Day 3 and Pete is met with “a completely different driver”. He seems genuinely delighted – I am ready to pull away quickly, I speed up and am altogether less of a wuss. We do parallel parking and it’s not too hard at all – why can’t all those people I see who have been driving for years do it I wonder smugly? I am also quite good at the emergency stop which is really handy as we head off into town to practice on small narrow streets with the old folk of Kings Lynn wandering close to the road everywhere I look. Having successful avoided knocking any over, I join them for a nice pot of tea and watch the world go by while Pete takes someone else off for their test. This is the torture we all must face so I look forward to the post-match analysis later for tips.
Later we do some more town driving without mishap but with me needing to be a bit more self-reliant with signs and road markings. There are some very strange ones in Kings Lynn. One way systems on wide roads, two-way traffic on little cobbled lanes and roundabouts so small and flat you could drive right over them without spotting them at all. I do drive over most of one, but only to avoid the person in the wheelchair on the left-hand curb – taking out a ridiculous circle of worn paint seemed by far the safer bet. It’s fair to say it is a popular choice. No-one would shed any tears over the roundabout that wasn’t even worthy of the name.
And then on to the real roundabouts without even a tinge of magic about them. One so large and fast and downright terrifying that Ermintrude, Dylan and Zebedee would be road kill in an instant. I now feel sure that reducing speed, changing gear, selecting the right road position and trying to make a judgment about whether it is safe to join the flow will be my downfall. I can’t imagine how anyone could carry out all those processes without their brain actually exploding from the combination of over-activity and centrifugal force. The end of day talk, however, assures me it will be possible to be more relaxed about them. Rather than breeding contempt, familiarity will breed confidence I’m told. Yeah right! As Friday looms we’ll also be doing some mock tests to find out quite how bad I still am. Low expectations are probably in order to gain any feel good factor from this.