I think I must have spent every spare minute in June either watering my garden or driving, lessons and practice for the test! The garden watering was calm and lovely but the stress of the test was a whole other thing.
I booked lesson after lesson and came back from each feeling either frustrated at not being a perfect driver, or elated that I'd got a simple 'good' from my instructor. Many times when I got in I thought of, or had, a beer. In part to have a beer and in part to prevent myself from driving again that evening, causing more frustration.
I had a date, for my test, and told only my instructor and my manager, who had to authorise my day off. Not my nearest or dearest, or anyone who asked 'have you put in for your test yet?'. I'd just reply with a vague 'yeah' and hope they wouldn't ask any more. It nearly burst out of my mouth 'IT'S NEXT TUESDAY!!' but I held back, wanting to conquer this thing on my own.
The Monday before the scheduled date I was sick, sick to my stomach. No pretty butterflies fluttering but great big, dirty moths banging off the sides. About 23 and a half hours before time, my phone rang. One of the testers was sick (oh, me too!) so the test would have to be rescheduled. Pre-test lesson, day off work and test rescheduled for the following Wednesday and the moths disappeared.
The following Monday the nerves returned, but less than before and on the Tuesday I felt ok. On Wednesday I was a big bag of wobbly, teary nerves. I met my instructor at 10am, with a learner instructor to keep us company, for my last lesson. Afterwards we sat in the car and he reassured me that to not be nervous would to not be human. I said goodbye, went to wipe my face and take a few deep breaths, and sat beside a boy who looked half my age to wait.
The man came out and brought me in; sat me down and asked me to sign to confirm that I hadn't robbed the car on the way over, or something. Then the questions; something about full beam and dipped headlights, speed limits and motorways, then pointing at road signs, like a quick fire round. I remembered that it was a 'level crossing with a barrier' not 'train tracks with gate' as I saw it, and the difference between a clearway and a pedestrianised zone. Looking like Mrs Doyle when she finally comes to remember Father Todd Unctuous. The bonnet opened and pointing where you fill and refill. Then in, turning switches and pushing buttons.
We were off, out and to the left, the route I preferred. Less than three minutes down the road and he said to pull over. I was that bad, we were done, he wanted out. Or rather a new spot for an uphill start. Round and round and round we went, reversed around a corner, the three-point turn now named a turnabout, which is lucky as it was five points, then back to base.
Sat in the same seat and he asked me to sign another piece of paper. Thinking he must have forgotten to get me to sign this one earlier. The words 'Certificate of Competency' meaning nothing in my nervous state. 'You passed' (holding back the 'duh!') getting a much better reaction!
Back out into the car park and the sunny morning broke and rain fell. I rang my dearest, and my nearest, sent messages to all, sat back into the car and stalled.
Oh and the garden's looking good.