Tag: M54

I don’t mean to sound patronising (perhaps Betty is very Internet savvy) but I suspect that in the year 2065 I, too, will feel tired of change. If I try to imagine what this world will look like in the year 2065, sat here in the year 2017 in the age of Facebook and Snap Chat, and I cannot. I cannot picture what it will be like. That’s my point. I suspect that by then, I will have had enough. I suspect that by then I will be like Betty.

This lady was born in 1898. She’s very old.

So I conclude, we simply cannot live past 100. Even as medical science advances further, we won’t live much past 100. Why? Because if we do, it’s just all too much and our brains explode. That would be messy.

 

If I were a road I’d be ‘the bumpy way’ in Charlbury

Last weekend we took a family trip to Snailbeach in Shropshire. We were going to a Curlew Lantern Making Workshop (which was most excellent, in case you want to know). On the way there, the Sat Nav took us down the wrong road. It was taking us ‘as the crow flies’ rather than along the sorts of roads that cars should regularly go down, i.e. those with tarmac. The road it took us down (which turned out to be a dead end) was extremely bumpy and pot-holed. It reminded me of a similar road in Charlbury which when we lived there we affectionately called ‘the bumpy way’ (Crawborough Road). I used to walk down that road quite frequently with number one child in a pushchair if I wanted said child to drift off to sleep. It was a road that you would want to avoid if you were in a car. It was a road that small babies love.

A random bumpy road

A random bumpy road

Later that night, I had a weird thought. What if we could all describe ourselves as a road, what road would we choose? I decided that my husband would be the M1 (dependable and important, like a backbone and if out of action the result is chaos). My eldest son would be the M54 (straight, steady, comforting, predictable). My middle son is definitely the M5 (slow, especially in good weather, and likely to cause big delays, but brings much joy in the end). My youngest is without a doubt the M6 (noisy, busy, stressful, but never, ever dull).

The M5 on a good day

The M5 on a good day

Perhaps I had this weird thought because I love motorways (just like my dad).

Does he look like the M5?

Does he look like the M5?

I’m not a motorway, I’m the road we drove along in Snailbeach, or ‘the bumpy way’ in Charlbury: unpredictable, totally impractical, a little annoying and likely to cause much damage to your car.

A bumpy car

A bumpy car

So, what road would you be?

Why my best friend is a sat nav

Most of my friends think that I use (or over-use) the sat nav (which is called Gladys by the way) a lot because I have no sense of direction. They are wrong. I do have no sense of direction but this is not why I use the sat nav so much.

Yesterday evening, I had to drive back from Warwickshire to home (a journey of about one-and-a-half hours) and despite knowing the way quite well, I didn’t think twice about putting Gladys on her little sucker thing in the right-hand corner of the windscreen.

BFF Gladys

BFF Gladys

The reason I put Gladys on her little sucker thing was not to help me navigate the various motorways between Warwickshire and Shrewsbury (of which there are quite a few) but for company. I find Gladys’s warm glow reassuring. I find her company pleasant. She doesn’t talk much. She has a nice, gentle male Australian drawl and she glows at me, providing me with that comforting feeling that there is something (someone) else in the car with me. I don’t like driving in the dark. I especially don’t like driving in the dark alone. So Gladys keeps me company and is there to remind me that I’m nearly home.

Sometimes, especially when I am alone and it is dark, I need more than Gladys for company. Yesterday was one of those days. Feeling sleepy after a late night I felt the need for Radio 4.

I was very pleased to find that Open Book was on at the beginning of my journey. I love Open Book. I find Mariella Fostrup’s voice so relaxing. And what’s more, she talks to me about one of my favourite topics: books.

Radio 4 - my other friend

Radio 4 – my other friend

But in reality, I was alone in the car. Gladys and Radio 4 are just things. So my weird thought later when I got home was: why does a sat nav and a radio make me feel like I am in good company? Why do I personify these things? Why does the sat nav to me have a personality (she’s terribly stubborn and stroppy if I go the wrong way)? Why do I imagine the people on Radio 4 are talking to just me? Why is Gladys called Gladys? Why do I find comfort from being told ‘In 250 yards, take the motorway’? Why do I choose radio over music when I’m alone in the car?

I wonder if I’m not uncommon in my personification of these objects when I’m feeling anxious (driving in the dark), why I need to feel that I’m not doing this slightly scary journey alone. I even find myself talking out loud to Gladys about how much I hate the M6 or asking her to clarify why I need to ‘keep right’ when I don’t think I do. I think at the back of my mind there is always the risk of death on the M6 and I don’t want to die alone so that is why I have to have Gladys and Mariella with me.

My favourite motorway

My favourite motorway

Do other people do this too? I’m not sure I’d go as far as the narrator in Jonathan Coe’s The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim who develops an odd relationship with his sat nav to the point of insanity, at least this hadn’t happened yesterday by the time I reached home. I was quite glad to put Gladys to sleep when I reached home and she was soon forgotten as I enter the world of the real organic: my family and my cat, their needs, hungers, questions and cuddles.

Home to cuddles with my cat

Home to cuddles with my cat

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