Altogether now: aahhh, isn’t it sweet. Well, it is for me. Not many months ago, it seems, I was wiping my baby daughter’s arse, then putting on a new nappy. And not many weeks ago, I would pick her up from primary school as she struggled, all twiglet legs and pink gingham summer uniform, to carry a cello twice her size from the playground to my car.
She is utterly without a musical ear and only asked for cello lessons because her best friend at time had also started cello lessons. She never once touched it at home, except when on one occasion I mentioned this and said lessons were a waste of money if she wasn’t interested, that I didn’t give tuppence either way whether she had them or not and that she should at least be honest with herself on the matter. A few minutes later, as though, incidentally, she went up to her room and scratched about on it for a minute or two then came downstairs again.
At the end of term she informed us that she wasn’t particularly bothered about carrying on with lessons, so she didn’t, and as the cello had only been hired from school, there was no great loss.
Then, just a few days ago, it seems, I drove her off to some disco in some village hall where they supped Coke and came home again at ten. And this morning I gave her her first driving lesson.
She turned 17 on August 7 and immediately applied for her provisional driving licence (which has to be replaced because there is a spelling error in the address). A friend gave her a Cars keyring and my wife gave her a front door key and the spare set of keys to the small Matiz she drives. I can’t afford the £1,000 odd it would cost to insure her to drive either that car or my car. It’s that expensive because of her age.
For myself, my wife, my brother and my cousin comprehensive insurance on my V-reg Rover 45 (nothing modern or young for me, I’m afraid, is just £198 a year. But I drove her up past Camelford to Davidstow where there are two runways left over from the war and their I initiated her in the intricacies of changing gear while rolling a joint. Actually, that’s a joke, but I’d better point that out for fear of real misunderstandings.
My reasoning is that as she is not driving on the road (‘a public highway’, no doubt, in officialese) she doesn’t have to be insured to drive the Matiz. I suspect that that is complete nonsense and that she most certainly
should be insured whether she drives on a road or into the Tamar at full speed, but that was going to be my story and I was going to stick to it should, for some reason, we have been stopped. There was, of course, no chance or that because we were more or less in the back of beyond.
I tried her out in first gear, then second gear and then, tentatively because the runway we are on is anything but smooth and has the occasional hidden pothole, briefly in third.
Then I got her to reverse, which was an interesting experience as she has real trouble understanding ‘doing things backwards’ as she put it.
But there you go, a sentimental first. I should like to claim I shed a quiet tear in private at how my little babby (sic) is suddenly on the verge of womanhood blah-blah, but cynics everywhere will be pleased to hear I did nothing of the kind.