If you follow me on Twitter and/or are friends with me on Facebook and/or are connected with me on LinkedIn, today’s excellent news can hardly have escaped your notice: I have finally passed my driving test! Well, I say finally – I’ve only been learning since September and hadn’t been doing much practice at all until last month. It was the second time I’d taken the test, the first one having gone pretty badly (16 minors and 3 majors – ouch). So for this one, I did everything differently: I’d practiced loads, I wore smart clothes to make me feel more confident, I took the test in my own car, brought my mum along with me rather than my instructor, and took a much more relaxed approach to the whole thing. And it paid off – the test went really, really well, and I passed with just five minors! Yay! And the examiner was absolutely lovely, so I let him keep the interior mirror that I’d bought for the purposes of the test (he wanted it, you understand, it wasn’t just a rubbish gift!).
Massive thanks must go to the lovely Matt, who devoted loads of time to helping me with driving practice and was an amazing, patient and encouraging teacher; and also to my mum, who drove all the way over from Wiltshire and back several times just so that I could get extra driving practice in. I definitely couldn’t have done it without them!
As anyone who knows me knows, passing my test was a massive deal for me. It wasn’t just about escaping the nightmare commute (more on that below) – it was about growing up. I’m an extremely independent person and don’t like relying on anybody for anything, and now that I have my licence – just a month before my 26th birthday – I’m now fully independent and I feel like a proper adult at last.
I also couldn’t be happier that I’m now able to escape the nightmare of commuting by public transport. Just to give you an idea, this is how my commute was before today, assuming everything was on time (by no means a given):
6.50am – get up and get ready to go to work.
7.30am – leave the house and walk 15 mins down to the station (sometimes in pouring rain and strong winds!).
7.49am – get on the train, if it’s on time.
8.12am – get off the train, if it’s on time. Hang round waiting for the bus.
8.25am – get on the bus, if it’s on time. If the train wasn’t on time, run frantically to the bus or hang round until 8.47am for the next one.
9am – arrive at work, if the bus is on time. Have short or no lunchbreak to allow me to leave work early for the bus back to the station.
5.10pm – switch off computer, hang round waiting for the bus.
5.17pm – get on the bus, if it’s on time.
5.50pm – arrive at the station. Hang round for half an hour waiting for the train.
6.17pm – get on the train, if it’s on time.
6.40pm – arrive in village. Walk home, which is steep uphill most of the way.
6.55pm – get home.
Nightmare, huh? And that’s without even mentioning the numerous things that would go wrong several times a week with the train and/or bus. Now my commute is reduced to a 40 minute car journey each way and it’s door to door, with no annoying people having stupid conversations, no surly bus drivers making me wait in the cold while they have a fag, and no stupid excuses for delays from First Great Western.
Pleased as Punch! I’ve just completed my first solo drive, to Waitrose, and now I have a nice meal to celebrate today’s events. *opens bottle of red*