Monday, 19 November 2012

Drayton's Dreadful Dilemma

Brothers and sisters, who would ever have dreamed that the simple journey from Husborne Crawley to Luton could have caused so much trouble?

I mostly blame Eileen, the soi-disant "Archdruid" from the Beaker Community next door, for the trials I have faced today. Firstly this was because of the lacerations I suffered after she set her dogs on me Saturday. However, she has assured me that this was a pure accident, caused by panic at the thought the world might really be coming to an end. And when I told her that, so far, the wounds had not started to respond to prayer, she suggested I should get them checked over by the Accident and Emergency department of a local hospital. She further recommended the Luton and Dunstable Hospital because "my niece Alesha was born there, so it must be good." I hasten to add these were not instructions - they were suggestions, as she was very keen to explain.

Being a native of Luton, Eileen offered to come with me in case I struggled with the native language, which is apparently some sub-group of Cockney. But she told me she had not been to the hospital in a while, so recommended I switch on my Satellite Navigation Equipment.

Imagine my concern, dearly beloved, as we approached the southbound ramp at Junction 13. As we waited at the traffic lights, Eileen fiddled with the SatNav, then jumped out of the car and ran back towards the village, laughing.As she ran across the junction, it struck me that she is wise to wear that hi-viz vest. However, I could not likewise change direction -I was already committed to turning right. My indicator was on, and I always let my "yes" be "yes" and my "no" be "no". So when the lights changed, I turned onto the slip road and headed south on the M1.

She had changed the voice settings on the SatNav. Instead of the manly, reassuring tones of Mark Driscoll, which I had purchased specially, I was now listening to a friendly, cheerful but resolutely female voice.

What was I to do? It is wrong for a woman to have authority over a man. But did this electronic voice count? I presumed at some point a woman must have recorded the words - so clearly this counted as me being under authority. I would have switched it off - but I was on  a motorway, and to start to change the controls while driving would not be driving carefully. What could I do?

I resolved that I would have to disobey all the commandments of this electronic navigatrix. By nudging the power cable out from the charger, I reckoned I would have no more than three or four hours of her instructions - at which point I would resort to my normal method of finding destinations - that is, prayer.

So as I came towards Luton, and she instructed me to leave the motorway, I went straight on. When she advised me to get off and turn round at Junction 10, I kept going. When she suggested I double round at Junction 6, I turned left.

As I headed round the M25 towards Kent, her demands became more strident. But, like the deaf adder that cannot be charmed, charm the charmer never so wisely, I kept going. As I approached the Dartford crossing, I had a real problem. Because, as I passed the last possible exit, she recognised that there was no turning back, and suggested I keep going over the crossing - an instruction I had no way of disobeying.

What was I to do? I could not allow this SatNav to have dominion over me. And yet the alternative was to drive the car straight off the Queen Elizabeth Bridge - which is illegal, as well as quite dangerous. My way was perilous.

Praise be to the One who protects the faithful! For just at that moment, in the third lane of the motorway heading onto the bridge over the Thames, I ran out of petrol. Remembering that we are called to turn neither to the left nor the right, I stayed in lane until I came to a halt.

By the time the police arrived, I had switched off the SatNav. This left me free to drive the right way - whichever that was, for I was many miles from home and facing in the wrong direction. But I had to wait for a breakdown truck to haul me to the nearest services, and then wait for Marjory to drive down with some money for petrol - I having handed over the money I had with me to get through the toll, and pay off the breakdown assistance man.

It turns out this evening that my dog-bites have started to heal. I put this down to divine assistance, but there is a slight possibility that the whole day I spent driving to Dartford and back may simply have proved that time is a great healer. From now on, I will memorise the map before setting out anywhere. It puts your soul in less peril.


  1. Clearly a lucky escape! Has Drayton realized that the instructions provided by pieced of technology might be not merely female, but demonic in origin?

  2. I should say that, being a Funambulist Baptist, Drayton's strange views on women have no real bearing on the work of the C of E Synod tomorrow. Although their scheduled vote may have inspired my prank.

    If there's a way that women can be bishops but those opposed to women bishops can still maintain their integrity - that would do for me. I can't imagine how that could work out - but then maybe there's One who can.

    1. Amen, Eileen - me too. I'm no longer an Anglican but my heart is sore today for the pain there will be - on all sides- whatever happens. Kyrie eleison.


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