Holding my certificate
I am delighted to say that this morning I passed my practical driving test. In about three weeks I will receive my Great Britain Driving Licence. This will give me a lot more freedom and flexibility, as I will be able to rent a car — and I won’t have to shell out £34 and two hours every week or so for a driving lesson.
Driving lessons? you ask. Yes, driving lessons. Not because I don’t know how to drive — I got my first driver’s license in 1968 and learned to drive a manual transmission five years later. And I drive a clutch, too — I’ve never even owned a car with an automatic transmission. But the driving standards here, what they look for when you take your driving test, are extremely precise. They watch how you use your mirrors, how you turn the steering wheel and shift the gears (your licence indicates whether or not you are allowed to drive a manual transmission), whether you stay to the left side of your lane, how well you see things ahead that will make you stop or change direction — a gazillion things.
My instructor, a lovely Sikh guy and new father named Jas, had told me that a minority of people pass the practical test the first time they take it. (At £62 a pop, not having to do it again was really important to me.) We had been hoping for fewer than than the seven “minor marks” I received (you’re allowed 14), but Jas said that with the examiner I had, seven was quite good. My examiner was a bearded guy in late middle age, and although I liked him and found him congenial (he even made a joke as we were finishing up), Jas said that he tends to be very strict and has even been known to reduce examinees to tears. No doubt he could tell that I am an experienced driver, and maybe he factored that into his evaluation. Whew.
Anyway, I am very pleased to have this behind me. #happylittledance
Update: I should add that I needed to obtain this licence because the UK allows me to drive on my Maryland license for the first year only.