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The things I do – whilst waiting for a better offer!

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“The Italian Job – The Getaway … Final Leg”

This is the continuation of our camping holiday in Italy (see the previous post).

A brief recap of the journey so far…

We had survived the low fuel scare.  We had made it through the Gotthard tunnel without any holdups.  We had crossed the Swiss Italian border with absolute ease.  And despite our sat nav missing a part of the map for Switzerland we were now enjoying a relaxing night at the hotel in Parma, Italy.  We had rendezvoused with both of the families we were holidaying with despite one of them taking a European tour!

So, we had experienced issues, as had PC Bob and Wife Upon The Wicked Stage, but Welsh Weeble is too wily and too much of an experienced traveller to fall foul of sat navs and maps.  And he had a little gloat over dinner!  However, little did any of us know, the very next morning we would be enjoying a laugh at his expense as we assembled to set off on the final part of the journey.

On his arrival at the hotel on the Monday afternoon, he was so keen to get to his room to rest and freshen up, that he rather over exuberantly disconnected his trailer from his car.  When he pulled the trailer’s electrics connector from the socket on the back of the car, he did so with so much force that he actually pulled the cables from the housing.  Unfortunately for him, he hadn’t noticed.  It was only when he tried to hitch the trailer back to the car on the Tuesday morning that he realised he was holding a set of disconnected cables rather than a set nicely housed in a plastic connector!

Our very own Mr Fix-it, PC Bob, came to his rescue, and although he couldn’t repair it fully in the car park, he was able to cobble together some of the cables so that Welsh Weeble could continue with the journey.  The connections were by no means perfect – stop lights and indicators were cross wired and there was no guarantee that the action of the trailer lights corresponded with those of the car!

We set off in a mini convoy with Welsh Weeble sandwiched in the middle.  The thought being that we would know what the strange lights on the trailer actually meant rather than inflict them on some poor unsuspecting Italian driver.

A short way into the journey, Welsh Weeble needed to refuel.  So we pulled over at the first services.  Whilst the refuelling was going on, PC Bob and I compared sat nav maps to ensure his was going to take him directly to our final destination rather than via Greece!  What I was not expecting was to find that my sat nav was planning to make the journey an hour longer than his.  As far as we could tell from the on screen display, the journey seemed to be taking the same route.  We didn’t delve into the detail as we had decided it would be safer to follow the route we had printed from the online route planner.

Several miles down the road, the reason for the extra hour on my sat nav became apparent.  As we approached Florence, SALLY, our sat nav, was telling us to leave the motorway.  Although we weren’t using SALLY for the directions at this point, we kept her switched on to monitor her.  We ignored her repeated request and carried on.  Suddenly SALLY repeated her pre-Italy statement “unable to calculate route to destination”.  A glance at the screen showed us once more driving through a desert!  Once again, SALLY was missing a chunk of the map of the area.

Once we had passed Florence, SALLY was able to recalculate the route and, unsurprisingly, she knocked an hour off the journey!

As we got closer to the final destination and were no longer on the main roads, we were unable to use the map as it wasn’t detailed enough to show all the minor roads we were encountering between the small Italian villages.  As mentioned earlier, I had printed the route and I had printed them complete with textural directions.  What I needed now was good reading skills from She Who Must Be Obeyed.

What I got were a couple of moments of dyslexia!

Twice she told me to ‘slide right’.

Slide right?  I had never been given this instruction when driving before.  Besides, there was no where for me to slide right to; I was already on the right hand side of the car and up against the door!

I took the next turning on the right, assuming that is what the instruction meant.  The convoy followed.  SALLY, however, told me to make a U turn as soon as possible and displayed on the map that we were now off the road on which we needed to be.  A U turn was not exactly possible because we were on a very narrow road, and two of us were towing trailers.  Fortunately there was an entrance to a farm which we used to make the turn.  We had only gone about a quarter of a mile off course.

About a mile further on, She Who Must Be Obeyed gave me the same instruction ‘slide right’ again.  This time, I chose to ignore it, however, the rest of the convoy behind me, turned right!  They were obviously disillusioned with my lead and were following their own sat navs.  SALLY once again told me to make a U turn.

This I duly did.

From this moment on, I listened only to SALLY and we arrived at our destination a few minutes after the others.  Naturally they decided to mock my sat nav, not knowing that I was following the instructions of a human being!

Laughter over, I took the printed route from She Who Must Be Obeyed and looked for the ‘slide right’ instruction.  I wanted to see this unusual instruction for myself.  However, there was no ‘slide right’ but there were a couple of ‘slight rights’!

Oh well, we were safely there and had once again provided something for the others to laugh at.

Now we could all enjoy our holiday – couldn’t we? (Find out here)