When GPs takes the wrong turn

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Blogger Trish Burgess writes for the Free Press

It was like something from Psycho. I had just stepped out of the shower when I heard a voice: “Turn around when possible.”

I shrieked, grabbed a towel, then cautiously peered into the bedroom, my heart racing. There, in the corner of the room, was our satellite navigation gizmo, which now, fully charged, had bounced back to life with its first instruction. My husband had been struggling to charge the thing in the car so had decided, in his wisdom, to get it going in the house.

We don’t have a good relationship with satnavs. We originally chose the voice of Jane as she has a calm, reassuring tone. So different to me, a demented harpy who is unable to give proper instructions to my husband when he is driving.

Apparently, “It’s over there!” isn’t a useful command. Jane, however, isn’t always right and never apologises when she gives you a dud direction. It’s also very difficult to have a good old argument with someone who doesn’t fight back.

Our most troublesome trip with a SatNav was during a Fly Drive holiday around Eastern Canada. We had pre­booked a GPS system with our hire car so I sat happily tapping in the address for our first destination.

Dougie was a little nervous because the garage was located underground in Yonge Street, the longest street in the world and, I quote, ‘one of the busiest traffic arteries in Toronto’. No pressure.

As we tentatively drove up the ramp and onto the road, the SatNav kicked in and gave us our first instruction: “...deux cents metres, tournez a gauche”.

Mais oui, Jane was now Jeanne and talking to us in French. We had a few fractious moments when I tried to remember my gauche from my droit. There was a great deal of shouting.

Eventually we parked up, bid au revoir to Jeanne and installed John.

John wasn’t much better. In Montreal, as we were trying to locate our hotel in the city centre, he led us over the river before ushering us into a long, black tunnel.

As the signal disappeared, he abandoned us to a mid­ tunnel fork­in­the­road dilemma. We had a 50­50 decision to make, chose unwisely and came out of the tunnel and back over the river to where we had started.

John was apoplectic: “Re­calculating! Re­calculating! Make a U­turn!”

“Make a U­turn?” my dear husband yelled, in full Basil Fawlty mode, “Are you mad? We’re on a bridge!

There’s traffic everywhere! And anyway, it was you who sent us through the tunnel in the first place.”

It’s a wonder we don’t just rely on good old ­fashioned map ­reading skills.

I should be competent at this as I have a geography degree.

But that was a long time ago and, quite frankly, having a thorough understanding of glacial erosion is of little help when trying to negotiate junctions on the M6.