I belong to a book club. A fun book club, just not a very good book club. Now I don’t mean that in a derogatory way, it’s just that we are not very serious. One member recently posted on our WhatsApp group “we are a drinking club with a book problem” which kinda sums us up. We are a great bunch, meetings are a bit hit and miss, but we all agree it makes us read books we wouldn’t normally read.
There is a breakaway group who are into audio books. According to Mr Kellaway Jnr, husband of member Mrs Kellaway Jnr, audio books are cheating. According to Mr Kellaway Jnr you can only read a book – you can’t listen to a book. The rest of us disagree, he is not a member so why take notice of his remarks anyway?
I had another jolly coming up – North Devon to East Sussex – a bloody long drive so a bloody good time to finish the latest book by audio. App downloaded, book purchased, off I went.
It was a lovely trip and I travelled mostly A and B roads. Once in Hampshire I picked up the A272. It’s a lovely long and winding road and a complete nostalgia trip, taking me throughparts of my old stomping grounds. There were stops in the likes of Petworth, spent too much in one shop. A quick pint – soda water – in The Cricketers, Wisborough Green. But it was also distressing to see all the house building. When did Billingshurst get a ring road and quadruple in size? The same with Hayward’s Heath. I got lost three times and kept ending up on the new ring road. I knew most of the route but I had borrowed Best Mate’s satnav for the last part.
Now Larry Landrover is old. I purchased him new 23 years ago, so he didn’t come with bluetooth.In fact I don’t think bluetooth was invented then. But I have had him bluetoothed. I can make or receive calls, I admit I can’t hear a call over the rumble of the engine. However, I can, and do play music and now listen to books. According to Best Mate audio books drain your phone battery so on a long journey best plug the cable into what was the cigarette lighter to keep charged. Trouble is the satnav also needed to be plugged in, same with the dash cam. That was three lots of leads required on the dashboard. Once the other side of Heathfield I knew I wasn’t far from my journey’s end and stopped to set satnav and change plugs over.
I don’t use satnav very often so it takes a few minutes to get back into the swing of glancing at it and listening. It’s also not very loud, and even quieter when you are trying to listen to a book at the same time, and all over the rumble of a Landrover’s engine. I had only gone a few miles when it gave out instructions so quiet I missed them, I went to turn down the volume on the audio book, glanced at its screen and got the plug cord wrapped round my wrist. As I went to pull my hand free the cord tightened and dragged my hand away from the steering wheel. I pulled again, pulling out the cord while hitting something on the stereo which blasted up the volume, started a bleeping while I almost mounted the curb. I straightened up, still with cord around my wrist and parked up. After several minutes of disentanglement with the satnav, phone, and switching off the audio book, I then tried to work out was bleeping. No luck so I set off again. Within minutes the satnav was barking instructions at the same impossible to hear level, the stereo had turned itself back on while something was still bleeping. Before I got annoyed and mounted the curb again, I stopped. It was the dash cam, it had run out of charge and was admitting a truly awful high pitched bleep which went on and on and on. Just before I threw the bloody thing out of the window it stopped. Heaven… I set off again. Before I reached 4th gear the bleeping started once more. In desperation and still driving I pulled the bloody thing off the windscreen and tried to turn it off. It just kept bleeping it wouldn’t stop. Buried it in my handbag – that didn’t help. I piled jacket, map book, anything within reach on it but it still didn’t help.In total desperation I sat on the bloody thing. Even my well padded ample arse couldn’t smother the bleeping. I drove 8 miles, so annoyed I had no clue where I was going, no help from the impossible to hear satnav and my arse bleeping. Still, I had a lovely trip. Book finished and thank God I knew the way home..