Duncan bell is lost in london

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The strange tale of the misplaced bridge; or how Apple Maps nearly caused a relationship breakdown

Recently, I went to see my parents, who are old. No word of a lie, at R one point they spent 10 minutes trying to locate my mum’s iPhone using ‘Find my iPhone’ on her iPad. A lot of consternation ensued, as Apple’s clever app showed that the iPhone appeared to be on the move. Had the dog swallowed it? Was it being borne about the house by a family of mischievous mice? No: the phone turned out to be in my mum’s pocket. How we chortled.

This reminded me of an event on the way home from my last visit to the ’rents, last year. This also involved one of Apple’s clever apps, and it very much did not make me chortle. My partner and I were driving home. Well, he was driving home; I was chilling out and eating the in-car snacking meats. We had to refuel the hire car just before dropping it off, in order to avoid an eye-watering fuelling fee. 

Driving into London is always reasonably traumatic, but we had faith in Apple Maps. It had got us to the Smoke in good time. We’d pinpointed a handily located petrol station on the south side of Chelsea Bridge and using the ace ‘add a stop’ feature, we’d adjusted the route to go there first, then on to our ultimate destination – aurine-scented and underlit car park near Waterloo embankment.

Surprisingly, Apple Maps diverted us via Knightsbridge. Now, I know the traf fic in central London is atrocious everywhere, but Knightsbridge seemed a bit of an eccentric choice, if we were looking for the fastest route.

However, using my very poor knowledge of West London – which, being from the south and east of London, I hate – Iknew that the poncy hellhole that is home to Harrods was somewhere in the vicinity of that even more poncy and vacuous shitbox, Chelsea. When my partner, who is more of a fusspot than me, started making anxious noises, I reassured him that the device just knows the best route, and was no doubt taking us through Knightsbridge to avoid some kind of traf fic catastrophe blocking the routes it would normally select.

Driving into London is always reasonably traumatic but we had faith in Apple Maps…

Alas, my sense of di

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