Throwback Thursday is a new challenge put together by Maggie and Lauren who will alternate in giving us a subject upon which to base our post.
It’s a long time ago now, but driving is one of the few things I took to more or less immediately.
I had my first lesson when I was about 19, and my instructor was the same guy my sister had had. His vehicle was a Ford Escort and I had no trouble with it at all. However, ill health and discomfort made me postpone my lessons, and I didn’t start again until after I got married in 1977. I was 21.
The driving school was just around the corner from where I worked, so I had a lesson in my lunch hour three times a week. At £2.20 a time, that was very doable!
The car this time was a Volkswagen Polo and again I had no problems. After a few weeks, our route would actually take me home to see to the dog as it had roundabouts, traffic lights, narrow roads, T junctions and double bends, so covered a lot of road conditions, plus I could do a three point turn in my own road and there was a good hill start going back.
I was surprised when my instructor said he’d put me in for my test in February. I didn’t think I was ready, but he had every confidence so I agreed. I didn’t tell anyone in my family as I knew I’d never hear the last of it if I failed, but had to book a two hour lunch at work on Test Day.
I remember the date clearly, February 15th 1978, and I was the only one of 6 of us in the bank taking our tests that week who passed, though I didn’t think I had.
We all had the same examiner, a hard nut who pulled no punches and didn’t suffer fools lightly. My route was one of the hardest, and I forgot to look over my shoulder before pulling away from the kerb, though I was indicating and had checked my mirror.
All was going OK until we came to a T junction with a bus stop in the direct line of vision. The bus there started to roll back and my examiner hit the brake before I did. Knowing I’d failed as he’d taken control of the vehicle, we continued for the duration of the rest of my test and my final maneuver was to reverse round a corner, only this one was uphill as well.
I positioned the car, checked my mirror and everything else, then proceeded to reverse. Something caught my eye, so I put the car in first, moved back to my starting position and waited. I could see him hovering to put a X in the fail box on the form when the milk float came out of the road I was about to reverse into and passed us. I’d seen it, he hadn’t.
I got tongue tied on my Highway Code, but he handed me my pass note, congratulated me, then went off to scare his next victim.
It was Husband’s birthday on the 18th so I thought I’d surprise him with my pass certificate, and had to contain my laughter in bed on the 15th as he decided to give me pointers on what to do when I eventually sat my test. There was no way he’d let me drive his car to practice though. Come the 18th I presented him with my certificate and he was very pleased for me, especially as he’d passed first time and finally agreed I could drive his car. It was totally different to what I was used to and I ended up on the pavement instead of in the parking bay. He was not so impressed about that, and the day got worse as I gave my Mum and MIL my L plates with a flourish, but both failed to see the significance.
Still full of excitement at having passed first time, I couldn’t wait to tell the girls at darts only for my sister to announce her pregnancy so I didn’t bother.
As an aside, it took her two goes to pass, her eldest daughter 8 and I believe her youngest daughter 4.
As for accidents? Ah. Yes. You might like to read this
What a great story, Di. Those examiners definitely take their jobs seriously, don’t they? My brother failed the first time out. He was too confident and did not signal when he should have. Now I’m off to read your accident story.
Thanks Maggie. Accidents were not my fault!! haha
Must be some experience!
I don’t enjoy driving as much as I used to, mainly because there are so many more people on the roads……………. those ten years or so older than me are perhaps over cautious and those younger than me wreckless or driving with their music too loud!! Mind you, they probably think the same about me haha!
Driving can only be enjoyed if the roads are good, the traffic light and you have good company.
Good company usually, roads in Lincolnshire have craters rather than potholes, and traffic is full of holidaymakers. Still, I”ll take the good company!
One can be one’s own good company!
I was older when I got my license too. There was this little problem called a gasoline shortage and all the driving classes were cancelled since there wasn’t any extra fuel for the driver’s education cars. I took the class the same time as my younger sister. I passed first time too and though the test car was automatic I was used to driving a manual transmission. I still passed!!
I’m not happy driving an automatic and here if you pass your test in one, you cannot drive a manual vehicle without taking another test.
Learning to drive was something I’d never thought about growing up, but I’m glad I did.
Great post Di, I always feel sorry when you recount how your mum and mum in law missed the point and your sister stole your thunder! 💜😃
No problem. Long time ago now and one of the reasons I tend to keep quiet about anything I achieve.
Me too 💜💜 it’s safer 💜
Pingback: Drivin’, Crashin’ and Other Stuff.. | sparksfromacombustiblemind
I am sorry your family (aside from your spouse) weren’t more excited and proud of you for earning that license. But families can be full of stupid, mean people too. Just because we’re related doesn’t make some families ‘made in heaven’. I ran a bit with your wonderful post here (and your accident post too). Here’s the link if you’d like to read: https://sparksfromacombustiblemind.com/2021/08/26/drivin-crashin-and-other-stuff/ 🙂
It’s just popped up in my reader. Thanks for the nod my friend.
Having others dismiss your achievement is a hard pill to take. I knew only my friends would be happy for me. Your story is indicative of differences once again. We had to drive a stick shift in our driver’s ed classes, but just once. Then it was whatever car you took your test in. We were automatically OK’d to drive both. I enjoyed a stick shift and have had a few of my own over time. Now with my shoulder and knee limitations, I stick to an automatic. Thanks for joining in.
Thanks Lauren. I’m not happy driving an automatic, so a manual is much better for me. My instructor was proud of me though as he had confidence in my ability when I did not. I sometimes wonder if I would have failed at the first attempt had I stayed with my sister’s instructor.
Medically I need an automatic. My knee goes out often and pushing in a clutch would be unsafe.
Glad you can still drive though Lauren. It’s good to be independent
A woman of many talents is our Di! Congrats on passing on the first go! Way to go! Xx
I blew the first one when I inadvertently described a circle while reversing round the corner. Is there a more pointless manoeuvre btw? Parallel parking is a far better test of skill though does risk destroying two othe cars in thr process.
Luckily parallel parking and written theory was not part of the test in 1978. As for reversing round corners, they are doing it here every day!!