now...

  11. i always get lost, or rather, i used to, but no longer. knowing how challenged i am, i have to prepare before even the shortest trip. i use a paper map, i download google maps, i write out directions with highlighted turns, etc. i'm the person you HATE, but secretly love, to drive with. i even have my own compass that is alway, always in my purse! and yet, the idea of some sort of satnav instrument in my car turns me totally and completely off! :D xoxoxoxo
    (more than y'all wanted to know about me, right?)

  12. I think you should save your money!

    Like yourself I don't want to lose the ability to read maps. Though one can still come unstuck when road signs are either missing or completely at odds with the map!

    One's first drive as a qualified driver is invariably a white knuckle experience amidst the excitement though.

  13. I have my satnav on all the time. And then deliberately take wrong turnings just to get it all het up...