Monday, 7 November 2011

Just another aspect of my changing life

Driving....I used to drive for bloody miles, I’d think nothing of meeting my son off the train in Droitwich after a day at work and drive to Wembley to watch England play, drive home and go to work the following day. Mid week fixtures at St Andrews in all weathers and I was in the car and off.
I’d stop and ask for directions, pull over at the services for a stretch, coffee and smoke to keep me going or even a short kip in the car.
My work in child protection would see me attending meetings, god knows where all over Worcestershire, a club house, a church hall, a pub all in the middle of nowhere, all at night and the bloody sat nav was useless. So armed with a rough direction, someone’s number should I not be able to find ‘the third track’ on the right, just past the field with cows, I’d head off into the darkness, alone for maybe a 1 hour meeting and then try to find my way home again.
We’d get in the car on weekends and drive to the coast, having only made the decision and decided to go at 1pm, we’d get distracted on route and end up at an English heritage site, where we’d picnic and walk, especially if it rained, we’d leave the children behind, once the eldest hit 18 he’d babysit our then 8 year old and we’d always be back before 10pm.
We’d load up the car and go camping or a last minute trip to France on a Friday night on an overnight ferry, returning Sunday lunch time.
I can’t do that anymore and it makes me sad, another aspect of my freedom gone. I do drive at night, but never after 8pm, if hubby is away and the kids have something on at school I organise a lift home for them. I have to plan trips in advance so I can have the sat nav (maybe it’s time we invested in another) I have to know where I am going, when I will be back and what the alternative routes are in advance. I have to make sure my phone is fully charged; avoid the townships (once I’ve worked out where they are)
There are a few townships I drive past on some of my more regular routes and I prefer heading north towards Pretoria rather than south towards Johannesburg. I’m constantly scanning the road ahead and behind me, I can’t pull over to let a vehicle past, I need to keep on going, I stop at lights and check my mirrors constantly, I never leave anything in my car other than maybe my hat on the back seat, I have to have my passport and driving licence on me at all times then I panic if I get mugged I’ll lose everything, as I can’t leave it in my car as that may get stolen.
I made a rooky mistake in my thought that I wouldn’t get car jacked if I was in a busy place as they wouldn’t be able to drive the car off anywhere, but then realised I was just a sitting target to be robbed even in broad daylight, so now I ensure I leave a big enough gap from the vehicle in front of me so I can just drive off if necessary, but the bloody taxi drivers just fill that gap anyway.