Texting and driving

This evening, while on my regular Monday evening past-time of driving aimlessly [ok, the aim is learning to drive, so not totally aimless] around the streets of south-east London, my phone rang twice and then I had a text that I sensed was indicative of a voicemail.

Figuring it might be important (there are sick relatives around at the moment) I checked my phone when it was safe to do so. [Pulled over, handbrake on, in neutral…] It turned out to just be my sister, returning my call from the day before, so I fired off a text that read: “Can’t talk. On driving lesson.” 

The text conversation that followed had both me and my instructor in stitches…

Mim: “I think he should train you in talking and driving. As he’s obviously already covered texting at the wheel…”

Me: “Waiting for a ferry!”

Mim: “WHAT? Where are you going? Holland?”
Mim [in a separate text]: “1st country that came to mind…”

Me: “Woolwich ferry. Across the Thames…”

Bless her.

Has to be said, until I began this driving lark I hadn’t realised just how crucial river crossings (bridges, tunnels, ferries etc) were to those of us who inhabit a city divided by water. I have now, over the course of a few lessons, driven through the Rotherhithe Tunnel (twice, it’s hideous – narrow and interminable with a 20mph speed limit), the Limehouse Tunnel (also twice), over Tower Bridge and on the Woolwich ferry*. All fun activities, especially at night, when you get views like this:

Canary Wharf just behind the Thames Barrier
(Taken on ferry, while stationery & with engine off – in case you were concerned.) 

Another piece of driving good news is that I appear to have mastered both stopping (finally!) and roundabouts. Reversing round corners is still a skill that evades me, but one day…

*Today was the first time I’d personally driven a car onto a ferry. I’m counting that as another 2010 first. 

Comments

  1. I hadn’t even realised there was a car ferry over the Thames…

  2. Erm, how is that possible?!

    I may have never been on it, but it’s in practically every London news bulletin because most mornings one of the ferries isn’t working causing huge traffic jams.

  3. Brilliant. Abducted by the driving instructor.

    I had problems driving around corners according to my Dad. He vowed never to ride in the car with me until I worked them out.

    Twenty odd years later I still hear and feel his sharp intake of breath when there’s a corner coming up. Still he doesn’t drive anymore so I’m all he’s got.

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