There are a few things I am grateful to my mum for and one thing in particular is that as soon as we were old enough, she encouraged me and my siblings to learn to drive. I remember she didn't drive herself until I was ten and she must have found her new found freedom so liberating that she encouraged us all to do it too.
Although I had my first lesson on my 17th birthday I didn't actually pass my test at until I was 19. I left home just before my 18th birthday so my lessons were quite sporadic. Whilst learning to drive I developed a fascination for old cars, particularly Fords from the 1970s with their curvy bodywork before boxier shapes became the fashion for the late 70s. My favourite to this date is the MkIII Cortina.
My first car was a MKII Escort which I never drove because it was before I passed my test. It was my hobby car and I stripped the cherry red paint off it because I wanted it to be baby blue -criminal! - I still cringe now. This crime is made even worse by the fact it had a 000 number plate which I later found out meant it was ex-showroom!
(I tried to find a nice picture of an Escort to add here but got fed up with looking at pictures of the wrong kind of escort in my google images search! I'm just not that way inclined :-))
When I passed my test my first car was a MkIII Cortina. Heavy in the rear I couldn't control it and had 3 prangs in the first week! I'm certain I'd have better luck driving it now having held my license for 13 years come the autumn but for the own safety I swapped it with my boyfriend at the time for his MkI Fiesta. Nice car, but the gear box froze on the way to Bournemouth to visit my Dad at christmas!
From there I've been through a few cars, a few funny stories and now I have a MkII Golf GTI. The steering is proper heavy and it's a bit too noisy for my liking (I don't really like the attention) but it's cool and I like it. I think Golfs were made for me - I find the cockpit very comfortable for my size!
BUT the tax ran out at the end of June. Our company now runs two vans, one which my husband uses at the weekends and the other just sits there so I wondered how I might get on using that one and seeing if I can do without a car of my own.
It was fine at the weekends but it was a pain during the week. I had to get a bus or walk to drop little girl off at the childminders which was good for my general fitness, my pedometer was giving brilliant readings, but my productivity took a hit - most days I wasn't in the office until 10 and then I'd have to stop at 4.30 to catch as bus or walk to collect little girl on time.
I lasted a month and a half. Gutted because I paid for an extra half months' tax I could have used but I think it was a good experiment. I think it helped that it was summer time. I don't think I would have been so keen to wait at the bus stop in the cold or walk around in the dark but now when I pay my car insurance or road tax, I can look back to this time and realise that yes, I do definitely need it to make the most of my productive time when little girl is at the childminders.