Friday, 23 September 2011

Learner Driver Gaol Hill


I was coming back from the gym in Carmarthen this morning when I came up behind a learner driver on Gaol Hill. I am never sure whether it is called Gaol Hill or Castle Hill. I hear people call it both. I think it was originally Gaol Hill but then it was changed to give a better image? The Gaol closed in 1922 and the County Hall was built in 1938 on the site.

Anyway I digress, when I came up behind the learner I thought about how intolerant some people can be towards them and I also remembered back to my own learning experience. I was taught to drive in an Austin 1100 and an Austin Morris J4 van. The van was fun as it only had 3 gears and no syncromesh meaning you had to double de-clutch to change gears. I am not sure the van enjoyed the experience as it made some pretty horrible noises when I changed up or down the gearbox. It is probably fair to say I took to driving like a duck to train spotting. I failed on my first attempt but finally got through.

On the first day on the road as a qualified driver nearly 40 years ago I had to take a firms car to Birmingham City Centre to collect someone. It was a Saturday morning and even in those days parking was nigh on possible. I eventually found a parking bay that was empty in New Street. Then the fun began. I reversed in to the space holding up the traffic. Only to arrive with the rear of the car on the pavement fortunately missing any shoppers. I had another go and was somehow at right angles to the pavement. Meantime horns began to blow and I either imagined it or people actually stood cheering and watching my deft manoeuvres. I was getting more flustered and redder. Eventually I drove off in disgrace and found a solid yellow line to abandon the vehicle.

I eventually got used to driving and even had a refresher course with our good friend Clive who for his sins was a driving instructor.
I don’t enjoy driving but consider it a necessary evil and I always have sympathy for those learning to drive (or park).

I have done a little sketch above of the lights at Gaol Hill with the learner driver.

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