By: Blonde Two

You never know when skills that you have learnt in one context will turn out to be useful in another.  For example, try transferring Dartmoor navigation skills to the middle of the fair city of Bristol.  Picture the scene, four friends in need of a cup of tea, a bit of fresh air and some people watching, but not really wanting to pay for parking for the third time that day.  A beautiful square with grass, trees, benches and people to watch beckons so they park up and select a bench next to the car but nowhere near the parking ticket machine.

There was a traffic warden (sorry civil enforcement officer – codename Tango Whiskey) around somewhere but we decided that we could avoid a ticket by keeping a careful eye on his movements and making appropriate strategic car manoeuvres.

In order for this plan to work, we needed to know how long it would take Tango Whiskey to get from one corner of the square to where we were sitting. This was when the navigations skills kicked in.  The first step was to work out the distance around the square so, cup of tea slurped down, I paced out one side of the square – 110 metres.  Then I had to estimate how fast Tango Whiskey was moving – approximately 4km per hour. This meant that for him to cover two sides of the square it would take 2.2 x 1.5 minutes = 3.3 minutes.  Things got a bit more complicated when it looked like Tango Whiskey was going to take a diagonal route across the park and I had to talk to my old friend Mr Pythagorus about his lovely hypotenuse.

All good fun and I don’t think our friends thought I was being too weird.  Especially as the plan worked; we drank our tea, breathed the fresh air, got to do a bit of people watching, only had to move the car once and didn’t get a parking ticket.