You know that feeling when you get a little bit lost, but it’s okay because you’re not really lost, just a bit disorientated and if you keep going a bit further you’ll end up where you’re supposed to?
Well, it’s safe to say this theory doesn’t apply to driving in South East London late on a Saturday afternoon, when your Sat Nav is broken and your sense of direction is worse than that of a goldfish. We arrived home from a lovely week by the sea with my family yesterday, and I took it upon myself to go straight to the supermarket with Zee, whilst H tackled the remaining jungle-esque parts of the garden. Halfway to the car I remembered the Sat Nav problem. I’ve been to the shops in our new neighbourhood about six times now, yet I still stood on the pavement with a gormless expression as I tried to remember how to get there. I couldn’t. This should have been a sign of things to come. But H reminded me it was essentially left then right and straight down one road, so off we went and if only I’d remembered those instructions in reverse for the return journey.
Only I didn’t, I went left instead of right and three, yes THREE hours later, following a rescue mission by H, Zee and I got home. It went a little something like:
5.15pm ish – Leave supermarket. Turn left onto main road instead of right. ERROR.
5.30pm – Hmmm I’m sure the Sat Nav normally takes me off down one of these side roads, but maybe not, will just keep driving. Ooh, George Ezra on the radio, will just keep singing.
5.45 – These roads all look THE SAME. I definitely recognise all of them but not sure which road leads to ours. Will just keep driving.
6pm – Panic starts to set in. Where are we? Will just pull into side road and check map on phone. DOOM! Blue dot on phone says we are 3.9 miles and 20 minutes away from home. Why? Why has this happened? Will just phone H. And cry. And get more confused. He offers helpful solutions which do not correspond to the blue dot. H mentions names of places we have driven past about 50 times but I cannot picture in my mind.
Meanwhile Zee is babbling away in the back of the car and grinning at me in the mirror. Thank goodness he is so chilled.
6.15pm – Declare to H that I can work it out and we’ll be back soon. Decide, inexplicably, to reverse the car and drive home via a back street. In fact the only back street I know is the American boy-now-man band and this situation is most definitely not alright.
6.30pm – Still driving. The blue dot is edging further away from home. WHY am I still not on the right road? Petrol is dangerously low. ‘E’ does not stand for ‘Enough’.
6.40pm – Find a petrol station. Phew. I definitely know where I am. Refuel. Buy chocolate (obviously). It’s all going to be fine.
6.50pm – Except it’s NOT because now I’ve taken another wrong turning at a very confusing roundabout and ended up at the back of an estate. Why is this still happening? Z remains content and smiling. Phew.
7pm – Suddenly we are in Greenwich. I have only ever been to Greenwich by boat. My phone has 6% battery. H rings again to say I am to find somewhere to park and he is going to come and get us. I try and explain it’s fine and I just need to follow the right signs although my phone battery (complete with the impossible-to-follow blue dot) is about to die. H points out I am now even further away from when I first rang him and he’d really rather I don’t end up lost at night with our baby and no phone, and so I admit defeat.
7-7.45pm ish – Every minor disaster can have a happy ending if a picnic is involved. Remembering the boot is full of food and drink, I give Zee a sandwich and fruit and juice for his tea, change his nappy and could even have made him a bottle if necessary. I put the milk on ice (!) and am about to go on What’sApp until I remember my 2% battery might be needed for slightly more urgent communications given the situation.It soon turns out a parked car is a very happy place for a toddler to play, on account of all the switches and buttons to press, wheels to turn and seatbelts to pull.
H then appears as if by magic and Zee goes to him, and I hear H say to Zee ‘Poor mummy, are you both okay?’ and I promptly burst into tears. He couldn’t have said a nicer thing at that moment, given how stupid I was feeling.
8pm – Arrive home. It still resembles a camp site but we got home in the end. If there’d been slightly less battery on my phone we might still be out there, roaming the streets, so near yet so far in the car. But at least we wouldn’t have gone hungry. And so the moral of the story is, don’t go left when you should go right. And buy a new Sat Nav in the morning.