Getting back behind the wheel (and surviving)

Unlike most people, I didn’t learn to drive when I was 17. Well, I say that: I had lessons aged 17, but failed my first test. I then went off to uni and on a slightly-longer-than-intended trip around the world, and so it wasn’t until I arrived back home to Derbyshire, at the grand old age of 24, that I ever found myself in a situation where the ability to drive was a necessity.

I did learn. But I never really enjoyed it. I don’t like cars. I’ve can’t understand the appeal of owning a metal box that pumps out loads of poisonous fumes and has the potential to kill either yourself or someone else. I am also what I think most of my friends and family would describe as a “nervous passenger”. I don’t like going too fast, I don’t particularly like hills (either going up or down), I have been known to panic at steep bends, and please don’t overtake or drive too close to the car in front! Yes, cars might be convenient but give me a bus or train any day.

Needless to say, when I moved to London I was delighted that I no longer had a need for a car. London’s public transport system is fantastic: the tube and train network spans pretty much the length and breadth of the city, and buses run ALL NIGHT, EVERYWHERE! I could get wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted, without having to deal with the trauma of actually driving myself. Brilliant.

Obviously now I am in the deepest French countryside that situation has changed somewhat. I have seen signs for a bus stop about a mile down the road but I have never actually seen a bus. The nearest train station is about a 20 minute drive away, and while cycling is obviously an option, you should see some of the hills! Fine for a leisurely Sunday afternoon in the sunshine but if Dennis isn’t around and I need a loaf of bread in the winter or I need to get somewhere in a hurry, my push bike is simply not going to cut it (not least as the gears don’t work properly!).

20170218_151338
This is not going to get me very far, very fast

So reluctantly, after 12 years of enjoying the luxury of being ferried around by other people, I have had to get back behind the wheel. And do you know what, it didn’t go too bad at all.

It helps that Dennis owns an automatic so that I don’t have to worry about clutch control (the stuff of nightmares!), and that there is virtually no traffic on the roads, but I didn’t hate the experience as much as I thought I would. I may even go as far as saying I even quite enjoyed it.

I still have a long way to go before I will be confident enough to drive on my own, but the two lessons I have had with the hubby have gone quite well. I didn’t crash, have a panic attack or get divorced. Of course, I haven’t yet had to overtake, reverse, or attempt to park so there is still time for that, but so far so good!

 

 

 

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