%0 things the English Do Well, A228, AA, Alan Bennett, Auto magazines, Beeb, Boudicca, Cold War, Galileo system, Isis, ISS, Martha Kearney, personalised number plates, Route Planners, Satnav, sausage rolls, Teacher Training college
I do hope that warden hasn’t written us a ticket, sighed Dru,
after they had called the AA.
He wouldn’t have been able to, if he was still carrying the
remains of the urn, Gus pointed out. And I doubt he’d be able
to remember the numberplate.
I don’t know. Short term memory is supposed to handle seven,
plus or minus two items, unless you treat each item as a file
for further storage, but recall is affected by the length of delay.
I can’t remember who said that, but we did it at Teacher
Training college. I’ve forgotten most of what we supposedly
Just as well we weren’t in Boudicca, Gus remarked. (He didn’t
want to stray onto the topic of teacher training, since he hadn’t
had any. He had learned all he knew in the field- usually the
Yeah, your personalised numberplate is pretty memorable, but
it draws too much attention to itself…and to your somewhat
erratic driving, if you don’t mind me saying.
He did. She’d said it nevertheless.
It was a leaving present from the boys when I stood down
from being Deputy Head. I treasure it.
Hmm, well, I don’t suppose anyone else was fighting over
SNO D1 in those Auto magazines… I shouldn’t have driven
on that tyre. I’ll probably have ruined the wheel. Oh,
where is that AA guy, or person?! I should have said
that I was a vulnerable woman with an elderly father…
…and an infinitesimal percentage of a recently deceased
relative, added Gus, dryly.
Their Satnav probably doesn’t work as this lane is too small
to show up from Outer Space. Or maybe since the US military
are jumpy at the moment, they have switched off the satellite
Dru’s science was somewhat vague.
There was something on the news about astronauts laying
cables on Isis.
ISS, corrected Snod. International Space Station. No, your
position can be traced to an area within 15 metres. The system
was developed so they could hit a target with a ballistic missile.
However, just because these gadgets can tell you where you are,
it doesn’t mean that you know where you are going. Intelligence
comes into it too.
He started to hum, I know where I’m going and I know who’s
going with me, rather annoyingly.
Do you think people in the AA are intelligent? Dru wondered.
The person who took the call had never heard of this lane, though
I kept saying that we were just off the A228. Without an
Ordnance Survey reference they didn’t seem to be able to cope.
A thought suddenly came to her. What if the military scrambles
the signal to confuse Putin’s jets as they fly over our coast?
Maybe we will all have to revert to A-Z Route Planners if
there is another Cold War.
Gus looked at his watch. It was getting late. He regretted
having eaten the trifle earlier. And what he would have given
for one of those sausage rolls.
Wretched, greedy old codger who demolished more than his
fair share at the wake!
He wasn’t referring to himself, but, as is usual in
these ethical matters, it was a case of the pot calling
the kettle black. Snod’s blind spot was not reserved to
any vehicle that he drove, but was a personal feature-
one which Alan Bennett had only commented on recently,
as a national characteristic.
Poor old Martha Kearney hadn’t expected a National
Treasure to nominate ‘hypocrisy‘ as being one of a list of
fifty things the English do well. Maybe if the Beeb had
given Bennett a couple of nice sausage rolls before the
interview, he’d have been kinder and less crotchety.
After all, his dad had been a butcher, so he probably
retained a penchant for them. Cutbacks are responsible
for a lot of negativity, especially in the elderly…
Gus just hoped that he and Dru were not sitting in the
biggest blind spot, or black hole in Britain.
But mercifully a yellow van homed in on them. Maybe that
new Galileo system had kicked in.
That’ll show those Ruskies, he thought. What we excel in is
A long-legged blonde in uniform emerged from the van,
carrying a toolkit:
So, what is problem? she said, huskily. I’ve driven practically
to Vladivostock to find you.
Ah, puncture is simples!