Pretty soon I have to say a fond farewell and a big thank you to Sylvia. Sylvia is our trusty car, thus named by the two small people because she is Silver (most imaginative I know!)! I have formed quite an attachment to Sylvia, which thanks to my hatred of driving and cars in the past, my friends and family have found highly amusing.
My relationship with driving has always been slightly sporadic to say the least. I actually learned to drive at the age of 17, but despised it so much that when we first moved to London I was more than happy, as there was no real need for me to drive with the (mostly) excellent transport links on our doorstep.
Fast forward a good few years and we were faced with the possibility of moving abroad. With that possibility came the harsh realisation that I could no longer put off doing a driving test, so I duly searched through the various adverts, and destiny put me in touch with my driving instructor "Cliff". "Cliff" is obviously not his real name, but it's what I christened him because of his resemblance to the "King of Pop" Cliff Richards, so when he pulled up outside the house on my first lesson, I was naturally fooled into thinking he would be harmless. Let's just say that "Cliff" was shortly thereafter re-christened "Evil Cliff", after the hours I spent being very told off each time I messed up a turn in the road (I can hear him now "IT'S A THREE POINT TURN; NOT A TURN IN THE ROAD!"), parallel parking, and any other (what I considered to be) minor mistake. I came to dread these twice weekly, two-hour driving lessons, feeling sick at least three hours before the metallic mini from hell turned up. My friend directly opposite used to take great delight in standing in her window and waving me off whilst laughing hysterically as I drove off up the road. To also add to the pain was the fact that I was also paying a small fortune for the (dis)-pleasure London rates of around £26 an hour. But, as I have said before, stubborn is my middle name, and I was determined to get this stupid test done and dusted once and for all.
Fortunately, having previous driving experience, it wasn't long before I had a test date in my hands. Which I then failed for stopping around 2 metres from a set of traffic lights on red. Really. I hadn't really expected to pass first time, very few people do, but I was petrifed as to what "Cliff" was going to say when I got back to the car, as I knew he was well and truly going to kill me... But au contraire, "Evil Cliff" had been replaced by "Lovely Cliff", who told me not to worry, it wasn't my driving at all, and he would drive back as he could see I was a bit stressed. I couldn't believe it. Where had "Lovely Cliff" been throughout my torturous lessons?
Soon enough my second test date came around and I passed (even though I made more mistakes than first time round!)... In some ways it might be said that I have a lot to thank "Cliff" for. His overly strict teaching methods certainly worked for me, and it did make me pay more attention to what I was doing, and ultimately gave me the confidence to drive when we arrived here. I was however disappointed that he didn't sing Congratulations when I did eventually pass!
Anyway, I digress... Sylvia was therefore my first "real" car, she belonged to me. I could play whatever I liked music wise, and nobody was going to shout at me for anything. More than any other aspect of moving to a foreign land though, the prospect of having to drive in one terrified me more than anything! So it gives me great pleasure to say that the only damage I inflicted on Sylvia during our time together, was a smashed off wing mirror in a (very badly designed!) multi-storey car park. Thankfully, she didn't hold it against me, and went on to look after us through thick and thin, and in all weathers. We have been on many an adventure together (including getting stuck against another car in a snow drift but that's another story). So yes, I know it's odd to get so attached to an inanimate object, but I will shed a couple of tears when I have to bid her adieu. I do wish she could come with us, I need her to look after us on the Autobahns!!
I have moved to aresidence.co.uk - Head on over to aresidence.co.uk love Penny x