Wednesday was a big day for me… if you’ve been following my learning to drive journey you’ll have an idea of just how hard I’ve found it. I started a quivering wreck and I think I even burst into tears at one point (sorry Jonathan!). I never expected to find it so hard and there’s probably people laughing it me but I carried on… determined not to let it defeat me.
So yes, back to Wednesday. Test day. The day I have been dreading a long long time and one that Jonathan had to convince me I was ready for!! Much time had been spent coaching me for this 40 minute drive… perfecting(!) maneuvers, going round a million roundabouts, taking too many right turns I care to remember… and it all came down to this one day.
My test was scheduled for 2.27pm (I’m pretty sure they taunt you with that odd numbered timing) but having it this late gave me SO MUCH time to mill about at home worrying. Squish had always been like clockwork in the morning waking up at 7am but today of all days he thought 6am would be a great time to wake us up. NO NO NO. This was not in my plan. Surely I’m doomed for failure.
Knowing that on average people usually don’t pass on their first attempt I sort of took comfort in this. In my head I accepted that I would not pass but it would be great experience. Another thing I was sure of was that I did NOT want to have to do a parallel park… I’m very much hit and miss with that one as in remembering it and with the added pressure I knew I would mess it up. Nerves Nerves Nerves… *waves fist*
This is the state I was in an hour before the test:
So 1.30pm creeped along and Jonathan turned up to take me to my
doom driving test. After giving me a bit of a talking to about my nerves and giving me a few last minute tips we set off. Little did I know he would have me doing a practice run! Before I even pulled into the the test centre car park I had successfully completed all of my maneuvers. I can’t tell you how much this helped calm me down and I’d highly recommend anyone going for their test to do this.
This was it. I was in the driving centre, I’d signed my name, I waved goodbye to Jonathan and before I knew it I was sat in the car with the instructor going through the show and tell questions. Whilst I’m on the subject, earlier in the day I had been discussing driving tests with a few fellow bloggers and they told me a few stories from their experiences. One of my favourites was from Minty Barlow who blogs on http://waterbirthplease.wordpress.com/:
”I got asked what I’d do in conditions of “Mr fog” I thought he was being cutesie and I said “I’d apply Mrs break and Mr fog lights” he said “I’ll repeat the question. What would you do in conditions of mist OR fog”
Luckily this question didn’t come up on the test, otherwise I may not have been able to contain myself!! Anyway… I managed to get past the show and tell… and somehow managed to key the car into starting with my clammy hands. And I drove. I drove badly. I started questioning everything I was doing in my head. I feared changing gears. I feared every single pedestrian I drove past. I was anxious about what maneuver was coming up. I knew I was making silly mistakes and some of them I was so sure classed as majors that my heart sank after 10 minutes. Then came the maneuver.
“Right Danielle, I would like you to pull alongside that grey parked car and reverse park behind it”
My head: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! I knew it. Just my luck. I let out a big internal sigh and I think I even said to the instructor ‘I really didn’t want this one!’ haha (not my finest moment). I could hear Jonathan in my head telling me to take it slowly think about what I’m doing and remember the steps he taught me. So I did. Everything was going great… it was possibly the best bit of parking I’ve ever done… and then *bump*. The fully locked wheel pointed at the pavement knocked it and I was gutted. That’s it, I’ve properly failed. No going back. The examiner probably sensed my sinking heart, not to mention my mood change. Inside I was fighting back the tears. I’d wasted time and money by making stupid mistakes.
Then I stopped the madness.
The voice of Jonathan came back again telling me not to let mistakes get to me and continue on as if it hadn’t happened, even if I thought I had failed. So I put flight mode to one side and tried my very best. Not to say I didn’t make more but I finished the test enough to get some honest feedback. I drove into the test centre car park and I could see Jonathan waiting at the window. The examiner asked if I wanted to wait for my instructor and I reluctantly said yes… although 1 second later he was sat in the back anyway!
At this point, I was gutted. I knew I had failed. I really wanted to pass and I was just waiting for the inevitable. Just get it over with. And he did.
“Right Danielle, I’m pleased to inform you that you have passed…. by the skin of your teeth!!”
Well, you wouldn’t have been able to scrape my chin off the floor. I would have put my house on the fact(!) I had failed. I did not drive as well as I knew I could and add this to all the stupid mistakes. I was adamant I’d have at least one major in there. I couldn’t stop thinking it was all a dream or that he would tell me he made a silly error and that I was in fact the worst driver he’d ever seen. It still hasn’t quite sank in now I’m sat writing it. It suddenly dawned on me just how important it was to achieve it. What it means to my family… that freedom to nip places and get things done without relying on anyone else. I was so overwhelmed but it was the best feeling ever. Me… first time… passed. Of course it was a far from perfect test and boy did the examiner explain why… in one case I was just lucky that there was no one behind me!! I had 10 minors but I’ll take that. I think I was so shocked that at one point Jonathan was worried that I’d talk the examiner out of passing me! Just shows how much I saw the glass half empty.
Now for the big thank-you.
In the Manchester area and wanting to learn to drive. Get your pen/phone out and take note of this guy’s details. He WILL get you a pass. If he can get this quivering, ever so doubtful wreck to pass a driving test FIRST TIME then he can do anything.
Jonathan – Carmel School of Motoring - 07940792285.
I can’t tell you how many times we were driving around Cheetham Hill and people would be letting on to him. ALL ex students. He has been recommended that many times that I’m pretty sure 90% of the Cheetham Hill drivers have at least one relative whom he has taught. Put it this way, he was never short of students through the whole time he had been teaching me!! He really is a little gem. He’s thorough, he gives you little extras that other more frugal instructors don’t… he even showed me how to fill the car up!! He focuses on what you NEED to know, not just to pass your test, but to get through driving in “real life” after the test. Even after I passed he was still giving me tips about car insurance and what I need to do now I had passed…reminding me to study the mistakes I had made on the test. I think what I’m getting at is the fact he actually cares. He loves his job. And I’m so glad I passed first time. Not just for me but to see his little face light up too!
A big big THANK-YOU to you Jonathan, from myself and all of my family. I’ll maybe see you on the pass plus!!