ugly head -

A little too trusting…

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When I got my car a good year ago I ordered, nay demanded, in-built satellite navigation. It was a necessity for all those visits to customers, I claimed to the company car people, cleverly disguising the fact that all I really wanted to do was show the funky gadget off to my friends. Twelve months later and those colourful digitised maps have been a blessing in disguise. It sometimes goes a bit wrong, granted, but 99% of the time it’s spot on.
However, the remaining 1% reared its ugly head again last Friday. I had a client in Cambridge to visit, and a quick glance on the night before showed a one and a half hour drive. No problem.
The following morning, I clambered sleepily into my car and plugged the destination into the console. Town? C. A. M. B. R. I. D. G. E. Street? H. U. N. T. I. N. G. D. O. N. R. O. A. D. It was here, blearily, that my morning’s travel arrangements went a tad off the rails. Certainly, said my happy little navigation screen, which of the 9 Huntingdon roads would you like?
7.30 am is not a good time for unexpected decisions. “Well, I don’t know,” I muttered to the inanimate screen. Shrugging, I chose the first road and drove off.
One and a half uneventful hours later I turned into a sleepy cul-de-sac in the middle of large, wheat-laden fields. As I watched old ladies eyeing my car with suspicion, and noted a lack of ugly, grey office blocks, I felt fairly certain that I was in the wrong spot. As I glanced at my navigation screen again, I cast my eye down the list of Huntingdon Roads and reached the horrifying conclusion that if I chose each one in turn, it would take up to three hours to find the godforsaken place. And that is why, for the next hour, I was on the phone to a colleague who had found his way to the offices with simple, old-fashioned papery maps. I turned up 2 hours late. It was a humiliation for technology.
Luckily, I finished the meeting in record time, and left for home at 4 o’clock. Tell-tale water droplets greeted my arrival at the car park, and by the time I’d loaded my sodden laptop computer into the boot I was wet through. Radio reports of flash floods greeted me minutes later, and by 5 o’clock I was sat in a 25 miles traffic jam on the M25, rueing the day I organised this particular diary entry. I limped home at 7.30 pm, two hours later than intended and only half an hour before Michelle and I were due to be entertaining my mum and dad to their thirty-somethingth wedding anniversary at a local Indian restaurant.
So, the moral? Don’t trust in technology too much. And certainly never plan a remote business appointment on a Friday.

The Father Shower

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Simon H, as many of you will still be in shock to know, is about to become a dad. So, in accordance with strange birthing custom, the girls all had a “baby shower” last Wednesday night, complete with “coo”s and “ahh”s and big pink balloons. So, Simon H was sat home alone. An opportunity, we thought, for some surprise male bonding without any girls present, under the guise of a “father shower”. So 6 of us turned up unannounced at his house that night – a stealthy operation that couldn’t have gone better if we tried. Still, in true bloke style, we hadn’t planned past the “getting there”, and there we sat for the rest of the night, supping beer, watching television and giving presents (Jac and I gave a packet of condoms – “so it NEVER happens again”). Still, it was emotional – the last time we’ll see him before the little sprog drops…
Before I go, I should mention the trip home. Jac and I had popped into the baby shower to collect Michelle, and noted that a considerable foody spread had been laid out. So, we took advantage, and piled a couple of plates high with biscuits, smarties, quiche and more for the trip home. I stumbled back to the car, noting my balance was a little comprised by the four cans of Stella earlier. This balance was to rear it’s ugly head again on the drive home – just as we turned a particularly vicious corner in the road. Cue the plate of food toppling out of my grasp, spreading its considerable contents all over Jac and the driver’s seat, to the cries of “OooooHHHHHHAAAAAAAA, QUICHE!” We were in tears of laughter for a full five minutes as Jac picked smartie after quiche after smartie off his floor. He was stll finding them on his drive to work the next morning…