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I'm Jane McIntyre, a voiceover and writer, formerly an award-winning BBC radio newsreader and producer. My blog covers life, love and loss; travel, coffee and chocolate; with some heartfelt pieces in the mix about my late dad, who had dementia. Just a click away, I'm half of the team behind - two empty nesters who whizzed round the world in 57 days.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Learner driver: PLEASE pass!

I`m a nosy parker at the best of times. But being two floors up, I have access to a busy view of town.... my eyes often out on stalks; my mind racing about the scenes playing out below.

Most of the drama surrounds a nearby driving test centre. I see learners parking, looking under the bonnet with their instructor for final checks, and going off to meet their maker. Well...examiner.

Sometimes, I see them returning--and if I do, I have to wait until I know whether they've passed or failed. It can take a while. There's stuff to sign. So all I have to go on, is body language. Wringing of hands...or relaxing of shoulders?

It happened just now. A lad came back with the examiner, and I could see quite an animated conversation going on, before the official handed him some paperwork, got out, and walked back to base. The lad sat there, motionless. Five minutes later, he got out of the car and someone, his Dad, probably, approached him from the other side of the street. They hugged. Still wasn't sure. Then the lad peeled the L plates off the car..they both got in...lad at the wheel...and drove off; smiling.

It's two years since youngest daughter Alice passed her test, just five months after her 17th birthday.I remember the mix of pride and relief. No more frozen tweets from dark winter car parks outside rehearsals, or parking tactfully round the corner from late night parties. Sure, you feel anxious for a while. But only months after that, I found myself in the passenger seat with 'baby driver' (by then working as an au pair...) as she negotiated icy hairpin bends through the mountains to take me to lunch and a spa treatment at a Swiss ski resort. And later drove us both, in her own car, to Normandy; motorways, car ferry--no worries.

I`m sure my parents never relaxed.They probably thought they'd be driving me home from parties into their my first and second driving tests came and went. Then the third. (Nobody could think of anything reassuring to say to me by this stage. They all looked a bit embarrassed. I think they'd all given up). Then the fourth. (It's OK, I passed fourth time.) I hugged the examiner, then burst into tears. I still had panda, mascara smeared eyes when I got home--and no mobile to call mum in those days--so she took one look at me and put the kettle on ; convinced I'd failed, and was heading for driving test number five.

Yeh, the M25 is still a bitch, and punctures usually only happen in horizontal rain, but there are lots of little things that can make driving pleasurable. First exits on massive roundabouts, for example. Always a joy.

Driving gives you real freedom to go anywhere, any time. Like Aberdovey on a sunny Sunday. Or on a wet Wednesday, really.You can head out on late night chocolate mercy dashes. And sing whatever you choose, at the top of your voice, with nobody complaining. So--well done to anyone in the street below, passing their test today. But if you're the one with the slumped shoulders and the wrong kind of paperwork from the examiner, don't worry. It'll be your turn to peel the plates off soon.

1 comment:

  1. The whole world is just a giant goldfish bowl. All that changes is which side of the glass we're on!