We don't have an Alexa but we do have a Sat-Nav. She amuses us- and adds a dimension to the driving experience. We love how she noses out the narrowest, wiggliest country roads- and also how she mispronounces place names, swallowing syllables if she thinks they have too many and putting emphasis on the wrong ones. We always listen out when we're approaching the nearby village of Flimwell because she says it in a Welsh accent- and yesterday she was calling Chertsey Chert-sea- as if it were a place you'd visit with a bucket and spade and shrimping net.
We were grateful for her instinct for the wiggly yesterday. We'd stopped to have a pic-nic lunch at the prettier end of Hawkhurst- where there's a large village green- known as the Moor- with a church and a manor house and some pretty cottages and a Victorian school-house that is surplus to requirements and currently up for sale- and she got us in there and out again by funny little lanes that avoided the modern village centre which is a frightful bottleneck.
There's a pic-nic table on The Moor. We had bread and humus and ginger beer. In the days before lockdown we'd have found a pub- but not these days. A flight of swallows swam around overhead. Then they went. "They'll be halfway across the next county by now," I said (The next county being Sussex which has heraldic swallows- martlets- on its coat of arms). But then they were back again. Twitter, twitter, twitter.
A group of teenage girls- who probably use the pic-nic table as their hang-out (but if they were put out at us they didn't show it) floated past and went and sat under a tree.