Changing gear

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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