The first time we went to the cathedral city of Salisbury, Wiltshire we couldn’t find the cathedral. The spire, at 123m from ground level, is the tallest in Britain, visible for miles around and we couldn’t see it from the main square. After wandering around we finally found the signs. We often go to Salisbury, but it is one of many places where I can easily lose my sense of direction. There are five park and ride sites, all completely free at present, to encourage visitors back to Salisbury after the novichok poisoning. We usually go to the one on our route into Salisbury, but one time, against my better judgement, Cyberspouse suggested we go to the main car park near the supermarket. On arrival I was quick to point out how expensive our visit was going to be. We have a purse in the glove box that my Australian sister-in-law gave us, which is made from a kangaroo’s testical; we can get a lot of coins in it and I always put my silver change in. I poured ten, twenty and fifty pence pieces into the machine, but just before we had clocked up the right amount it stopped working. Money gone and no ticket, but at that moment, as if by magic, a car park attendant appeared at my shoulder. We had put so much money in we had blocked up his machine. He unlocked it and the money poured into our hands – we then put pound coins in and got our ticket. Setting off from that car park I had no idea where we were in relation to the Salisbury I knew.
On our most recent visit we arrived from a different direction and used a different park and ride. The pleasant bus ride brought us to a bus stop in a road where I couldn’t get my bearings. Luckily Cyberspouse has an excellent sense of direction – I did read recently that men have better spatial awareness, so that might explain it. I then worried what would happen if we got on the wrong park and ride bus, the buses all look the same and the park and ride sites probably look similar. Imagine searching for your car, not realising you were at the wrong place and with no hope of getting to the right park and ride because you had caught the last bus of the day.
Read more about Salisbury in last year’s blog.
There are more ways of arriving in Southampton than most cities; by ocean liner from abroad, by ferry across Southampton Water, by train, by bus and by car and each arrival presents a completely different view of the city. In my mind I can never put the parts together. The first time we drove there we went into the West Quay shopping centre car park at ground level and somehow walked out onto the seventh floor of the shops.
Big shopping centres always present a challenge to those lacking a sense of direction; how to find the way out to the bus station, which level takes you to the high street, will you ever find your way out of John Lewis and where on earth did you leave your car. In Southampton my best landmark is the towering blue and yellowness of Ikea. The restaurant provides an excellent view of the ships and if you came by ferry it is a short walk away. Of course Ikea itself is famous for leaving customers feeling they will never see their own home again, as they wend their way through endless happy home room lay outs.
Take the ferry to Southampton here…
Have you got a good sense of direction?