The arrival of the mothership has heralded taxi duties I had never anticipated. I only passed my test two years ago. To be more specific, I only learned to drive two years ago (don’t want you thinking that it’s taken me twelve years to pass a test.) I never wanted to learn to drive, in truth. That combined with the lack of opportunity to practice outside of lessons (my ex-pat parents have a lot to answer for) meant that it was only when DH and I moved to the ‘burbs that he decided it was time for me to learn. Being a lawyer, his arguments were well thought through and impossible to argue with. So I learnt. I passed my test- tests actually as I had also to do the theory- first time. And then spent a year refusing to drive anywhere on my own. Doubtless had it been an emergency, I would have done, but the situation never arose, so I didn’t have to cross that bridge. One day it was raining and I had to pick up a large parcel from the post office and I got in the car. I called DH when I got there, saying “Guess where I am?” He showed as much enthusiasm as he could, poor thing. I was very impressed with myself.
After that, it was a question of laziness. I got to know the local roads, where the good parking spots were, and what order the lights went in. Fast forward a couple of months, and I had to negotiate the South Circular to Forest Hill three days a week. When I started working for Lady W, she asked if I could drive then presented me with JF and the keys to their Landrover. Their automatic Landrover. We’d only just upgraded from our Seat Ibiza to the current Innes family car, our VW Bora (this is the point at which you ask “Like owner, like car?”!) I can’t tell you how terrified I was. It seems like a distant memory now. I still had one key area to crack and that was motorway driving by myself. It put the fear of God in me- the speed, combined with needing to know which exit you needed and, more importantly, getting on and off!
Yet ten days ago at stupid o’clock, I was on the M25 to pick up the mothership, fresh(?!) from an overnight flight from Ethiopia, via Dubai. I know it was early, and she was jet-lagged, but I was a bit concerned when I was on a dual carriage-way and her fingers were curled around the seat edges. I pointed out that I was “only doing 50″ to which she replied “Cars don’t go this fast in Addis.” Probably all the donkeys on the rubble that passes for road. If she was like that at 50, you can imagine her state of mind when I got to 90 on the M25, getting home for breakfast!
Since then, I have driven to Manston (the moneypit) twice, to Orpington, to Streatham, to Leatherhead, to the doctor, the dentist, the candlestick-maker…..and she still curls her fingers round the edge of the seat if I go above thirty. No bad thing she stayed at home yesterday when DH and I headed into the city to drop a bookcase off at work. I had to take my wedding and engagement rings off on the Old Kent Road because my fingers were wrapped so tightly around the armrest that they were breaking the skin.
Like mother like daughter????
PS- mother intends to “guest-write” something on this blog. I’d say more, but she’s reading over my shoulder and I don’t need another slap!