A couple of weeks ago I went a long way (literally and metaphorically) to achieving this goal.
I’d been asked by a friend if I’d like to spend half term visiting her new caravan in the South of France. The catch was that I’d share the driving and help move the contents of her old caravan in Normandy to the new one in Serignan Plage. I jumped at the chance. Not only did I get a very cheap holiday and got to see some new places, I also got to work on one of my challenges.
Margaret picked me up at about 1.30am after a busy last day at school on the Friday. Who needs sleep? We spent the night driving down to Portsmouth for the early morning ferry. I took my first turn at driving her car and was pleased to be able to get used to it whilst there wasn’t much traffic about and whilst still driving on this side of the road.
We boarded the ferry and went straight to our cabin to get a few hours sleep. Once we landed 5 or 6 hours later in Caen we had to drive for another hour or two to get to our hotel near the campsite where the old caravan had been. We had time for a look around Granville before going for dinner and getting to bed.
Next morning, after the what must be the world’s nicest croissants and baguette for breakfast we went to the lock-up where her stuff was stored. Once we’d succeeded in the challenge of getting the door unlocked (hitting the lock with a stone eventually worked) it took us a few hours to load up the car and roof-rack.
Then it was a VERY long drive down to the south coast. We took turns in driving and I was surprised by how quickly I got into it. It was a Sunday so was fairly quiet and we were mainly on the motorway, so all I really had to do was point the car in the right direction and drive, but even so. By the time we arrived I was feeling quite happy with myself.
During the week and on my last day when we drove to Spain so I could fly home from Girona airport I had a few more goes at driving and this time experienced traffic lights, roundabouts, traffic jams, and so on. As my last challenge I made sure it was my turn to drive as we drove over the Pyrenees and across the border into Spain.
I haven’t quite decided whether to tick this challenge off as complete yet. I specifically want not just to have a go at driving on the wrong side of the road, but to be able to say I can do it confidently. Although I felt fine driving over the week I was in France, I’m not sure I would be as confident if I suddenly had to do it again in a year’s time. I think I’d need some time to get used to it again. Also, I haven’t driven alone yet, and it’s very different not having a second pair of eyes to look out for potential hazards. So at the moment I’m thinking of leaving this one as an ‘in progess’ rather than considering it completed.