Pass on the positives

Sybilla Hart

Sybilla Hart - Credit: Archant

That blessed day has finally arrived — I have passed my driving test!

I am in a state of utter euphoria and bliss. Nothing (not much anyway) can put me in a bad mood at the moment and, not to put too fine a point on it, but it is as if a great weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

Let me tell you how it all came to pass. I arrived in Clacton on Sea to take my practical driving test feeling a bit downtrodden. I just could not bear to drag my husband, eight-year-old son and eight-month-old baby over to Clacton only to hear the same words for the seventh time, ‘I am sorry to tell you that you have not passed today’.

I got into the car and started the engine with a heavy heart. Don’t get your hopes up, Sybilla, I told myself. A lunatic could run across the road and you could fail in an instant. As fate would have it, the next 40 minutes (though not faultless) were without the incriminating major fault. When I heard the words, ‘I am sure you will be very pleased to hear that you have passed,’ I had to resist hugging the examiner, as you might imagine.

My instructor, Sue, was in tears and when we emerged into Clacton station she asked me if we were going to pretend that I had failed. No, was my answer, ‘That poor man (my husband) has suffered enough’. I could not bear for him to be in any doubt for a moment longer than necessary, so when he and I caught eye contact, I did a big thumbs up. Sue says she has never seen a reaction like it. He jumped in the air and ran around shouting, ‘Yes, yes,’ like a madman!

So, one week on and how does it feel? Good, though the news and the reality of it are still sinking in. I drove to a birthday party without having to drag my poor long-suffering husband along, I did nearly two weeks of the school run and I visited Earls Colne solo! I quickly slotted in to my newfound position as driver.

Everyone keeps asking if I am nervous, and let me tell you, when you have had as many lessons as I have had, the answer is not really. Of course I am not driving around the rural lanes of the Colne Valley as if I own them, but I am not being too mouse-like about it all either. People say that you only really learn to drive when you have passed your test. This is true. I am now reversing without a running commentary from the person in the passenger seat, which is such a novelty and a good one at that!

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I cannot quite believe that there will be no more traipsing over to Clacton on a Friday morning, booking driving tests, taxis and organising endless and complex lift shares with very kind fellow parents. At long last I can get on with my life in rural Essex. I want to thank everyone who has joined me on this journey. Although I wasn’t sure if we ever would, we got there in the end!