Well, it’s been a day of some success and some frustration, but the latter was in a good cause.
I slept surprisingly well, and had remembered to open all the upstairs windows in time to let some of the heat out yesterday evening, so it wasn’t too hot. I fed the chickens and tortoises (Edweena was sniffing at a rose petal, so I hope she ate) and arrived at the bike place in good time. And it all went well, Lesley is lovely – she started by asking me why I wanted to learn.
It all started at last year’s blog party, if you remember, when Sir Bruin gave me a gentle spin round the village on the back of his trusty steed. I got the bug at once and, when he took me on the dual carriageway a few months later, it just firmed my resolve. I explained that driving a car is no fun and I want something that is, that needs all my attention and alertness and that I think I’ll really enjoy it. Also, that I reckon I’m just about young enough, whilst not having too many responsibilities – it’s now or never.
So she talked me through all the various things she needed to, checked me on the Highway Code (in no great detail, I had a feeling that all the revising I’d been doing would be required for the full test – but knowledge is good and at least I now know what road signs are for trams), then took me through the most necessary mechanics of a bike, and then it was loaded into the van and we went off to the disused airfield where we were to practise.
It went better than I expected, actually (and that she did too, I should think). It took me a few goes to manage stopping reasonably neatly, but the gears were a lot easier to master than I thought and I found that I wasn’t terrified at riding up to 35 mph. Then came the first hitch. She got on to show me the technique of doing a figure of eight, and realised that the gear lever wasn’t right – I thought something had changed but it worked, so I thought I must be wrong. In short, it was about to break off. And she wiggled it and it did. So she rang her husband who came out with a replacement and fitted it – only took a few minutes. She thought someone must have damaged it and not realised – I accidentally tilted over the other side twice when I rather forgot to put my feet down in time, but I don’t think I did anything to cause it.
So then she demonstrated the figure of eight and the u-turn and then I had a go. Darlings, it was tricky. I nearly got the eight once, but I couldn’t quite master it. I did the u-turn first go, and a second time too, though not quite as neatly.
We stopped for a short rest and it was as well we did – I felt my phone ring in my pocket. It was then about quarter to one – it was Weeza – the hospital had phoned, offering R an appointment today at 2 o’clock. She couldn’t get to him in time to take him, was I in a position to come back or could I think of anyone else to ask? The trouble was, if I did ring round and not find anyone, I’d have lost too much time – so I explained and apologised to Lesley, who was lovely and instantly phoned her husband to pick me up and we’ll carry on with the rest of the test another day.
She said she hopes I will complete it, she thinks I did well. She will give me a ring to arrange another date. In truth, though I really did hope to complete it today, my arms were getting quite tired and I think that’s why I found the slow, precise turning more difficult. So maybe it’s just as well that I had to stop …except that I wanted to finish it so much.
I rushed home (not above the speed limit ufcorse). picked up R who was waiting on the doorstep, drove to Norwich, dropped him off, parked, ran back, we went up in the lift,tried to sign in but couldn’t as he was an extra, and were finally okayed on the dot of 2 o’clock. Hah, darlings, hah. I hardly ever miss a deadline, don’t usually take it to the wire, but – well, you know hospital appointments, then we sat there until nearly half past.,
Another test taken, but more to come within a fortnight. Truly, I’m grateful to the NHS. On the way home, I asked Russell if he wanted to postpone the blog party. He said no, it’ll be fun, he enjoys it. So don’t hesitate, darlings, we’re still on for Saturday.
Later, a jolly at school, where the incoming Head has spent the day. He really is a good bloke, I have a lot of confidence about the future with him. And in the staff and governors, the only person who is coasting is me, and I can knuckle under as soon as there’s an EEK! moment. I am swimming beneath the surface, but it’s ok, there are lots of people giving buoyancy and I’ll do the uplift if necessary….I may have carried on this metaphor long enough.
Lesley said I’ll sleep soundly tonight, I’ll be tired out. Well, that’ll be good.