true tales from the gates of the underworld


Sat-Nav adventures Part I
August 1, 2011, 12:13 am
Filed under: Life | Tags: , , , ,

I was bought a sat-nav for christmas last year because, although I am a confident driver, I have trouble reading maps or following directions sometimes. I soon realised that this clever machine likes to send me along interesting routes. We live in a tiny village surrounded by a network of lanes, that you can largely avoid if you keep to the main roads. You want to do this for several reasons: the lanes are narrow, winding, often somewhat overgrown, badly maintained, and if you meet another car, you are likely to end up with at least a few scrapes. It is also impossible to go 60 mph along these lanes, even if the sat-nav thinks you can. It likes to take me through the lanes, choosing different routes to and from my destinations, so that I have started to get to know the lane network rather well in the last few months.

Today was no exception. Keeping faithfully to slightly larger, wider lanes and partly to the main road we managed to make our way to Bicton Park by a route I had never taken before. I knew the way back, but as both children were fast asleep and blissfully unaware I decided to let the sat-nav guide me again and see where it would take me.
From the moment we left the park it chose a different route to what I would have taken, taking me right on the main road instead of left. From there, it took me onto increasingly narrowing lanes, cut into the landscape, with steep grass banks on both sides. Suddenly it told me to go right, and I found myself on little more than a dirt track. You could tell that it had once been a road, but nobody had maintained it for years. Only a narrow strip of asphain the middle remained of the original road, the sides of which were high and covered in tall grass. To the left and right of the asphalt strip were large stones and dust. The track, barely the width of my car, was enclosed by something resembling cliffs on both sides, and you could see where the dust and stones on the track originated from. I forced the car up the road, climbing the hill in second gear, wheels spinning. The grass was rubbing against the bottom of the car. I took a deep breath in as I saw that the hill got steeper and willed the car onwards. The wheels failed to grip, and the car started to slip. I braked and stalled the car. For a moment there was no sound except the popping of the hot engine.

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