I took my driving test in Limerick, in a mini of all things. My father had tried to teach me to drive and his habitual short fuse usually cut short any lesson we would have. However, against all odds, I did learn to drive but needed some tuition to remove the ould lad’s bad habits that had rubbed off on me. Not least of which was to pour a continuous stream of obscenities at anybody who had the cheek to be on the road at the same time as him. Therefore I took a couple of lessons at a driving school in Limerick and they had mini’s as their cars.
Now, because my Father had spent so much time on the buildings in England he had an English licence and under the rules in those days you had to take your test in order to get an Irish licence (bless the EU you don’t have to now). This prompted much gnashing of teeth and numerous tirades against the dubious ancestry of people that worked in the Department of Transport.
As luck would have it we were down to take our test on the same day, he first, me directly after. We had an old Ford Anglia and we set off for Limerick.
“You will of course remember all I taught you” says he, swerving around a car and then when the other driver had the temerity to honk his horn, giving a non standard hand signal out the window and telling the other driver to do something physically impossible and morally wrong. Yeah right……
He dropped me off and I went round to the driving centre to pick up the mini while he took his test. The instructor let me drive around for a while and we parked up. I was on my way in to the test centre when he emerged with a white piece of paper in his hand and a look of immense pleasure on his face.
“I passed no problem” says he – Feck no pressure then
“I’ll see you in Cruises Hotel after your test” says he
Bugger, I was in a no win situation here. If I passed it was all down to him and if I failed I was a thick eejit who shouldn’t be let near the wheel of a car and was totally un-teachable.
I walked into the examiner’s office and sat down opposite a man who looked like he had been 10 rounds with Mohammed Ali. The smell of drink off him was overpowering and he looked as crabby as hell. FML
I expected the sign recognition test at this point. No, he just elevated himself to his feet with great effort and started towards the door.
“Right, lets get this over with” says he
We walked to the car and I expected the number plate reading test, No, he just plonked himself in the passenger seat.
“Pull out and turn right” says he
I pulled out and indicated right and drove around the corner
“Turn next right” says he
I did as I was told and was mentally bracing my self for when the three point turn, reverse around corner, emergency stop etc would take place.
“Turn next right” says he
Ok deep breaths we are now going to leave the busy city traffic and go out into the sticks.
“Turn next right and park” says he
Ah the old take off on a hill, the lousy whore was going to make me take off into busy city traffic once more, sadist.
“Switch off and follow me into the centre” says he
WTF – had I made that bad a mistake that I was failed in the first couple of minutes and he couldn’t bear to be in the same car as me. The ould lad was going to have a fecking field day with this one.
“You’ve passed congratulations” says he passing me the invaluable white sheet. He then reached for his coat and walked out the front door with me trailing behind with my mouth still agape. He promptly went next door to the pub and disappeared inside.
I met the ould lad in Cruises Hotel and as I walked in I swear he looked at his watch and his eyes lit up and he was about to say something profound and probably malicious. I waved the paper.
“I passed” says I
“Feck” says he deflated
Gotta love him