Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Back seat driver

I love Kent, it's ever so pretty. We have a family wedding coming up (not guilty) so Mum and I decided to hit the shops, in our case Bluewater. The trouble is, I don't drive all that often, so Mum normally takes the wheel.
Kent - as I said earlier: a pretty place. Full of narrow little lanes, lined with pretty hedges. Some of them pretty tall too. Tall enough to hide - say - a tractor.
Mum was just describing her friend's new living room when:

Car cuts around blind corner, swerves to avoid oncoming Transit van.

Pino (gripping the door handle): Mum!! Don't cut corners when you can't see around them!
Mum: Yes, yes, I saw him!

Later, the red tops of two huge delivery lorries loomed into view above the hedgetops on a turn up ahead.
Sure enough, after a few moments we met the first of the two very abruptly on another blind corner.

Mum: Ooh gosh, what's that doing here?!
Pino (eyes closed, knuckles white on the door handle): Did you not see that before?!!
Mum: All under control...

Kent has a big problem in that it is located squarely between the South East coast and London. This makes it fair game for Central European GPS systems possessed by Czech and Polish lorry drivers everywhere. And we all know how GPS systems work. The minute that commanding female voice rings out we are helpless: we have to obey. All logic is swept aside as we trundle across fields, swerve into slip roads, cut across lanes - unthinkingly following the order to 'Turn Left!', with clear disregard for our own sense of reason.

We survived the journey and carried out extensive research into the effectiveness of retail therapy before heading back to the twisty Kentish lanes. In any case, tonight I will be checking for stress-induced grey hairs...

4 comments:

Laura and Ben said...

Aaaah, Bluewater. I love Bluewater although we're also fairly close to Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth - another excellent choice for some retail therapy. I say we, I mean my mum...

You've just reminded me that when I go to England next weekend, I'll be able to drive my car! Yaaay!

pinolona said...

Yay for driving! If retail therapy works, then Mum and I are very, very sane now...

DeCoy said...

Speaking of Polish lorry drivers and GPS reminds me that I learnt the words for 'left' and 'right' in Polish by listening to GPS lady shouting "Skręc lewo!" and so on, while travelling in a Polish car.

Thankfully my father-in-law has gotten a newer GPS and doesn't listen to the voice any more.

Jeannie said...

I can only relay my brief driving experience in the UK. It was a short trip and my British friend was at the wheel, although he had been in the states for a couple of decades so I wondered if he'd forget and drive on the wrong side of the road by accident. He did great in the UK. When we got back to the US, however, he drove on the wrong side of the road coming out of a parking lot/ I exclaimed very loudly and he made a big swerve--castastrophe averted. Anyway, I will never forget driving in the UK. It was right when Gene Pitney died and they played his songs on the radio--very scenic drive and moving experience in many ways.