It has been a while since I last posted, life ran away with me somewhat. Not only am I now a student, I am now a volunteer!
So, a recap.
I paid Nippers an awful lot of money and got a totally shit instructor and severely dented self-esteem. Steve Eggleton failed to teach me to learn to drive, put me in a dangerous situation on several occasions, was generally unpleasant to be around. Nippers School of Motoring were no help and customer service is poor. DSA fobbed off my complaint.
The last few months have been a steep learning curve, driving at night, driving in adverse weather conditions, driving on motorways, learning to navigate whilst driving. It has been simultaneously terrifying and exhilarating. I have been joking with my husband that a new driver needs a sticker book with stickers for each new achievement like:
My first sneeze whilst driving
My first motorway
My first drive with the radio on
My first navigation software
My first M25 toll
My first night drive
My first moving of the hands away from the 10-12 / 9-3 position on the wheel
My first 'crossing of the hands' rather than push pull.
My first rude gesture
My first aggressive move
My first turning the headlights on whilst driving
My first demisting
My first drive in a pair of shoes that aren't 'driving shoes'
My first drive with an annoying passenger
My first near miss with a bloody stupid wild animal
My first drive without my nose placed against the windscreen
Low point was driving on the A12 in driving rain and spray, seven 'o' clock at night, dark dark dark, really busy. Had to prise my fingers off the steering wheel at the end but I did it. With kids in the car as well, tired kids who squabbled. I figured if I can do that I can do anything.
After three months of driving in all sorts of conditions and all over London and motorways etc:
Number of accidents: 0
Number of injuries: 0
Damage to the car: 0
Times reversed around a corner: 0
Times reverse parked: 2
Times parallel parked: 1
Times done a three point turn: 80 million
Times driven forwards into car parking space: Many Many (WHY DON'T WE GET TAUGHT HOW TO DO THIS!!!)
I am much more confident behind the wheel and my confidence and competence is improving everyday.
We live on one of the main driving test routes and see 15-20 driving school cars everyday just when we are out and about. The majority are Castle and Mutlows, I would say 75% of the cars I see are from these two companies. I have seen quite a lot of one man band independents and also Hansons, Panda, Ellis ABC (I recommend these as well as Pam Sinclair, I have heard good things about them). In the last month I have seen just two Nippers cars, neither of them Steve Eggleton, hopefully this reflects their poor reputation. I have come across two other people who have had bad experiences with Nippers, that is now six....or seven, can't remember, not really keeping track any more.
So, I shall return and burble some more when I next find a few minutes.