I have been able to drive now for around twelve years and I'm pretty confident that I can drive anything on the road. Well, certainly anything that has four wheels and not something you have to balance to keep upright. I'm here to tell you about my first time out in our 1962 Morris Minor, Little Mo. Believe me, it was certainly an eye opener. It made me realise that I'm not fit to drive anything that is older than I am.
It was a lovely, sunny, Sunday afternoon and we decided to take Little Mo out for a spin. It was still looking a bit worse for wear, having just been fixed up by Colin. Mo had a hollow sound to it, and you had to speak loudly over the noise. The simple reason for this was that it lacked carpets, so there was nothing to buffer the sounds. On the outside Mo had a colour combination of primer and dove grey, so it stuck out like a sore thumb. But hey, it ran okay.
We passed Big W, on our little excursion and decided to pop in for a browse around. Half and hour later we left the store and Colin handed me the car keys.
"You can drive us back home," he said.
Did I mention that it was Sunday afternoon? As you can imagine the car park was full of happy shoppers.
The kids jumped into the back of the car and I gingerly sat behind the wheel. I really didn't want to drive the car and I didn't like being thrown in at the deep end. Colin got in and he went into Co-pilot mode.
"Put the key in and pull this button," he said, indicating the dashboard.
I did just that.
"Right, now put it in reverse"
"I know how to drive," I snapped.
After a lot of grinding of the gears, I finally put the car in reverse, lifted my foot off the clutch and stalled it. I went through the whole process again, listening to the crunching and grinding noises coming from the gear box. I looked round at Colin, who was looking back at me like I had two heads or something. Five minutes later I managed to back out of the parking space, a bit too quickly I might add, as I narrowly missed a nice little Fiesta. Colin lifted his hand apologetically to the driver and growled at me, but I was beyond caring.
I have no doubt you will have heard the expression of having "Kangaroo petrol?" Well, that's nothing; this was more a case of, Kangaroo having a fit. The kids thought it was hilarious, they were giggling in the back seat, which was putting my back up even more.
I put the car in to what I thought was first gear and tried to move.
"You're in third gear." Colin pointed out. I could tell he was losing patience now. The tone of his voice had altered slightly.
"I know," I lied and fumbled in to first gear. There were too many cars driving around the car park and they were really getting in my way. You would think that I was having my first driving lesson. I was pathetic, so much so I lost all road sense and went over a junction without stopping. That knocked the smiles off the faces in the back seat. The kids had the good sense to keep their opinions to themselves and sat quiet now.
I couldn't get to grips with the tiny foot pedals or having to lean right over to put the car in to first gear. I pulled up to the island near Big W, undecided which way to go.
"Go right." Colin said. But, I knew that way meant driving down the parkway, which is a motorway. So I shifted lanes to go left.
"Go right!" He said again, a little louder this time. My temper was up by now and I was hot and starting to sweat. I swung the car over to the right, practically giving the poor driver behind me a heart attack and started up the dual carriageway. Halfway up the carriageway I bottled out completely and pulled to a stop at the side of the road and climbed out, ignoring the hooting of horns behind me. Colin climbed over to the driver's side and I got in the other side. I sat in silence all the way home, occasionally looking over at Colin, whose face was set like stone.
I cannot say why all that happened on my first drive in Little Mo, but when I got in it to drive the second time I was fine. All I can say is give me my V W Beetle, and I'll stick to driving that.