Armed with directions, map, sat nav, polos, juice and snacks for Mac and coffee coursing through my veins, we set off bright and early at just gone 9am. Grace (my sat nav) was chatting merrily away and keeping me on course and all was right with the world - Mac was conjuring up one of his "personlally createded fun stories" and my coffee buzz was still buzzing. Until we hit the Chelsea Embankment and Grace deserted me. "Lost GPS signal" was flashing on my little screen. Thankfully I was in traffic so started my deep breathing techniques, peered at my map and tried not to panic. As I've previously documented, I hate HATE getting lost: cold sweat followed by hot sweat followed by a sick feeling.....I'm not sure what's given me my fear of getting lost but I'm sure it's something I inherited from my mum. She used to panic if we went anywhere North of The River "in case she couldn't get home again". Either that or Charlie is right and I hate not being in control. Whatever. All I knew was Grace had buggered off, I had the sudden awful thought that my "Nunhead to Windsor" directions and map were wrong (I had no proof of this, just a certain knowledge) and I was beginning to perspire.
Chugging along, surrounded by 4x4s and chauffeured cars in the steadily moving traffic I started pleading with the God of Driving to reinstate Grace. "I'll never call her a stupid wench again when she sends me fifteen miles out of my way because she's got it into her head that I don't want to go on the motorway" I muttered. "Lost GPS signal" was still flashing.
"Head for the A4 then M4, head for the A4 then M4" I kept muttering, along with "omigod this was such a big mistake" and "when I get my hands on the junior accounts executive I'll strangle him with his own tie". Just as I was about to give in and ring David for a quick sob (really, I'm such a drama queen), Grace beeped, bing bonged and started bossing me around as if she'd never been away. "Bear right onto Ashburnham Road" she nagged. I could have kissed her.
Soon we were eating up the miles on the M4, with Mac telling me the plotline of his latest blockbuster (one of these days I'll write one down and post it on here) whilst munching on a granola bar. I'd just started to relax (by that I mean my shoulders removed themselves from my ears and my fingers that were gripping the steering wheel had lost their white hue) when Grace did her disappearing act again. I couldn't remember the junction I needed to turn off at. "Darling, at what number did Grace tell mummy to leave the M4?" I asked hopefully. Mac thought for a few seconds and yelled "Seventy twelve mummy!"
My phone rang, thank God for Bluetooth. It was Ginny who hooted with laughter at my predicament. "Junction six darling - honestly, the scrapes you do get into" and hung up before I could ask her to guide me on from here. Grace, the treacherous little cow, bing bonged back as we got onto the A335 and stayed with me until we pulled up outside Ginny's place. "Don't trust 'em, never will, awful things!" Ginny boomed as I unclipped Grace and gave her a good shake. "Saw a programme once where the woman was recording all the directions for one of these things. She looked like she needed a good seeing to if you ask me." Mac loves his Auntie Ginny, probably because she constantly has him open mouthed with amazement. "We won't tell daddy about this will we sweetpea?" I said as we bundled into Ginny's eclectic abode and fell on the tea and wonderfully sticky cakes she'd provided.
David arrived in time for a late lunch and a good afternoon was had by all. Mac kept his side of the deal and accepted payment in rice crispie cakes.
As we were leaving David took the sat nav cradle off the windscreen "I don't need sat nav" he said as he assured me that I was far too reliant on maps and directions and stuff. "You just need a good sense of direction, common sense and a level head" he went on as he missed the turn off the roundabout so we had to go round again. Familiar scenery swam past my eyes until wordlessly I reinstated the cradle and told Grace where we wanted to go.
Of course, the bloody thing stayed with us the entire way home, took us a completely different route to the one I took this morning and even appeared to be mocking me when she told me we had arrived at our destination. Jabbing at her off button did little to console me but I took great delight in shoving her into a chaotic drawer in the dining room.