- CRITTER TALK
- SCI/TECH/OTHER STUFF
If I won an obscene amount of money on the Euro Lottery this week and had enough dosh to buy a small South American republic, I would carry on being a Driving Instructor.
My students from abroad – The USA, Sierra Leone, France, Germany, Italy, India, Pakistan, various African countries – actually it would be easier to name the countries who haven’t supplied me with a driving student – all tend to agree that the British Driving Test is probably the hardest in the world to pass.
I once had a Ukranian driving student – we’ll call him Alex, as that was actually his name , was learning to drive relatively late in life at the age of 44 – not my oldest student mind you, David is 66!
Alex had served with the Soviet Special Forces and served time during their attempted occupation of Afghanistan – shouldn’t the West have learned something there?
He was, and is, as we have been pals many years, very ‘Russian’ in his outlook. A very ‘precise’ person.
“Alex, the speed limit on this road is 40 mph (miles per hour – I have no idea of the American equivalent) and, if it is safe to do so you should travel at the speed limit and no faster”
Whenever a vehicle passed us doing 45 or 50 Alex would put his arm out of the window, clench and shake his fist and shout “SON OV BEETCH! HE BREAK RULE!!!”
I tried to break him of this habit – as his Driving Examiner might not entirely approve - by suggesting that middle aged men, such as myself, who drove large four wheel drive vehicles tended to be bullies and, they tended to have large vehicles to compensate for having little penises. I emphasized the point by waggling my little pinky finger.
One such vehicle hurtled past us at waaaay over the speed limit and Alex went into his ‘SON OV BEETCH’ routine. I reminded him of why middle aged men did this.
The vehicle in question stopped at the next traffic lights and we pulled alongside.
Alex shouted “OI!” to the driver. As it was summer time the windows were down.
The driver looked across at us and Alex waved his pinky finger at him, smiled and said “Leetle dick” – I said “Bloody hell Alex! Drive!!!”
Now the British have long had a love affair with cars – as have Americans and pretty much any developed nation you could name.
It isn’t the cars that are a problem, it’s the lunatics behind the wheel – and I was one of them until I learned to be a Driving Instructor.
I have had students actually try to run over someone because they knew them and didn’t like them – thank God (or the deity of your choice) for dual controls!
I’ve had students who were so bad I’ve offered to buy them an ‘Oyster card’ which is the card used for public transport.
I had one particular student called – well – lets call her Camie who is a very old American friend. Not that she’s old! Just old in terms of how long I’ve known her.
The American student henceforth known as Camie was a very good student and, in a remarkably short time, a very good driver.
She failed her first British Driving Test on a maneuver known as ‘Turn In The Road’ aka turning the car around to face the other way. She should have passed first time with flying colors but blew it.
“YOU DONUT!” I exclaimed on hearing the Driving Examiners debrief – even he was ‘gutted’ for her but he had a job to do.
From that day on she was known as DONUT. When she passed easily on her second attempt I bought her a donut. This tradition has continued since my American student as every student who passes now gets a donut, and, as a result, the British donut industry has prospered due entirely to an ex-pat of the USA.
So there you have it. The British Donut industry has survived the recession in this country entirely because of an ex-pat American and her British Driving Instructor. A Driving Instructor who seems to be quite good at what he does and, as a result, spends a ridiculous amount of his hard earned on donuts.
I told you we had a “special relationship!”
God Save The Queen, donuts and my former students and pals, Alex and Camie