Learning to Drive - My Magic Moment this week

My father asked me what I would like for my 17th birthday, I said excitedly, driving lessons please!  He said no, to this day I have no idea why, I was asking for 3 or 6, whatever was on offer, I can't remember what he got me for my 17th birthday.

I did take those 6 driving lessons, I wanted to learn to drive, something we all did after our 17th birthdays and a skill for life.  I remember my first lesson well, the instructor was an older man who watched me run across the road from my house, I got in the car then he blasted me with "what have you got on your feet!!"  I had my usual high heels, I was never out of them in those days unless I was at the track!  I offered to totter run back across the road to change but he bellowed that we didn't have time.  I was 17, now I would have got out of the car, saying it's my time buddy and I'll be right back! 



We finally got away after he showed me where everything was in the car, A, B, C - accelerator, brake, clutch is how I first remembered which pedals were which.  The whole family was there watching me, they were hoping I would kangeroo up the road, sorry I couldn't oblige, I was determined to glide away smoothly - like Ginger Rogers - I managed later to reverse in high heels just like she did!

After my 6 lessons, I decided he was not the instructor for me, he was gruff and always seemed in a bad mood, but then his nerves must have been shot driving learners around all day and into the evenings!

I left the lessons for a while after that, I lived and worked in central London and used the buses & tubes plus the odd taxi when we all crammed in to make it cost effective.  I was never going to able to afford to buy a car with all the costs involved and where would I park it, where I lived the parking had either parking meters or parking permits.  So that was that for a while.

My next instructor was a woman, whose style was to slap your hand if you were doing something wrong, this shocked me the first time as I had no idea it was coming!  After a few slaps, I decided to terminate our agreement as I was in danger of slapping her back.  I do wonder if anyone ever did, unacceptable behaviour, if she had done that to my child, assault comes to mind!

By then I had met Mr J who said he would teach me and he did, he was calm and patient with this now 20 year old who still wore her high heels, although not for driving now as driving scuffed and ruined her leather heels!  I drove wherever we went, I had now moved down to the south coast with him where the roads were wider and I felt at ease with driving in such beautiful surroundings and countryside.

The day came for my test, my friend had been pestering me for weeks about the date, I didn't want to give myself anymore stress so didn't tell her.  It took her 7 times to pass and I really thought I was in for the long haul!  I drove us in Mr J's Alfa Romeo to the test centre and waited nervously.  The test began and as soon as I had done the mirror, signal, manovere, all was clear, I started to gingerly edge out into the empty road when a car came from no-where & sped past, I asked the instructor if I should just get out now as I was sure I had already failed.

An hour later, I was back at the test centre, Mr J no-where to be seen, I drove the car around the nearby streets (only he had a mobile in those days for business).  When I finally found him in a nearby cafe he said he knew I would pass so he didn't wait! 

The next morning I was off in the car up the M23 to visit my mum at home in London.  It was a planned visit, I could have taken the train but I had a driving licence now!  It was my first time on the motorway and quite a daunting ride especially with no map.   All went well until the car went dark, what was it, a huge lorry had come up behind me fast, it was a tense ride but once I hit central London I knew my way and my driving duck had been broken!

A few months later Mr J bought me my first car, a pale blue VW Beetle, I loved that car, it was old but ran like a dream and it was mine.  I was so sad to part with it when I had my first child, I wonder where she is now, hopefully someone has restored her, we're both vintage now!

I'm linking this post up with The Olivers Madhouse and Magic Moments.



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16 comments:

  1. awww how fantastic! i think driving certainly is a life skill that can be used and when needed!

    Thanks for linking up with #magicmoments

    P.s i think i may of slapped that driving instructor!

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  2. I love this, brilliantly funny and yet brings back my own memories too. Passing is such an immensely satisfying feeling :)

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    1. it was a relief! Didn't want to do it all again! :)

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  3. Great story. Isn't it funny how something like learning to drive sticks in your memory so vividly. Well done for going on the motorway the day after your test, I would never have had the nerve to do that :-)

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    1. Looking back (& being young) wonder how I had the nerve too!

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  4. Passing your driving test is such a magic moment.My eldest passed his test just a few weeks ago,a milestone for sure x

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  5. I managed to pass first time too - don't know how that happened! Well done you, and doing it on your own terms in the end. Both the first instructors sounded awful - they don't half take liberties! I had an instructor who kept placing his hand over mine on the gear stick - barf! X.

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    1. Ew, that's not good, now that was taking a liberty. I think they think we are in their personal space and they can say and do what they want. We shall be watching in 13-14 years with interest when our girls take their tests won't we OM ;)

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  6. What a perfectly charming post - it's many years that I took my test(s!) but I remember my nerves being you could hear the clutch vibrating! Lovely to read about this :)

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    1. Thanks Anya. I was so nervous on test day, never forget that!

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  7. Well done firstly on finding a decent driving instructor and secondly passing your test first time. I failed three times due to my nerves and have since given up. Worse mistake I have ever made and now I am too nervous to even attempt to do it again.

    Thank you for linking up with The Weekend Blog Hop

    Hope to see you again on Saturday x x x

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    1. I can get Mr J to teach you, he was fab, just what I needed!

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  8. What a fabulous post. It must have been great to have a good driving instructor in the end and pass first time. I passed first time too, not sure how although I did have good legs then and wore a skirt LOL :)

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    1. Haha good legs will do it everytime, can't remember what I wore :)

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