I admit I'm not very good at reversing my car, in fact I'd go as far as to say I'm rubbish, but before I tell you about the bumps I'll tell you how and when I started driving.
My Dad started teaching me to drive when I was 17 but I was such a nervous driver I gave up after only a few weeks. The fancy to learn to drive didn't come back until I was 37 when, suddenly, I announced on holiday "When we get back home I'm going to book driving lessons for myself". To say MWM and the kids were surprised is an understatement!
Once home I got straight on the phone and booked my driving instructor - Eric. Eric was a lovely man, mature, very calm, great reputation and I felt very safe with him. I only had one criticism of Eric, it was a bit disconcerting when I was driving along on my lessons to see him gazing out of the side window waving (in a Royal way) to all the people he knew. I kept asking myself and him "Shouldn't you be watching what I'm doing?" "You're doing just fine" he kept reassuring me.
Well I must have been doing something right because I started my weekly lessons in September and by early December I was taking my test.
On the day of my test, as if I wasn't nervous enough, Eric tells me that 'unfortunately' I had drawn the short straw and got the chief examiner who was a b...........rd by all accounts. Thanks Eric I needed that. I was last to leave the test centre that day, asking the examiner if he made allowances for nerves. My driving test didn't start very well, I hit the kerb on the way out of the test centre, but I don't think the examiner noticed because he let me carry on. The first right turn I had to negotiate flummoxed me a little. After I had stopped and positioned the car to turn right, watching for a break in the oncoming traffic, I noticed I hadn't a cat in hells chance of negotiating the turn without driving over the garden of the house on the corner. What to do? I checked my mirror and noticed the lady at the head of the queue of traffic behind me had left quite a gap (didn't she trust me?) so I put the car in reverse gear (the lady behind had a look of abject horror on her face) and slowly reversed until I was almost touching her bumper. I then checked the right turn again and thought I can do this!
Right turn completed successfully, I carried out the instructions of the driving examiner round the test route,wherever that was as it's all a blur. I can't remember doing a hill start, though I must have done as it's a necessary part of the driving test. I remember at one point not being able to get the gear stick into 3rd gear and blastpheming quite a lot. I think I managed the three point turn without mishap, but I probably could have driven to Blackpool in the time it took me to complete it. It all passed in a dream-like state and next thing I knew we were back at the test centre. You remember I said we were last to leave the centre? Well we were first back, and when I checked my watch we'd only been out for 20 minutes. Not looking good I thought, he couldn't wait to get back to safety!
Next came the Highway Code questions, I can't honestly remember what he asked me but I answered as best I could until he asked "when is it OK to overtake on the left?" - my mind went blank! I put my head in my hands on the steering wheel, thought for a minute then said "Ask me another!" Suddenly it was all over. "Well Mrs. Malu, I'm.................pleased to tell you, you've passed!" I just couldn't believe it, I insisted he'd made a mistake because I'd made so many, but he insisted I'd done just fine and after much toing and froing I finally accepted I had passed, after he'd threatened to fail me. We got out of the car just as Eric came out to greet and commiserate with me. I tell you there was nobody more surprised than Eric! Eric said the examiner must have been in a good mood that day as he never passed anyone on their first test.
Anyway, onto the part that's kept you glued to this post - my bumps.
MWM knew I wasn't very good at reversing so for a while whenever I'd been out in the car I would stop at the gate and he would come and reverse the car onto the drive for me. After a few months of this I think he got fed up of coming out in the rain and insisted it was time I did it myself. He should have had more sense.
"Ok" I said "I'll back it onto the drive but move your car further up away from the entrance to the drive, it's in my way".
"It's miles away" he said "just get on with it".
"I'll hit it" I said
"No you won't, it's not in the way" he insisted.
Well you can guess what happened can't you? Obviously I didn't turn the wheel far enough to swing the car onto the drive and I hit the front of his car making his two prize spotlights spring out like those joke eyes on coils! He can't say I didn't warn him!
After that, surprisingly, he let me practice some more and I got backing onto the drive off to a tee. Well that was until I lost my concentration one day and hit the gate. Oops. Drive forward and straighten up and try again. So I drove forward and guess what the bumper must have hooked onto the gate because I heard this scraping noise and when I checked my mirror the bumper was still stuck to the gate! MWM wasn't in at the time but as the garage couldn't do anything about it until the following day I had to tell him when he came home.
You'll be pleased to know that I've got a lot better at reversing since then, I only back into the hedge occasionally these days.