Posts Tagged ‘Stig’

Confession time

I have a confession to make. I break the law every day and I don’t feel guilty. The confession is rather that I don’t feel guilty than committing the crime in the first place. I break the speed limit. Not by much and I don’t drive beyond my ability and certainly never dangerously but I can’t stand being stuck behind a driver doing the statutory two miles below what is deemed to be safe. It drives me mad.

Something that makes me uncharacteristically competitive is the sign on the motorway which says:

17 miles to Junction 10: 15 minutes.

 Instantly I think, “Hmm, we’ll see about that;” I hear Dad’s voice saying, “Come on JJ, put your foot down,” and I proceed to beat the clock, getting enormous satisfaction if I reach junction ten in fourteen.

Dad taught us all to drive, not to pass the test. He would make us drive round narrow lanes with horrendous gradients declaring that we “could get a bus through there,” if we baulked at a slim passing place with an oncoming vehicle; we’d go out in all weathers including snow and ice so that we learned to control the car if it were to skid; he’d take us down dead end streets then get us to turn the car around, however many shunts it took.  When out in the country and the road was clear, he let us put our foot down.

I don’t have a fast car, I don’t watch Grand Prix racing and I’m not interested in performance models – I just like driving my ordinary, reasonably priced hatchback quickly when I get the opportunity.  How I’d love to go round a track with the Stig from BBC’s Top Gear guiding me round each bend and through every gear change. I wouldn’t even mind meeting Jezza, if only to prove to him that women in cars needn’t be anathema. I‘d show off my parallel parking skills – I’ve always been good at that – something to do with spatial awareness and vanishing points apparently, but I don’t need to know the physics; I can just do it. Better than my husband, as he’d be the last to admit. His luxury car is fitted with sophisticated beepers to help him perform the manoeuvre –like an articulated truck backing into a loading bay – but I think they are annoying, and anyway, if I was behind the wheel, I’d want to defy the beeps, then goodness knows what might happen.

So, if I ever had the opportunity to drive my little car (or one similar) to its limits, in an off-road situation, I’d take it. Perhaps one needs to know what danger feels like before it is fully respected. If circumnavigating a track is out of the question, then a skid pan would do.

Now, that would be fun.

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