When I first learnt to drive I was seventeen. I remember my first few driving lessons like they were yesterday. The driving instructor was moody to say the least. If I made a mistake he would shout, and cling on to the other wheel like his life depended on it.
On one occasion I got into an argument with him. I got out of the car. Then I had to walk home because I had no other transport. When I wanted to take my test he said I wouldn’t get round the course. Great motivation – not. I took the test out of spite, and did make it all the way round. I didn’t pass – with an instructor like that who would?
My second driving instructor was much better. He was calm under pressure, and put me at ease. I remember doing my three – seven – point turn, and him shouting at a lorry who had doubled parked. I didn’t think driving instructors knew such words.
I didn’t pass on the second test, or the third. It wasn’t my driving, but I got so nervous on the test I couldn’t function. I gave up on the sixth fail. Buses were easier anyway.
Then my husband passed first time. I mean – first time. With a toddler now going to nursery, I needed a car. So I started driving lessons again. Plus I wanted to make a point; I could pass if my husband could. My brother-in-law helped this time. He taught me to drive, in his mini.
The day of the test, and I was so nervous, failing seemed like the only option. My assessor didn’t smile. Do they teach them to do that? He told me to reverse round a corner. I took the instructions wrong, and reversed past the corner and onto the wrong one.
I thought I failed. It was then I thought I’m not nervous anymore. The rest of the test passed without incident. When he told me I had passed, I asked if he was sure. He said he could change his mind if I wanted him to.
Twenty-seven years later and I’m still driving. I think if it weren’t for my husband passing his test I would never have tried. It is the stubborn streak in me I guess.