Saturday, 3 May 2008

Nafman takes a holiday

Regular readers of the BlackLOG, before it became a bonafide published Blog (I'm delighted to report that regular readership has recently increased from being counted on just fingers to now requiring toes as well), will be familiar with my love/hate affair with Nafman my sometimes car navigation system (one day I will get around to publishing some of the highlights of my pre-Internet days, which will, I'm sure, include some of the fun that I have had with Nafman). To help bring you up to speed, all you need to know is that Nafman delights in attempting to take me in the wrong direction, while I enjoy ignoring its instructions. This drives Mrs B up the wall. "If you must have the damn thing, at least use it!". I think it's a man thing, in that:-

1) It is a gadget. (No matter how rubbish a device, if it's categorised as a gadget most men will desire it, purchase it, worship it, unwrap it, use it for a couple of hours before reverently placing it at the back of a cupboard and then never talking about it again)

2) I don't have to ask for directions, it just provides them. This is very important for any man's self esteem.

3) It does not fall a sleep at vital parts of the journey. It might however decide to recalculate the route at inopportune moments, but at least I have the satisfaction that it is working, rather then snoozing, when it strands me in the middle of a very busy junction, while it makes up a new direction for me to ignore.

4) If it goes wrong, it never admits to its error, just cooly adds a new instruction as if it meant to take you through the Asda car park, under the underpass and into Mrs Ringsting's Greenhouse.

5) It does not snap at you if you miss a turning, it just surreptitiously adds another 20 miles to your journey

OK, so I have to admit Nafman does not always take the most sensible route, but as long as you ignore any instructions that take you along railway tracks, through people's gardens and passed no entry signs and as long as you have enough petrol, it will always deliver you to your requested destination (I'm not sure if this should actually read "almost always" or "always almost", I guess that depends on Nafman's mood) well certainly within 200 metres of that destination at least. (It is not always Nafmans fault that there is suddenly now a river, that appeared overnight, or a block of flats that happened to shuffle along the street and unfortunately collapsed at the very point that now covers your route).

Nafman selects another interesting route!

A week after Nafman came into our lives, I did manage to unsuccessfully use him in Menorca. The main problem being that it only managed to show us two roads on the Island. While this worked fantastically for the 10% of the time when we happened to be using the identified roads it was somewhat of a disaster for the remaining 90% of the time.

Nafman "Go to the nearest road".

Us "We are on a road".

Nafman "Go to the nearest road".

Us "This is a road".

Nafman "Go to the nearest road".

Mrs B "This is rubbish".

Nafman "Go to the nearest road".

Me "He's young,he'll learn".

Nafman "Go to the nearest road".

Ok I admit it, I was wrong, Nafman, Like me, seems to have developed a perverse pride in failure to learn.

"I might have been tempted if we had hired a 4x4, as it was, no thanks Nafman I think I'll pass."

I had planned to take Nafman to France for New Year, but could not find the European road map discs to load onto him. Inevitably I found the European map discs about 2 days after our return from France. I thought nothing more about it and safely packed the discs away ("safely", now that sounds like a recipe for disaster). When we decided to hire a car for our visit to our friends Richard and Denise in Portstewart, Northern Ireland (aside 1)I looked up their address on Nafman, nothing. Assuming that the loaded discs did not include Northern Ireland I unpacked the map discs and attempted to load them onto Nafman. Eeeek! While I now had the European Maps in my sweaty little mitts, I unfortunately was missing the vital program loading disc, which handles the transfer of maps between the PC and Nafman, Grrrrrr. Why could that not go on one of the three discs that contained the Maps. I guess that won't turn up until we least need it or until I've lost the European map discs. I was about to give up on Nafman when I decided to check out Belfast. Sure enough it was included in Nafman proving to me that Northern Ireland was already loaded. This was looking a bit more promising. Other bits of Northern Ireland appeared but, sorry Richard and Denise, Portstewart is just not important enough to be included.

Despite this slur on their home town, Richard came to our rescue and provided us with a number of links to Google maps, giving us various options on getting from Belfast International Airport to their house. This was great, if a little complicated, as there were different routes for almost every occasion :-
  • If we were travelling before 10am on a weekend there was one route,
  • after 10am another,
  • unless we happen to see two green cars parked at the first junction coming out of the airport, in which case we had to use a third option.
  • However if we passed an orange car with it's headlights on then we had to use a 4th option.
  • Unless the orange car was doing less than 30 and it was raining moderately, then we had to use the first option, even, and this was stressed most importantly, if it was after 10am.
We set off with a speed gun, watch and rain measuring instruments.

I had taken Nafman with us and was impressed to find that he correctly identified that we were at Belfast International airport, I was less impressed that no roads were shown leading from the airport. Nafman did not find a road that it recognised until we were four miles from the airport. He then behaved impeccably until he reached around four miles from Portstewart where once again he refused to recognise any of the remaining roads.

During the visit, Richard took on Nafman duties (aside 2). , guiding us correctly to each destination. My one complaint is that while Nafman can and indeed often does give the wrong direction it gives you plenty of warning. Richard on the other hand liked to wait until we were level with a turn off before expressing the desire for us to take that road. All very impressive if you are trying to lose someone in a car chase but not very popular with Denise and Mrs B who were being flung about the back of the car like rag dolls.

A few pictures from a weekend in Northern Ireland to end on. Plus a big thanks to Richard & Denise + the ankle biter, for looking after us with their normal high standard of hospitality.

A thin strip of cloud moved in across the coast, which took us about 10 minutes to drive through. Another triumph for the weathermen as they predicted rain followed by more rain"

This is more like the Med then Northern Ireland

Denise, Becks and Richard (it was all going so well until Richard tried to corrupt me with a TV program called "Iggle Piggle",while Denise and Mrs B went out for a walk. I'm sorry Richard but not even Becks was interested and she's not that fussy, I saw her eating rocks......

--------------------------So ends another Blog------------------

(1) Our friend Kirsty mentioned that I seemed to be travelling a lot at the moment, France, Canada, Germany & Northern Ireland all in the last few months. I explained that I was having to off set my accidental organic food purchases (the damn supermarkets have started to sneak organic food out of the weirdo isles and have been secreting it amongst proper food) by dramatically increasing my carbon foot print.

(2) Richard working on Route 35 of 65, to get us back to the Airport.

It's Monday evening, there is 35% cloud coverage and you have been passed by three black cars and a red one. This is very similar to route 34, just needs slight adjustment to the route because there is only 33% cloud coverage.
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