Thursday, 19 November 2009

Directional issues

I was very much entertained by this story in the news about an Australian pensioner who, driving to the shops one morning, got lost and ended up 370 miles away.

At first I thought it was going to be simply a variation on the regular tales we see of bewildered old folk behind the wheel who somehow navigate to the incorrect Newcastle, ending up under Lyme rather than upon the Tyne. Or one of those stories where a superannuated motorist pilots their Micra the wrong way down the M6 for hours without end, causing untold destruction and dry-cleaning bills.

But no. This one went took on a whole new dimension as, gloriously, the driver in question gave this as his response:
"I didn't know where I was going but I knew it was somewhere."
I don't think a more accurate statement has ever been uttered.

Mind you, getting lost can indeed be very liberating. I remember some years ago, on our way back from a driving holiday, we took a wrong turn at the Welsh border. One moment we were heading to the Midlands, the next we were in a completely different and hitherto-unknown part of the British hinterland. I half expected to see a faun, a lamp-post and the inside of a wardrobe's front door hanging in the middle of the landscape.

We were lost. Hopelessly lost. We weren't even in anything as obvious as the middle of nowhere. At best, we were in the suburbs of nowhere. The outskirts of nowhere, even.

But as we crested a hill we gazed down on a glorious valley. A medieval abbey stood proudly at the head of a town, a limpid river winding its way lazily past the ancient sandstone outbuildings. We crossed over a hump-packed stone bridge, rolled along a perfect street and gazed open-mouthed in wonder as all this passed, green and contented.

"Wow," I breathed.
"This place looks fantastic."
"We must come back here again at some point."

And so we promised we would. Trouble is, we hadn't a clue what we'd done to get lost in the first place. Since then we've never been able to find our way there.

I blame satnav.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like you stumbled across the Welsh Brigadoon, which means unless you live for another hundred years when it next appears for a day, you wouldn't be able to find it again anyway! Tom M

the wife said...

Actually, hubster dear, I think you'll find that I expertly devised us an alternative route from a map, after you'd missed the motorway turning. The place in question was Tintern Abbey, not far from Chepstow!

WE got lost? Hmmph!!!

Le laquet said...

Oh Katie beat me to it - Tintern after Offa's Dyke and the best bit is theres a Little Chef open for an Olympic just up the road ... hey it's always about the food :oD

fatboyfat said...

Tom - I did wonder about the Welsh Brigadoon thing, but She Who Must Be Obeyed is right. It was indeed Tintern.

And it was probably my fault too.

Jo - we actually stopped in the car park of that very Little Chef to have a spirited discussion vis-a-vis the whole navigation issue.


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