Saturday, 11 April 2009


Just as an aside, yesterday marked the occasion of my 100th post - one every day since the first of the year. I thought that was worth celebrating, so we're having a curry tonight. Actually, the two aren't connected at all -we're having a curry because the new oven only went in this evening and I couldn't be bothered to work out something we could cook on the hob - but we'll pretend it's because of the blog!

Anyway, today's theme is another milestone - passing your driving test. Our friend Sam came out to visit us today in her new car, having passed her driving test a few weeks ago. It's funny how in London (central London anyway) people pass their driving tests pretty late - out in rural areas, driving is a vital way of getting about, but in London it's so simple to use public transport, and so expensive to drive and park, that a lot of people just don't bother learning to drive until their mid 20s or even early 30s. Husbandio and I both passed when we were 25 or 26, and we weren't unusual in that at all - however, my little sister, who lives in a Bucks village, started taking lessons just days after her 17th birthday and is desperate to get on the road since relying on buses and trains and lifts from parents is really restrictive.

When Sam arrived she was just buzzing with adrenaline and shaking like a leaf, and it reminded me really clearly of when I first passed my test. Today was the first day she'd been on a motorway (and she did it in style - M4, M25 and M40 all in one day!) which is scary in itself, and just the act of driving 30 miles is enough to make a new driver very nervous. I remember driving out from London to my dad's soon after I'd passed, which must have been about 25 miles, and I was just a quivering mess by the time I arrived due to the concentration levels and relief at having arrived in one piece. And I'd done a motorway lesson, which Sam hadn't. Even now seeing skid marks on motorways (always heading off into the grass on the other side of the hard shoulder) makes me nervous since it provides real proof of how often things can go wrong. That's why I never understand why people worry about driving in London. I suppose it seems easy to me because that's where I learnt, but also I don't understand why it's scary when you can rarely get over 25 mph anyway! Granted, it's easy to get lost, but that's the same in any city. What I don't like is driving on unfamiliar country roads, since I always end up with a local who knows the road well stuck behind me and desperate to get past. That's getting better though, since living out in the sticks I suppose. Oh, and I suppose more than 10 years driving practice hasn't hurt either. Since Isabel is coming up on five now she'll be eligible to start learning in twelve years time - good lord, that's a scary thought. I expect that will frighten me much more than my own driving ever has done....!

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