Alternative Lifestyles * Vagabonding Travel * Searching for Hippie Happiness

Watch Out, Hippie Behind the Wheel: Finale’

The blue car went faster and faster, my foot stuck between the accelerator and the brake. The L plates flew into the air as we sped down the road in the direction of the field. The elderly driving instructor was a deep shade of red as he desperately tried to stop the car before we hit the wall by the field.

His face then went from red to white as he cried, “I cannot stop the car, you complete imbecile!!”

I scream like a child as we hit the wall and tumble into the field, both falling face first into some cow shit.

The instructor turns to me, rage in his eyes, “You failed, you failed, you failed…..

Then I woke up in my bed, covered in sweat and aching all over after a terrible nights sleep. It had all been a horrible nightmare. I had been over thinking my second driving lesson, which was due to take place the next day. I had been left traumatised after the bad experience I had had on my first lesson with an independent instructor.

I decided not to continue with the same lady as last time and so I signed up to the Red Driving School. Please, please let this chap be better than my last instructor.

At 10am I was outside my door, a little nervous, as ready as I could be for my driving lesson.

10 o’clock came and went and no instructor. After earlier working myself up in to a frenzy, he hadn’t even turned up!!

I phoned the driving school customer service and explained this and they explained to me; “Your lesson is at 10.30 sir!”


At twenty past a lovely shiny new Mini arrived emblazoned with the RED logo. The driver was a youngish looking man called Andy. He could not have been nicer and he instantly put me at ease.

Unlike my first lesson where she took me to a quiet side street, Andy drove us to a busy road and parked up. He was brilliant, taking the time to explain how things like the clutch work, showing me pictures of the workings involved. He took 40 minutes going over all the instruments and even used a plastic biscuit lid to show me the best way to steer the car, none of which had been taught to me by my first instructor. So, when it came to me sitting behind the steering wheel, I felt so much more confident.

I felt a bit daunted when he asked me to start driving as we were on a fairly busy road with buses and lorries but I soon realised this was better as I was not only learning how to drive the vehicle but also becoming aware of hazards and traffic on the road.

He patiently and gently helped me if I was steering out to far or going to slow but in this second lesson I ended up driving on and off for over an hour. 

I thought my problem would be driving too close to the parked traffic but instead I kept coming out too far and he had to slightly steer me back into lane.

But I was enjoying it and driving along felt freeing and exciting; I was actually driving a car at last, at 56 years old.

My biggest weaknesses were the clutch and the accelerator. I kept not pushing the clutch down fully to the floor, so that was not good and something to work on.

But my biggest issue was the accelerator. I found it so sensitive. I would be driving along at 2 miles an hour and he would say “more speed Stephen”, and I would put what I thought was the slightest pressure on the pedal and suddenly we would surge forward at 100 miles per hour.

Despite this he was ever so patient with me and said every student struggles with these things at first.

Practice makes perfect huh.

I came away so much happier than my first lesson. Lessons with Red driving school are two hours a time so plenty of chance to get better and better. I’m actually looking forward to my next lesson.

Thumbs up to Andy and to Red Driving school.

Soon (next year) I will have my campervan, which will help me with my market stall business and will also be fab for travel and adventure.

So, perhaps for a few weeks more; ‘watch out, there’s a hippie behind the wheel’ but hopefully soon, I will be just another driver.

Except I may be easier to recognise than others in my psychedelic Hippie Kushi campervan.

Next time: Ozora, Boot Sales and Preparing for Goa

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