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.