Learning to drive

Friday 23rd September   

I grew up, as you know, with Grandma and my mother, and no car. I later learnt that my father, who was completely absent as I grew up, was a bit of a motoring enthusiast; but his name was hardly mentioned at home, or even that he had liked driving.  I never really considered learning to drive, we lived in London, and had no family, none at least that we wanted to visit, living anywhere that would have encouraged us to buy a car, let alone learn to drive the thing.  Besides it all seemed so expensive, the cost of the lessons, and my mother and I never seemed to have enough money to spend on basic upkeep of the house, so a car was just never considered.

Edward, of course, drove, and would often hire a car for a weekend, or when we visited Italy.  The biggest shock of my life however was my fortieth birthday; we had a little party with about twenty friends invited.  The usual nice presents, a first edition Fay Wheldon, a couple of CDs, and some gloves; I knew that Edward would leave his till last, and I was anticipating some jewellery.  Imagine my surprise when he handed me a small package, and opening it, expecting earrings or maybe a watch, there nestled in a white leather box was a car key.  He led me to the window, and there parked in the street was my very own brand new Fiat Uno.

Well, after much hard work and God knows how many lessons I did pass my test, on the third attempt I might add.  But I had never really wanted a car; I was much too polite to refuse it, and inevitably Edward started borrowing it, and then it just seemed natural that although I had learned to drive, whenever we went anywhere, he would drive.  I did occasionally use it myself, to pick someone up, or for a short trip out of town.  It came in for most use when Edward was poorly and we had to see various specialists, some outside of London.  I sold the car a year ago, I had only used it a few times on my own and there seemed no point in continuing to tax and insure it.

So, I have returned to being a non-driver, though you never know when I might need to become one again, so I am really glad that, despite never intending to, I did learn to drive.