I seem to have spent the week hurtling around Devonshire lanes getting lost! Why is it that when you set off across country, the map clearly in your head, that the second junction you get to looks nothing like the map and has a signpost with entirely different place names on it – or no signpost at all? Yesterday there was a definite conspiracy to add to the mix. I actually arrived at the edge of the target village, in good time, only to find the road into the village was closed and a diversion was sign-posted. Confidently tucking in behind a couple of BT vans (whose drivers clearly knew a way round the problem) I set off on what proved to be a circuitous and somewhat muddy detour (complete with farm yard and rope-across-the-road-for-milking-time) ending up where I had started, some 20 minutes earlier! (or should that be later?) It transpired that the BT vans were going to an outlying farm to deal with a wiring problem. (The drivers are probably still wondering why a weird woman followed them all the way there!) Abandonning the car in the village hall car park I resorted to foot – running (yes, Running) through the village to keep my appointment at the village school.
On Monday I had a similar experience – only this time the Motorway Maintenance lorries (despite their labelling) were blocking the lane completely, so I was forced to turn left instead of right. Some nine miles later I found myself about twelve miles from where I was meant to be. Frantic phone call to explain. (There was actually a mobile phone signal in the village in which I had ‘landed’. Unusual amongst these Devon valleys.) Eventually I found my way to the village I was seeking – only to find that there had been a horrible accident at the junction where, if I had gone the right way, I would have been trying to cross the busy major road some twenty minutes earlier – probably around the time the accident happened. Now that caused the hairs on my neck to stand on end!
So, dear Devon, thank you for all the ‘fun’ I have had exploring your lovely back roads. Thank you to the farmer’s wife who kindly lowered the rope for me to cross. Thank you to the many horse riders who trotted into gateways to allow me past (at a crawl of course!) Thank you to the road-workers whose inadequate signs enabled me to see such beautiful places. Thank you to the motorway builders who enabled me to get home in time for tea. Thank you to all the staff in the schools I was visiting who brought me cups of coffee. Thank you Devon – BUT… you know World War II ended in 1945 so I think it might be ok to put the road signs back any time now!
Once or twice, as I hurtled along single track roads at a massive 20 miles an hour (or so) I did consider the idea of investing in Sat Nav, but I have thought better of it. Too much money, too inaccurate and a huge insult to my map-reading intelligence. And it would take away half the fun!