Sunday, 20 September 2015
My daughter, a newly qualified driver, is absolutely brilliant at three point turns, clutch control, parking, you name it. The only thing she’s not so good at is finding her way around. Unfortunately this is essential if you want to drive from A to B. Eleanor has a sat-nav but has yet to actually use it. As a result she pre-plans her route and relies heavily on road signs. Earlier this week she had to drive to Sidcup, not a million miles away from our home.
‘So, Mum. Remind me again where Station Road is.’
‘Okay, you know the High Street?’
‘So travelling towards Eltham, you turn right at the traffic lights by the old police station.’
Nice and clear on both sides. And off she went. Twenty minutes later she phoned me.
‘I’m stuck in this ridiculous traffic jam. I don’t know where all these cars have come from!’
‘It’s called rush hour,’ I pointed out.
‘I’m going to be late for my appointment. What shall I do?’
‘Cut through the back doubles.’
‘You remember the short cuts I used when driving you to College?’
‘Oh right. Can you direct me?’
‘Sure. Where are you?’
‘Yes, I know that, darling. I meant what street are you in?’
‘Oh, I see. Um…I dunno!’
Not a great start. ‘Can you describe the road to me?’
‘Yes. It’s the one with houses down both sides.’
It’s at times like this my daughter reminds me of my younger self. ‘That’s…very descriptive. Can you see a road name?’
‘Erm…no…but it’s the road where the three-legged dog lives.’
‘Ah…right…you’re on Park Road. Now look on your right for Downs Avenue.’
‘Is that by the yellow bollard?’
‘Oh dear. I’ve just driven past it.’
‘Can you make a U-turn?
‘I’ll try. One moment.’
Suffice to say, my daughter did eventually arrive at her destination. Listening to a re-hash of the journey, it’s a good thing she wasn’t trying to direct anybody else. Otherwise it would have gone something like this…
“Turn left into the road with houses down both sides. Turn right where the three-legged dog lives. At the bottom cut across the junction where, like, everybody looks like they’re going to hit you. Keep going until you get to the traffic lights and then, like, get into the lane which goes to that pub on the corner which looks, like, really dodgy. Follow the signs to Sidcup and avoid that tragic road with the stupid mini-roundabout where everybody drives, like, straight over it and you have to swerve at the last minute. Arrive at destination in a road which is, like, by loads and loads of traffic lights and has some, like, trees in it.”
So would you know where you’re going? Me neither. Which reminds me. Someone bought Bonnie’s Tyler’s car off eBay. It’s awful. Every now and then it falls apart and the sat-nav keeps saying, ‘Turn around Bright Eyes…’