NORMALLY I’d have been more than happy to have some reason for abandoning a tedious basket of ironing on a Sunday morning.
But “mum can you come and get us, we’ve had a car accident” is not high on the list.
I suppose it has always worried me that Firstborn’s caving trips begin and end in a car full of students, owned by a relatively inexperienced driver.
They set off at the crack of dawn, drive out into the middle of nowhere, cave all day and then drive back late at night.
On this particular occasion they’d got to within spitting distance of the cave, taken a turn badly and plunged into a ditch next to a drystone wall. Everyone escaped with no more than a bruise here and there, but badly shaken up.
Unable to carry their caving gear – two-ton ropes, wet suits etc – they abandoned the car and hiked to Ingleton.
“It’s not far,” said The Boy, when he called me. “Just past Skipton. Please come and get us as there are no buses.”
The Girl checked on our new Sat Nav. “It’s 39.4 miles,” she said. “But take a map as well because you know what you’re like.”
I’m not entirely sure what she meant by that, unless she was thinking of a certain trip to deliver our kittens last week when I had several arguments with the Sat Nav woman.
As it turns out, 39.4 miles is quite a long way when it involves no motorways and a roundabout once every 2.4 miles.
When I reached Skipton I looked eagerly for signs for Ingleton but there were none. I had to put my trust entirely in Sat Nav woman who seemed to have forgiven me for the outbursts of the week before and got me there without incident, other than making me jump in my seat with her sudden announcements after long, suspicious silences.
It may be that I can start forging a meaningful relationship with Sat Nav woman now that I have learned to interpret what she means when she says ‘turn left’ on a road that has no turnings. “It means the road turns to the left,” said The Boy. “You’ve got to look at the map.”
And there’s me thinking that Sat Nav driving did away with the need for maps.
Instead I fear it has become yet another distraction for the driver already beset with complex road markings, multiple traffic signals, mini roundabouts, one-way systems and car phones.
These days when I set off on a journey I feel more like an airline pilot doing pre-flight checks – mobile phone off, radio on, CD inserted, air con on, screen de-mister on, Sat Nav plugged in, map book at the ready (just in case), seatbelt on and, finally, engine on.
To think I once had a car with no radio and no seatbelts!