I woke up this morning thinking about old work colleagues, in particular five of us due to sit our driving tests all in the same week in February 1978.
I used to have my lessons in my lunch hour 3 times a week, the driving school being a five minute walk away and lessons were only £2.20 then. We would sometimes drive home, I’d see to the dog, and then come back as it was a good route with roundabouts, traffic lights, one way systems, hairpin bends and hills so good experience.
Our tests were all on different days, mine being mid week.
The first two failed under The Major, an examiner who had a reputation as being a hard nut, enough to make a would be passee nervous before getting in the car, let alone behind the wheel.
My test was one of the more horrible routes, and didn’t start well as I pulled away without looking over my shoulder. I had checked my mirrors though. We pulled up at a junction where a bus was at the bus stop on the corner and started to roll back. The Major hit the brake before I did, so that was it. Automatic fail as he’d taken control.
I carried on, my three point turn one of my best and reversing round a corner was actually going uphill. I started my manoeuvre, stopped, put the car in first gear (manual/stick shift), and returned to my starting position. He sighed, but I continued to wait. Then the milk float came round the corner. I’d seen it, he hadn’t.
I wanted to get the test over with and continued without incident. I fluffed one of my Highway Code questions, so I was surprised when he congratulated me on having passed. I was over the moon and my driving instructor said he’d had no doubt at all as he drove me back to work.
My colleagues were pleased for me, but the following two days didn’t see another pass, so of the 5 of us, I was the only one who did.
I kept quiet about it as it was my then-husband’s birthday at the weekend and I wanted to surprise him with my pass certificate. I gave my L plates to my Mum and MIL, but it didn’t register, and when we played darts the following Monday, I was about to tell the team my news when Sis suddenly stated the baby had moved. They were all over her as they’d been when she announced it a fortnight before, so I didn’t bother.
My niece was born in September, so Sis would only have been a couple of months along and in hindsight it was probably wind because I thought you didn’t feel the first movements until about 4 months. The internet says 16 – 22 weeks. I’ve never experienced it, so I wouldn’t know first hand.
Lunch today is meat free ginger and pineapple with rice (as above) and I’ll throw in a carrot and some peppers. The sauce equates to about 6 syns as it has sugar in it so my portion will have 3.