2.Tell us a story of something that happened with a bang.
I started my driving lessons in the UK shortly after my 17th birthday and came home delighted after a couple to tell my mother how I had managed to overtake a parked car. She was on the floor in tears and I hadn’t explained that this delicate manoeuvre had meant I had to change lane with all the rigmarole of indicating and gear changing blah blah And get back in my previous lane too.
I had to drop the lessons to go to Broadstairs to study. I then moved to London for my first job and didn’t have the cash or incentive to drive with the tube, buses and trains coping fantastically with all my movements so it wasn’t until I was in Italy and already a mum to Thomas, reliant on my husband for lifts all over that I took up my driving again.
I passed. My instructor helped with the multiple choice, pointing out two to change but the practical test I sailed through and on passing I jumped out of the car and kissed the lady instructor who was testing me.
Our friend Danielle, in the bar that night, told me I needed to get 10,000 km under my belt before I could think of myself as a competent driver. So I used Enrico’s ( now our ) car to start drumming up my kms.
At that time for some absurd reason Enrico had a passion for Alfa Romeos, blue ones. All of them were blue. They were large, four door saloons and I used to watch him and listen to the engine whilst he drove to pick up more tips. I liked the way he would reverse quickly out of the one way street we lived in, one hand on the steering wheel and craning his neck back to watch the road, swerving the car round so we were in the right position to set off for Rovereto. Sooo clever.
I reckoned I could do that, after all I’d watched it enough times.
I put the car in reverse, took the hand break off (which was a plus as I often forgot to do this back then) and pushing the accelerator to the floor as I turned my head to see where we were going.
Oops, I’d forgotten the steering wheel bit and my boot was now in Alfredo’s patio fence. Thank God we were out of season and there weren’t any of his customers sitting in the morning sunshine. Mind you Alfredo was there and his son, working on the patio but before you panic, I was nowhere near them.
When I was pregnant with Megan, about 8 months, we had a babysitter from the UK over to help with Thomas over the summer and to be there when I had to go into hospital. Fiona. Her mum was coming to visit for a week and stay in the hotel and as it was August we were going to pick them up at the airport.
Thomas was sitting in the back as we made our way down the winding mountain road. There were a couple of gallerie (tunnels) to go through and after the last one, a wasp entered my window, wound down for some fresh air on such a hot day.
The wasp flew around my swollen belly and I looked down to brush it away. I don’t like wasps at the best of times netalone when I’m driving and pregnant.
I watched in horror as the car slowly drove up the rocky mountain side and rolled onto its side stopping as slowly as it had started. Fiona, had her seat belt on and was hanging above me, I was lying along the car door flattened on the road and Thomas was fine in the back and asking for me. Mamma?
No harm had come to any of us or the unborn baby, Tommy refused for a while to get back in a car with me but eventually came round and the car was a write off much to Enrico’s annoyance. So he got himself another blue Alfa Romeo a couple of days later.
Once I had returned to the UK after our split, Megan decided after 6 months it wasn’t for her and went back to Italy. I was gutted as you can imagine but there’s not a lot you can do to change a stroppy teenagers mind so I took to flying out to Italy every six weeks to keep in touch with my children.
I would hire a car at the airport and spend a long weekend with them. On this particular occasion I had been given a brand new Smart Car, I was impressed. I took Megan shopping one afternoon and we got caught in horrendous rush hour traffic coming back but we were happy with our purchases, and had loads to talk about so we crawled along talking animatedly to each other.
I was talking about the summer holidays and trying my best to make our family holiday sound The Best Ever, as I so wanted them to come with us. I kept glancing over to gauge her interest written in her face and
Straight into the rear of the car sitting in front of us. The driver, a young girl no older than 18, jumped out and came round to my side where she started jumping on the car, punching the door and kicking the bonnet. I was petrified.
Luckily others started to gather round as is the norm with any accident. Call the police I said. I had noticed that she had her mother and a small child, Not Strapped In, in the back, stuff to have your license revoked but I wasn’t going to tell her for fear of a kicking myself!
Details were exchanged, no police were called as a gentleman had pointed out her error and explained the consequences and off we went on our merry ways. The damage wasn’t great and again nobody was hurt.
I’m sure you’ll agree that the above Bangs, can’t possibly be all my fault….