It’s the third day of driving and the distinct fear I initially felt has almost completely gone away. I’m loving my little car – a cute Mini Cooper named Elvy after my grandmother: small, a bit round, super cute and of a respectable age. We picked her up at the weekend and for the maiden voyage we set sail to Barnes, where we went to the Swedish shop and got some rye flour and fresh yeast so we could bake my grandmother’s rye bread buns. Spent the first few trips feeling tense and nervous – heck, this ain’t countryside Sweden! I’m on the wrong side of the road for starters and there are a hundred lanes, too many cars, buses and then my new object of intense hatred: cyclists. In my mind I’m in a Bond-esque manner firing missiles out of the front of Elvy at them.
The worst bit though, is that aside from being on the wrong side of the road, I’m also sitting on the wrong side in the car and this means I have zero spatial awareness as my silly little brain cannot process this. Every time I’m in narrow lanes I suck my stomach in, clench my butt and hope for the best. But hey, I’m getting there and a few days in to this school run and drive to work business I’m feeling a lot more confident and – just like when I’m in Sweden – I’m finding myself really enjoying it.
The one thing though – can’t park. I can park at our house, that’s easy – just drive in and round the back and just plonk Elvy in there. It’s parallel parking I’m incapable of and unfortunately I can’t do this in any country, in any type of vehicle or on any side of the road. This is something I need to learn from scratch. What this also means, stupidly, is that on the school run I drive to the row of shops where we used to live and park there – always spaces and easy to reverse out too. It’s not a school run. It’s a Previous Address Run. I do drop Monkey right at the school gates in the mornings though because I can just briefly stop and let him out. Easy. But I do need to get this parking thing sorted because it does restrict where I can go.
I do love tootling around in Elvy though, she’s a nifty little thing and with a 1.6 engine in such a small car it means that when I put my foot down she really does go. Love it.