On the Fly…Maggie’s GPS

On The Road - Towcester by JOtwell (click to buy)
On The Road – Towcester by JOtwell (click to buy)

Maggie’s GPS

A few years ago, I was visiting my late mother, staying in her house in Towcester, Northamptonshire, in the thick of horse country, and a long memory ago from my birthplace in urban Liverpool. Since my parents had moved to that neck of the woods in the late ‘60’s, I’d become familiar with the area during various visits from the States, and generally knew my way around.

On this particular occasion my dear friends Brian Willoughby and Cathryn Craig were touring the U.K. in support of a new album, and were scheduled to play a show in Northampton, about twenty miles from Towcester. Brian very kindly offered to pick me up at mum’s to carry me with them to the gig.

These two travel very nicely in a big Mercedes sedan, which had just been equipped with a GPS system . The British G.P.S. system at that time offered a selection of ‘voices’ to actually communicate the information and Brian, in his own unique way, had picked the voice of The Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher, as his voice on the G.P.S.

Once we got on the road, I realized that the directions weren’t anything that the locals would ever use, but I kept the gob shut. And the hectoring voice of the Maggie was quite entertaining as Brian navigated us into the tortuous one-way system of downtown Northampton, a questionable urban effort at best, and one which confounded me for years. As we neared our destination, there was a major road improvement project going on right in front of the gig, with the cones and all, so we had to cruise past. Maggie got irate “destination  passed. destination passed!”
We were all laughing our asses  off by this time, but we found our way ourselves to the back entrance of the venue, and were rewarded by Maggie’s benediction “you have reached your destination”.

A very fine concert ensued, and when they drove me back to Towcester, we didn’t use the G.P.S.!