Friday, February 06, 2004  


December 1983.

It was a particularly memorable month, me and my new family moved into our first house just in time for Christmas. Friends and family had all helped to decorate and furnish our little council semi. It was just far enough away from our respective families, that we weren’t forever “round there”. We had a real Christmas tree, this was a big treat for me, my mum and dad had never had a real one, we had a shitty little silver thing that didn’t smell at all like I wanted it to. Our tree had a special bauble just for the tax dodger “Baby Simon’s first Christmas”. We still have it.

I worked for one of the major cigarette manufacturers, in the garage. They had kindly offered to pay for my driving lessons and my test. They wanted this done quickly so I was put in for a cancellation at any test centre in the Manchester area. I found out the day before that my test would be in Sale, at half past three in the afternoon. So, my test would be in a place I had never been, and would take place in the rapidly fading light of a late December afternoon. Bugger ! It got worse; my examiner was a weedy little man with a Hitler mustache. He said very little, even his instructions were minimal. We hit the one-way system about fifteen minutes into the test, by now it was almost dark and I had done surprisingly well. I had aced my emergency stop and my hill start, and we were on our way to do a three-point turn. We came off the one-way system and onto a very wide main road, Hitler asked me to take the next turn on the right, I strained my eyes into the gloom and saw the street about a hundred yards up the road. Mirror, signal, maneuver – oh bollocks it’s someone’s driveway, it was fucking huge and even had its own streetlights. The one I wanted was another fifty yards further along, so I speeded up and tried again. The little mustachioed cunt failed me for “incorrect speed on approach to a junction”. I swear he took great delight in saying “I’m sorry to tell you Mr. Morris, on this occasion you have failed”.

One thing they never tell you, when you pass your test you aren’t insured to drive the car you learned in. Your instructor has to drive you back. When I pulled up in the works car park behind the wheel, I didn’t have to say anything, everyone knew. I’m not accustomed to failure, although at the time it felt like I may be reacquainted with it on many occasions.

The year improved before it slipped seamlessly into 1984.

I had a couple more lessons, and then found out my next test would be in Withington, on the eighth of February at ten thirty in the morning.

| posted by Simon | 3:44 am | 0 comments
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