It was like a scene from a world war two movie as I stood like a nervous RAF commander waiting for the planes to return from their latest sortie. As daughter number three turned the corner in her blue Citroen emblazoned with L-plates there was no sign of damaged just the usual look of fear on the examiners face.
I hovered near the entrance of the test centre hoping to pick up signs of whether her mission was successful. With a punch in the air and a quick smile in my direction the newly crowned fluffy dice owner declared her victory.
We celebrated by having the music on load on the way home and the ceremonial removing of the extra rear view mirror. Then, as if I hadn’t already suffered enough over the past four months of dad and daughter lessons, she unleashed the full terror of this new found freedom on me. “I want to travel down to see my friends in Norfolk the day after tomorrow”, she offered as if a 143-mile road trip was just round the corner.
I resorted to the best answer a dad can use in situations like these; “you had better talk to your mother”. It didn’t stop her enthusiasm. With a cold, menacing stare at the road ahead she asked, “Is it easy to drive in France?”
Norfolk! France! Give me chance to get used the idea of you driving to the town centre first. I knew such things would happen but I need time to get accustomed to such changes. I tried to stem the tide of youthful automotive ideas by hinting at the need for another couple of lessons to cover motorway driving and multi-storey car parks but it was too late. My little girl was ready to fly………or drive as the case may be.
The pain was slightly eased by her offer to collect youngest daughter from various weekly clubs and occasionally put petrol in the now over used car, although in truth I know that such enthusiasm will be short lived.
It has occurred to me that in my eagerness to prepare her for the practical test I had forgotten to tell her about some very important driving rules:
1) Never have an amusing car sticker because they generally don’t work. Except for one that I saw on an old guy’s car, it read ‘My other hat’s a balaclaver’.
2) Always turn the embarrassing music down when you stop at traffic lights. You never know who is watching.
3) Never forgive anyone who continually drives in the middle lane of a near empty motorway.
4) Expect signs for ‘Town Centre Parking’ to mysteriously disappear just after they have lead you into a bus lane
5) Know that ‘All other routes’ means all other routes EXCEPT the one that you need.
I am pleased to report that, in the two weeks since L’s were turned into P’s, fluffy dice owner has successfully travelled to Norfolk and back. I am proud of her although I still stand at the kitchen window waiting for her spitfire to return.