Changing gear

May 9, 2011

Eeek! I’m dropping my car off today to have her makeover – keen readers will remember that she was vandalised on New Year’s Day. It will take a good week to restore lovely Evie (the car. Yes of course she has a name!) to her former splendour. In the meantime, I will be driving a replacement car. And it will be manual. Hence the eeek.

It’s now about four years since I last drove a manual car. At the time we bought Evie, I didn’t really see the point of automatic cars. It wasn’t difficult to drive a manual, and I even firmly believed that all that gear changing in London’s lovely traffic was quite useful for toning my thighs. About a week after getting Evie, though, I succumbed to the ease of swishing around London in a car where you had to do virtually nothing. I even thought about taking up tapestry, just to give me something to do while driving. Not only do you only use one foot, occasionally, with an automatic, with Evie you barely need to use your hands either. She always seems to know where she is going.

In case this is striking dread into the hearts of fellow London drivers, particularly those in the Dulwich vicinity, I should say that I am a very careful, and safe, driver. I almost always have children in the back and drive as one bearing precious cargo. But not too slow, obviously, or you get hooted at.

But will I remember how to drive a manual? I confess I have already googled gear changing, only to get a Wikipedia page bristling with stick shifts which has worried me still further. The man in the garage assured me ‘it will all come back in a minute,’ but he spoke with the airiness of one who will be safely in his garage, not out and about in the mean streets of Herne Hill.

Oh well, you have been warned. Steer well clear of Dulwich today, if you can, and if you can’t, please don’t hoot at anyone bunny-hopping down Half Moon Lane like a total and utter learner.

In the meantime, here’s a couple of pictures of someone driving even more dangerously than I will be:

Yep, that’s right, he’s cycling along – quite fast – with a dog on the back of the bike. And he’s looking down. Why, you may ask?

Because he’s dialing someone on his mobile phone, naturally! And then enjoying a lovely long chat. While cycling quite fast with a dog on the back. Sigh.

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  • Jane Reynolds May 9, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    I just can’t believe that little Westie’s managing to balance on that saddle; is he glued on? Wonder if he’s scared? It’s literally unbelievable, and where’s the Police when you need them (off buying pies in Tesco Metro probably!). How could someone be so stupid?

    • Dulwich Divorcee May 11, 2011 at 9:44 am

      Poor little dog! I did feel for him and I was watching closely to see if he looked unhappy – he wasn’t wagging his tail, but it wasn’t drooping down and he wasn’t showing any obvious signs of distress so I think he was reasonably ok. Aha, yes, so you’ve noticed the police scoffing pies in Tesco Metro as well?

      • Dulwich Divorcee May 11, 2011 at 9:46 am

        PS Jane just took a peek at your blog and your novel sounds great! Hope you’re selling loads 🙂

  • Crystal Jigsaw May 10, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    Those pictures beggar belief, they really do! I can’t drive at the moment but I usually drive a manual when I do. Of course, there isn’t as much traffic up here in the stick as you have in London. But my husband bought an automatic the other week and I’m not too happy about it. He didn’t tell me it was auto until the salesman brought it to the house and by then I didn’t really get a say! Not being able to drive kind of makes my opinion null and void, as far as my husband is concerned. He’s in for a shock when I’m back behind that wheel.

    CJ xx

    • Dulwich Divorcee May 11, 2011 at 9:49 am

      Hi CJ, hope you are ok if you’re not driving at the moment? I think you might actually enjoy the automatic when you get used to it, it’s so much easier. I nearly knocked a cyclist off his bike this morning with the replacement manual, oopsie! (he was ok though) xx

  • Jody Brettkelly May 10, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    Great pic and quick thinking on your part to take it! only in England. My cousins are from Dulwich – my uncle taught at the school there and the seems to be right in keeping with some of the bods I met there.

    • Dulwich Divorcee May 11, 2011 at 9:52 am

      Your uncle probably taught lots of the people I know – they all seem to send their children to the school they went to! And most of them ride around pretty eccentrically on their bikes …