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The Sat Nav Diaries

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"I had an idea for a road trip; a sports car i shouldn't have bought; and a wife to point out that what looks entirely feasible on a scaled map can actually be quite a long way away." This isn't a travelogue; it's much less than that. If you are looking for a font-of-all-knowledge encyclopaedic guru that will help you plan your next European adventure, you'll hate this book. However, if you've ever sat in a restaurant and wondered what the life of the couple opposite is like, then this might just be what you've been after. And the locations are quite nice too.

302 pages, Paperback

Published November 11, 2017

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Adrian Sturrock

8 books5 followers

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 15 of 15 reviews
Profile Image for Jean Gill.
Author 45 books226 followers
November 11, 2017
Witty and warm, so entertaining!
If Bonnie and Clyde had sprayed sharp dialogue instead of bullets, on a road trip round Europe in a very flashy sports car, then a book like this might be the result. Nat (a very cool lady) and Adrian dazzle bemused locals with approximations of non-English, from the back streets of Marseille to the back streets of… lots of other places. Their trust in satnav leads inevitably to hilarious near-death experiences (near-death because Nat is likely to kill Adrian if she weren’t too scared of heights to lean across the car).

Beneath the humour – and this book is very, very funny – is a search for what is important in life. One moment of revelation is when Adrian realises ’I’d much rather fail at something I love than be good at something I don’t give a damn about’. Wise words.

His observation is as sharp as his sense of humour and it is dangerous to read this book near other people. I was trying to sleep then remembered one part and spluttered with laughter. This did not go down too well.

What stays in my mind, when I've stopped laughing, is how suited Nat and Adrian are to each other, in how they see the places they explore and how they defy ‘the enemy’; all those who attempt to diminish others with their narrow-mindedness.
Profile Image for Brigid Gallagher.
Author 1 book112 followers
March 21, 2018
"The Sat Nav Diaries" had me chuckling from beginning to end. The author's wit is sharp and self deprecating, and a great match for his wife Nat's humorous responses. Their conversations are priceless!
The delightful duo drive huge distances through France, Switzerland and Italy in their Mazda MX5 sports car, with the aid of "Bernice" their Sat Nav. She guides them safely along mountain passes with treacherous bends, quiet country roads... and endless wrong turns in Marseille.
I enjoyed travelling through stunning scenery, towns and cities including Cannes, St Tropez, Venice, Florence... and I have taken note of a number of their favourite destinations for my own future travel.
Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Valerie Poore.
Author 16 books69 followers
December 21, 2017
4.5 Stars. This book first came to my attention on the Facebook Memoirs group when I read a review someone else had written. It sounded like my kind of read, so I downloaded a sample to see if it would appeal to me. Well, I loved Adrian Sturrock’s humour from the first few pages, so I bought the whole book.

The Satnav Diaries is a driving travelogue, pure and simple. However, what makes it so compelling is the relationship between the author and his wife, which is portrayed with tremendous wit and self deprecating humour as they make their way in their Mazda Miata through some of Europe’s loveliest scenery and cities. Nat, Adrian’s wife is feisty and fun, but also kind and rather sweet. Adrian, the author, talks plenty of amusing nonsense, but it’s well peppered with smart remarks and the dialogue between the pair is sharp and entertaining. There is also a good balance between the personal, the historical and purely descriptive parts of the travelogue, so I had a great sense of being in the back seat (not that there is one in a Miata) listening to them banter, learning about the cities and watching the gorgeous scenery roll by.

Another aspect of the book I liked is that there are some great scenes involving the people they met along the way, which make lovely vignettes and add variety to what is otherwise a very personal account. The only slight disappointment was that I was expecting the Satnav (Bernice) to have a bit more say in the story. She pops up now and then to frustrate things, but I thought she would be still more of a divisive ‘personality’. Still, maybe that was just my expectations getting in the way.

All told, this is a very well written, funny and heart warming memoir. It could do with a bit of a spell check to smooth out some typos and errors in some of the place names, but while I couldn’t help noticing them, it didn’t spoil it for me. I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys travel books with humour.
Profile Image for Louise.
Author 1 book2 followers
March 21, 2018
Laughed out loud

If you need cheering up, read this book. I laughed out loud a lot. Adrian Sturrock gives a breezy, humorous account of 40 days of traveling through 4, 5? Countries of Europe in a two seater car with his wife Nat with their Sat nav or GPS as we call it in the US, to guide them. Sturrock’s self depreciating humor and appreciation for whatever situation he is in make this memoir an especially good read. Their choice of route makes anyone who watched movies of the 60’s envious. I think there is something for everyone here.
Profile Image for Alison Cubitt.
Author 11 books69 followers
December 19, 2022
Adrian and Natalie set off on a 40-day road trip to Europe, in their two-seater car, which is barely big enough to fit their luggage—how they squeeze Bernice in there too, I’ll never know. Bernice isn’t so much a back seat driver as a front seat one and she’s always interjecting—"turn around where possible,” or, “go around the roundabout three times while I recalculate.” Where things become tense is when our intrepid duo recall that when they punched in a destination, they were given more than one option. The decision made sense earlier on in the day, but is Bernice to be trusted? Might she be leading them up the wrong way on a one-way street? Partway through the trip, Adrian wisely spurns her and turns his affections elsewhere. Does he forgive Bernice or decide to forgo her forever? I’ll leave that to you to find out.

Adrian’s self-deprecating wit kept me entertained through the back roads of France, Italy, Spain, and everywhere in between. Highly recommended, especially for home-sick expats. Chapter 1 instantly cured me of any residual nostalgia I may have had for old Blighty—the descriptions of their fellow travellers on the cross-Channel ferry had me in stitches. A gem of a comic travelogue, highly recommended. And I can’t wait to read the sequel.

I received a free copy of this book.
Profile Image for Linda Hawkswell.
218 reviews4 followers
August 12, 2021
Witty, Charming and Highly Entertaining
On a whim, fearing redundancy, Adrian buys himself a little 2-seater sports car, a Mazda Miata. Deciding he would like to take a solo road trip for a few days, informing his wife Natalie of his decision his plans are quickly altered. Together they embark on a 40-day journey that will take them through France, Italy, and Switzerland.

This book is written in an honest and down-to-earth manner with a wicked sense of humour, as well as being a memoir, it is a very informative driving travelogue of their travels which are full of surprises along the way, plenty of twists and turns of the unexpected nature. Following Bernice (Sat Nav Lady) the wrong way down one-way streets, round and round in circles, I know that feeling well, lol, mine was called Roxanne, she has now been ditched in favour of Google Maps.

Natalie and Adrian have a special relationship, they compliment each other with their special rapport and dialogue which is batted back and forth between them. I felt as if I was on the trip with them...squished in at the back of this two-seater.....I enjoyed the ever-changing scenery.

I received this book as a gift through We Love Memoirs and I can highly recommend it. Thank you for the wonderful journey, Adrian.
184 reviews8 followers
January 31, 2018
I would like to give this book 4.5*s. Enjoyed this read. This was supposed to be the author and his newly acquired sports car going off for a few days and it turned out to be a few weeks on the road for the author and his wife - love their banter. It was an easy read and I liked the authors 'way with words' - funny, entertaining and informative - not in-depth informative but gives you an idea of places he and his wife drove to and through from UK - France, Switzerland and Italy with the help of 'Bernice' - brought back memories as have visited a couple of their destinations - and also got me thinking - how fun this would be to do - 'mastering' languages (haha) - people watching - some perfect views - magical moments and some scary times - the type of adventures that actually happen - what's not to like.
Profile Image for Alyson Sheldrake.
Author 11 books30 followers
June 1, 2020
A witty, engaging and most enjoyable book. As the former owner of a Mazda MX5, the idea of travelling through France, Italy and Switzerland in such a fun vehicle, alongside two witty individuals with a wry outlook on life, sounded like the perfect setting for a book for me. I was not disappointed. Adrian writes about the everyday with a great sense of observation and humour, and has some great one-liners! He does not just visit the big tourist attractions, he talks about the places they visit and brings them to life through the small details that he observes, combined with a good level of history and information. A most enjoyable read that made me want to start travelling again.
Profile Image for Jacqueline Lambert.
Author 9 books26 followers
August 21, 2021
No Disasters: Lots of Laughter

Road trip memoirs are frequently a catalogue of calamities, a search for self, or a directory of delectable destinations. This book is notably devoid of all that. In fact, very little actually happens…

A nice couple go on a road trip in a reliable car and have a good time. It doesn't seem like a great premise for a book, does it?

Yet in a series of wry observations, witty perspectives and entertaining sketches, Adrian captures the flavour of the trip masterfully, with huge belly laughs thrown in. I can’t wait to read more from this thoughtful, funny writer.
Profile Image for Anna Gracey.
95 reviews
February 6, 2018
I loved it. I rarely give 5 stars, 5 stars are for books I've annotated and will be reading again; books I did not want to put down; books that taught me something or made me think, books that left me richer than I was before.
I definitely recommend it - if you're planning a trip, for some tips and insight; if you can't travel, for some "depaysement" (I don't think English has a word for it). Or just for a few laughs and some good entertainment. It's an excellent read, and I'm looking forward to the sequel!
Profile Image for J. A.  Lewis.
408 reviews3 followers
February 22, 2023
Adrian has quite the wit and this memoir is laugh out loud funny in places. He and his wife, Nat, take a whirlwind 40 day trip to various countries in their sports car equipped with satellite navigation. There are some "twists and turns" literally, as they wind their way from one place to another. I would say I was jealous of all the wonderful places they visited. I can only hope Mr. Sturrock visits the United States sometime and realizes that the most of us are hardworking, generous, loving people and not politicians.
Profile Image for Amie McCracken.
Author 20 books64 followers
November 14, 2017
This book had me chuckling and choking on my coffee for page after page. The voice is incredible. The atmosphere is tangible, as if you're right there in the car with the writer as he traverses Europe. While it's not strictly a commentary on different cultures and the people attached to those cultures, it is an adventure seen through an everyday, mundane vacation-turned commentary on people in general.
Profile Image for Anne London.
163 reviews3 followers
June 15, 2020
Now a bucket list item

I encountered this memoir on accident but thoroughly enjoyed it. I enjoyed learning more about European geography (I knew where the countries were located but not how close they actually are *driving distance*). Side note: I followed from place to place using Google maps. My husband love road trips in our convertible in the states...now, I want to travel through Europe that way!
Profile Image for Gail.
1,826 reviews11 followers
November 19, 2017
This is an interesting travelogue of an English couple's automotive trip thru parts of Europe. It has some very funny parts as they deal with language barriers and an unreliable navigational system they name Beatrice. This is the author's first book.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
491 reviews3 followers
May 16, 2018
What an original book. Adrian Sturrock and his wife Natalie embark on a road trip around Europe in their Mazda sports car and with the help of their sat nav, Bernice. I loved the dialogue between them which at times had me laughing out loud. They complement each other so very well. It’s written in a delightful light hearted way, it definitely appealed to my sense of humour.
He has the knack of seeing the humour in most situations, even when things occasionally don’t turn out the way they expect. As a reader I felt I was on the trip with them and enjoyed seeing the sights in the various countries they visited. There is so much to recommend this book but mostly the wonderful rapport between them. It made me want to visit some of the places mentioned, like Strasbourg or Florence. Read this book if you enjoy travel with a big dose of fun flung in as well. You won’t be disappointed.
Displaying 1 - 15 of 15 reviews

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