Driving home with Big N on Monday evening we were surprised to see a big arsed articulated lorry at the bottom of our little lane. “He’s lost” was my comment, just as a rotund, foreign looking little chappie stepped into the middle of the road and flagged us down.
“Oh crap! I’m crap at directions.”
As the car window slid down, letting in the freezing air and a lungful of the chap’s cigarette smoke, he wordlessly handed me a piece of paper with an address on it. I stared at it blankly for a second. “I’m not sure that’s round here,” I said to Big N. “Clerac? Isn’t that in France? He is really is lost!”
The chap, seeing my bemused expression snatched the paper from my hand and turned it over. “Oh! That makes a bit more sense.”
It was the address of a business in a small village about 10 minutes away although I didn’t know exactly where it was I knew roughly. Within about 5 seconds of starting to tell him where it was it became clear to me that the man didn’t speak any English.
Bloody great, not only am I crap at directions I have less than a schoolgirl grasp of French. Anything beyond ‘une bier’ and I’m buggered.
In a moment of quick thinking I grabbed the sat nav and punched the post code into it. Once it had located the designated place I showed the chap the directions. After a lot of nodding, blowing of cigarette smoke into my face and Gallic shrugging it became clear to me he didn’t have a clue. Sigh.
OK it’s only a few minutes away, lets take him there. With a lot of mining and hand gestures I intimated that I would show him the way. Unlike your average person talking to foreigners I do resist the urge to shout at them to make them understand and soon he understood what I meant.
With a big smile he set of to his humungously huge lorry, managing to turn it round at the bus turn round point.
Big N and me set off, the sat nav didn’t seem to want to go where we thought the place was so we ignored it for a while thinking it would catch up eventually. Oh no, it became more and more frantic as we drove away from where it wanted to be.
“Turn left! Turn left! Take the next left!” Thinking I’d got the wrong postcode I pulled over, as did Lorryman and I checked the postcode. *** *AT
“Nein, Es ist air tay.” German? RT?
I do wish they’d form their letters properly.
“I was a bit surprised he’d spoken German, I’d thought he was French. I speak a bit of German so I asked him if he was German. “No.” he answered in German. Odd. Does he think he’s in Germany?
Resetting the satnav to the new postcode we set off again. Still the damn thing wanted to take me away from where I thought we should be going. ‘Oh well, maybe there’s a business up here I don’t know about’ I thought as I led him onto a neat little Stepford Wives type estate, all tiny, manicured front lawns and too many cars for their drives. It was like driving along a slalem course.
All the time common sense was screaming at me THIS IS WRONG!!!! The sat nav told me we were at our destination, in the middle of this estate.
Once again I got out of the car and took the satnav to show Lorryman. He was as confused as me and clearly more than a bit panicky at the prospect of reversing his juggernaut out of these tiny cul de sacs. He set off to try and reverse, I had a mini heart attack.
In the meantime Boofuls had been to the chippy for fish and chips for a treat, he phoned to enquire why I wasn’t yet home. “I’m ferrying a Frenchman round the estates of Lancashire. Why? Why did I feel the need to help him out, I should be at home tucking into fish and chips now.”
The lorry eventually reappeared. He was being directed down the street by a man who’d seen his dilemma and come out to help. Thank God. I kept my head down and tried to be invisible while I got onto the internet on my phone to establish the correct address.
Well. What a surprise. Apart from the company name and the town, just about everything else about the address the Lorryman had written down was wrong.
Once the lorry had finished his six million point turns I went over with the correct details. Helper man was very helpful. He bellowed at Lorryman “YOU’VE GOT THE WRONG ADDRESS. WRONG ADDRESS!!!!!!
‘Yes, yes, I think he might know that by now,’ I thought.
Curtains twitched and doors opened to see what all the commotion was about. I bet that’s the most excitement that estate has had for years.
Once again resetting the satnav we set off. This time it took us to exactly where I thought we should be going. What a difference it makes when you have the correct information.
Leaving Lorryman at his proper destination, Big N and me set off home.
Boofuls had kept our supper warm in the oven for us and I was hungry enough to eat a scabby donkey and then chase it’s rider.
We arrived home, forty minutes later than planned, tearing off coats, scarves and gloves and leaving them all in a trail behind me in my haste to get into the kitchen I flung open the oven door looking for my fish and chips, drooling with anticipation.
There sat two neat packages, still wrapped in paper from the chippy. Unwrapping the paper we were greeted with the sight of………two melted polystyrene containers.
The fish and chips sat sad and forlorn in a cocoon of melted plastic. God only knows how many carcinogens were released into that food. Not enough to stop me eating it though as the only other alternative was indeed a scabby donkey.
It’s the last time I try and do someone a favour.