31, 30, 29…

Driving recently has been lots of tiring junction work. Both C. and P. have focused on improving my approach to junctions and making my approach to give way signs more positive. P. said about the only thing he’d fail me on would be undue hesitation.

P. also took me to the test centre in Newport to practise reverse parking into the bays the examiners will use. Although he has taught me which mark to use ofr this manoeuvre, I also thought I could use the mark for reversing round a sharp corner, and so it proved. It means I should be able to get this manoeuvre right in future in the Honda “tractor”. The bays at the test centre are bigger than standard and P.’s Clio has acres of space around it.

The only hazard was the arrival of a motorcyclist, who zipped round the corner of the test centre as I was reversing, and then parked in one of the bays. The rider then just walked off without looking where he was going, and P. and I surmised he would probably fail his test.

Oddly, the highlight of recent driving has been taking J. to St Mary’s in Newport to get her dressing changed. It’s a simple journey with two hazards: the right turn out of our drive, and St Mary’s roundabout at the head of the dual carriageway. It was just a pleasant drive in the sunshine, and J. commented how much more confident I appeared compared with the last time we’d made the journey.

Unusually, for the first time in my life I have begun to get excited about cars. P.’s talk of more mocks and an actual test date has got me thinking about what to drive. The Honda tractor (a diesel Civic) J. usually drives is great for the distances and speeds involved in getting Jimjams to Ryde ice rink, achieving about 55 to 57 m.p.g. But it’s comparatively old in terms of diesel and car technology, and alternatives beckon.

The hard choice is deciding between a van or a car. A van would be useful for the business and has the attraction of being fully claimable for VAT. But you can’t book a van online with ferry company Wightlink and have to pay commercial rates (the option to use Red Funnel in East Cowes is a no-brainer on cost and booking convenience, but it is the longest of all the car ferry journeys). But the Honda can largely carry all I need for a show, at least as far as getting stock to Mike’s in Woking is concerned, and diesels are beginning to look unattractive on fuel consumption and running costs compared with a small city petrol car. I may make the decision that Mike has already done: run an Aygo (or its other incarnations, the 107 or C1) as a second car, because its frugality on petrol makes it cheaper by far per mile on running costs. It’s still early days, after all I haven’t even passed my test yet.

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