Tuesday, March 07, 2006

I'm really a very good driver

I am. Ask Debbie. Ask Duton or anyone else who's been in my car. I'm a good driver and I have a pretty good sense of direction, in the city. So why on my way home from Sainsbury's last night did I end up in the wilds of the Cambridgeshire countryside, not entirely sure where I was? Why, when trying to find a new venue for my cell group a few weeks ago, did I find myself in a field, miles from civilization, surrounded by travellers?

In the country, it's a different story.

The Cambridgeshire countryside is very pretty. Flat fields stretching off into the distance, long straight stretches of road raised a few feet above the level of the surrounding ground, beautiful views with lines of trees marching off into the distance.

None of this is of any use whatsoever in the dark.

The other crucial point about Cambridgeshire roads is their casual approach to signposting. You're looking for a village, let's call it Groundwater. You come to a cross roads with a pretty fingerpost pointing you towards Groundwater, Ely and Cambridge. "Oh good," you think, and poddle along in the direction of Groundwater. You come to the next crossroads. There are directions to Ely, Cambridge, Watertree and Soggy Oak, but no directions to Groundwater. "Oh well," you think, and decide Groundwater must be in the opposite directions to Watertree and you'll go that way. Next crossroads, no directions whatsoever. "Oh dear," you think, "Perhaps I should turn round." You drive along the long, straight dark road with a 3 foot drop on either side desperately hoping for a side road or gate in which to turn round. Suddenly, with no warning, you see a turning to Groundwater and you have to brake abruptly and swing round the corner, sending everything on the back seat flying onto the floor of the car.

Then there's the A14. Me and the A14 have a difficult relationship. It looks like a very useful road, running roughly East-West across the North side of Cambridge. There aren't many East-West roads on that side of Cambridge, so it should be very useful for getting to places. Er, no. The A14 is elusive. Despite the fact that I can get on it a mile and a half from my door, I inevitably lose it again. Unless I'm trying to get on the M11. Otherwise I end up heading to Bedford or Ely or Newmarket when I wanted to go somewhere else entirely.

Perhaps it knows. Perhaps it's a conspiracy of country roads to send me and my bug hurtling back to the city where we belong. Perhaps the signposters of Cambridgeshire want me to be lost.

Perhaps I just need to look at the map more often.


Elly said...

So how did you get home last night as I presume you did?
It is funny how roads can look perfectly simple on the map but in real life they are really tricky.

Angelala said...

Totally understand the A14 issue... its very confusing nd everytime I use it, I always panic I'm on the wrong road or taken the wrong turning.
Was lovely to see you on Sunday at Jubilee. I'm getting into this blog thing a bit now.

Lots of love
Angela x

Pig wot flies said...

ooh, yay! Go Angela! Can't wait to read what you've got to say.

Dave Routledge said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dave Routledge said...

I think I may have solved the reason why you are having trouble navigating. I can't help noticing that all the people who have expressed difficulty here are female. Now before you accuse me of arrogance or flippancy, let me say my evidence is purely scientific.

Russell Eisenman McNeese State University

"Another interesting sex difference study was done at the University of Rochester, and showed, according to Stossel, that due to brain differences, men and women navigate differently. Students were blindfolded and walked through a maze of tunnels underneath the campus. Men were quite accurate in maintaining a sense of direction, but women were not. This is consistent with research showing that people with higher masculinity scores tend to do better on visual-spatial tests (and in mathematics) than those who score higher on femininity (Signorella & Jamison, 1986)".

For further evidence, please follow the link below. (Go straight down, keep going for about one centimetre, and you have reached your destination. If you get to "God bless, Dave" you have gone too far and will need to turn round and go back).


God bless