A friend in need is a friend indeed and as it turned out on our recent Australia trip, we needed a friend to guide us round Perth. That friend was Sally. Sally wasn’t some cheap other-side-of-the-tracks lady, she was classy and she she was full of information. Her accent was slightly odd for the untrained British ear, but we got by okay.
As with all friends though, we sometimes fell out. I’m not sure if it was something I said but on our final day in Perth Sally refused to talk to my wife and I.
We had been staying in Bussleton, south of Perth, at the Beachlands Holiday Park. The journey back to Perth and the airport to fly home started with a 3.5 hour journey by car. It’s a simple enough journey, a straight road between Bussleton and Perth with little need to know the exact route as it’s signposted. So Sally, who’s prime job was to keep us on the straight and narrow didn’t have a lot to say.
We stopped off at Fremantle on the way back to get some lunch and then it was onwards to my daughter-in-law’s home in Butler, north of Perth. The entire journey was uneventful and Sally hardly said a thing. I think she was musing about missing us when we caught our night-flight to Doha, in Qatar.
At my step-daughters we had a cup of tea, got changed and bade a teary farewell to my wife’s daughter and her three children.
I thought it would be best to fill up with petrol first but my wife’s view was we would have to do it again at the airport anyway and there were bound to be petrol (gas to my American reader) stations near Perth International Airport . We were so low on petrol the car was dinging a warning and we asked Sally where the nearest petrol station was. She simply sat in her normal position and pointed us in a vague direction but refused to say anything.
Not only were we now running out of petrol we were running out of time for check-in for our flight. In desperation we scoured the area and pure luck intervened as I spied a petrol station near an intersection. Stopping the car I dashed out to open the petrol cap to fill up. I had done this several times before, but this time it refused to budge. Did we have enough petrol to make it to the airport… and which Terminal did we need? There are four terminals! Panic was welling up inside and as I sat in the driver’s seat and clicked over the ignition key, I got back out and tried once more. It worked and I managed to fill the car up. Even finding which terminal we needed from the kind attendant in the shop where I paid for the petrol.
We drove away to the airport and again Sally refused to speak. So we did the best we could and eventually found where to park, just in time for check-in.
We parted company with Sally on non-speaking terms, the end of a beautiful friendship ending in sadness. It was a blot on our trip to Australia.
It was a week later on our return to Cyprus that I realised why Sally had been so quiet. Nobody told me SatNavs have a mute switch! What’s the point of a SatNav that doesn’t give verbal directions. All is forgiven, SatNav Sally. I hope we meet again soon.
Tom Kane © 2018
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