Sunday, September 08, 2013


Things that go bump in the morning
 

As some of you are aware I no longer enjoy driving – I don’t see, hear or react as well as I did 20 years ago but with everybody adjuring me to KEEP DRIVING I have made it a point of honour to go out - usually on a Sunday - once a week.
 The rest of the time I walk to the doctor’s, dentist’s, chiropodist’s, hairdresser’s and once a week, fill a trolley at the Co-op which they deliver in a time slot the same day, chosen by me.
Now the nights are drawing in I may get a taxi home after the one meeting of the Bereavement group that is in the evening at the Wellington Inn.

 
This morning – being Sunday – I said a silent prayer – cleaned the car windows and drove down the lane, then through the town which was still quite busy.  Most of the holiday makers have left but I was later than usual as I had arranged to meet Joy at the nursery where we would buy plants and have lunch.

 
Turning right then left into the road that leads through the Industrial Estate to the nursery I passed a row of parked cars on my left and heard a bang.  Stopping as soon as I safely could I walked round the car and saw my passenger side mirror had a scuff mark on the outside but the works were hanging out.  I looked back and saw one of the cars had its door open onto the road which I must have hit.

 
There seemed to be a crowd of angry looking women shouting at me.  I locked the car
and advanced towards the ‘mob’ telling myself I must keep calm and not get angry.  At this point I thought the driver must have opened the door as I passed but she said no the door was already open and an aggressive woman who had been driving behind said she was a witness and it was all my fault. 

 
When it became clear that I wasn’t going to argue the crowd melted away and I realised the woman driver and her passenger were decent women and almost as shaken as I was.  We were all too shaky to write clearly so a bystander – the witness, kindly did it for us.  All my documents and insurances are up to date – I’m just not sure in what order one does the necessary but I’m sure one of the boys will point me in the right direction and anyway it’s Sunday.

 
The driver told me something similar had happened recently to her but then the male driver hadn’t stopped.  She thanked me for stopping.
After a chat I told them I hadn’t driven much lately and my late husband did most of the driving as he had mobility problems.  Both of the nice ladies said I mustn’t let it put me off driving.  Why?

 
I met Joy – determined not to start boohooing – bought plants, secateurs and tomato feed (for my plants – not tomatoes).  I could only manage soup and a roll for lunch but felt better for the distraction and am now thankful that I can unburden myself on you.  God bless blogging. xox

39 comments:

kenju said...

That's what we're here for. I am finding that my depth perception is not what it used to be, especially when backing up. Maybe you have a similar problem, but out to the sides? I'm sure it won't be too hard to fix. Don't let it worry you too much and keep on driving. If you don't use it - you lose it (your confidence, I mean.)

Pat said...

Judy: my spacial perception in general is not what it was. When the dust has settled I'll think long and hard.
Driving seems to be my Achilles' heel now. That and apostrophes:)

Mage said...

We love listening.

Yes, please don't give up driving. Why? You will lose more than you will gain if you do. If you think you are unsafe behind the wheel, get yourself evaluated at a driving school or have a younger expert drive with you. Here we have senior driving schools. You might look for one of those too.

Me? Back behind the wheel happily unless I discover I left my drivers license in my swim bag. LOL

rosneath said...

exactly what we're here for. plus, wing mirrors are horrors at all times and much more sticky-out than one thinks ... I'm always knocking them into things.

regardless of the situation, drivers should not open their doors when they can see on-coming traffic, the traffic has right of way and if there is something coming the other way, it's a recipe for disaster ... sounds as if the driver makes a habit of it if it had happened before!

everything can be mended though!

lom said...

That's just what I was going to say, 'That's what we are here for' moan away, we will always listen :D

I can't give much advice about driving I don't drive, I can, but I have never past the test. hubby says I am far to dangerous! I am sure i don't know what he means :D

Marjolein said...

I've had things like that a few times too. The thing is that unless you keep driving you'll lose the feel of how wide and long your car is. It's easier when you keep up driving - but at the same time I can completely understand why you don't enjoy driving any more.

John Greenwood said...

Keep driving, and keep venting your emotions to your many blogger friends who you know will listen. xx

Rog said...

I like the idea of "walking to the chipopodist".

I'm thinking of eating my way to the dentist....

Well done on defusing a possible confrontation with your charm and openness.

Granny Annie said...

I don't like the way the crowd assumed you were going to try to get away with something. Bless you for remaining calm and letting them take a little time to absorb the fact that you were a good person.

I have done the majority of the driving for the past two years because of Ron's illness. My driving record is good and yet the other day I found myself going the wrong direction on a one-way street. It was in a very familiar area for me so there was no excuse. Thankfully no one was on the street coming toward me.

Chef Files said...

My first thought is that you are okay and none the worse for wear after your misadventure. My second thought is that both men and women when they reach a certain age should surrender their licences and travel safely by bus.

A suitable age for a man would be 75, whilst ladies should be heading for the bus stop at the age of 22. Of course you will agree with me dear lady, eh?

AndrewM said...

If you want to stop, stop. But ever starting again will be very hard.

OldLady Of The Hills said...

Indeed, do keep sharing with all of us....I guess I am going to be the lone dissenter...One must know when it is time to stop driving....It's not a sin. It is not a really terrible terrible thing----It us just a fact of our lives, at a certain point.
I was a very good driver and always enjoyed driving very very much. Because of a BAD right hip, and other obvious differences, I found it more and more dangerous for me to be behind the wheel. Dangerous for everyone, including me. I stopped driving. It is an adjustment, for sure, my dear Pat. It is the loss of a certain independence, BUT, better to lose that than the possibility of other much more serious losses of life and limb. I wasn't happy about this loss of independence, but I knew, in my heart, I was no longer the really good driver I had once been, and that I could no longer count on myself being in control of the car, as I had been from the age of 16...!
As you pointed out to me recently, we are not as young as we used to be. Things happen. And no one can really know about these things till they get there. You need to do what's right for you, my dear Pat, no matter what any of us say. And you will know, my dear...I know you will. Keep sharing and venting, dear Pat---that is what makes blogging the wonderful thing it is....!

Z said...

Darling, the day will come when you feel it's right to give up driving. I know that when you had a bump before, you took a few lessons to restore your confidence, but now of course you're feeling uncertain again.

I know people who have carried on driving when they were unsafe to do so (which I'm sure you are not) because they were determined not to lose their independence. But there are taxis and, when you consider the cost of running a car, having a local taxi driver you like whom you can call on won't cost more. You'd lose some spontaneity though, and would you feel as if you'd moved into a different age bracket?

Can you ask your frankest friend for an opinion? And I suppose you drove home again afterwards? - so good for you, it was very brave and you've broken the ice, so it'll be a true choice and not one imposed on you.

Nea said...

Here's a big internet bear hug for you.
XOX
Just glad you're still in one piece. You dealt with it brilliantly.
Don't worry about the driving or the car for now. Wait a few days and see how you feel.
I think you very brave to have driven on the roads of England at anytime during the past few years, they're so crowded now, they terrify me.
PS the MOTH here said exactly the same as Rosneath & we all agree.
xxx

maurcheen said...

Lots of good listeners in blogville, so keep talking. :¬)

xxx

angryparsnip said...

Awwwwwwwwww, glad you posted and I know all your blog friends love to listen.
Very happy to know your ok and a bump can't be that bad.

For me, if you don't enjoy driving anymore then don't do it. Why do something that doesn't make you happy ? Plus having a car is expensive.

If I stop driving I will hire the best looking man to drive me around while I sit in the back like a Queen ! hahahahahahaha

cheers, parsnip

Mike and Ann said...

Hello Pat. The really important thing is that nobody was hurt. As for carrying on driving - a friend of ours a few years ago - an intelligent and perceptive woman, as I know you to be, when she hit eighty five, sat down and did her sums to find out what her car was costing her to keep on the roads. When she'd included EVERYTHING (including the depreciating value of a 'good' car, found to her surprise that the bill came to eighty pounds per week ! She sold her car, and whenever she wants to go anywhere picks up her 'phone and orders a taxi. All this is what Z suggests, and I think she is right. But I also think you will know when that time has come for you.

Above all - please keep writing about it.

Pat said...

Mage: I did the refresher driving school a couple of years ago. He thought I was a good safe driver and even had me overtaking on the motorway!!!!
I won't decide anything in a hurry I promise.

Rosneath: comforting words. If only I had had my camera with me at least I would have seen what her damage was.

LOM: there's a lot to be said for being a non driver - especially if you are quite mobile.

Marjolein: the car is now being fixed by the garage and after a lengthy talk with the insurance co I can let them get on with it.

John: yes I'll keep on venting at least:)

Pat said...

Rog: I hope the defusing stays put.

Granny Annie: concentration wanders- what can I tell you. Just be careful - wing mirrors are expendable - you are not.

Chef: you do deserve a medal for raiding a grin yesterday.
I won't be around but just remember young man when you are 75 and get one of the boys to ferry you around.

AndrewM: point taken.

Naomi: You know what I'm talking about. I wonder how long it took you to make the decision. I need more time but the big bills start next year and as one of the sons said you'd have to take a lot of taxis to use up the money spent on running a car.

Pat said...

Z: good sense as always. Yes I did drive back home. I'm going to ask the garage who have nursed the car since birth - what it is worth and give the financial side some thought.

Pat said...

Nea: nice to know you are on my side.
I have time to come to - hopefully the right decision.

Maurcheen: try stopping me:)

Parsnip: got it in one. What I need is a chauffeur. I'm liking the idea.

Mike and Ann: the sums are a very good idea and I'm starting by getting the garage to estimate the car's worth.

Exile on Pain Street said...

Good heavens! What a harrowing tale! Thank goodness everyone is okay. Glad you see this place as a refuge where you can unload any unpleasantness. Cheaper than therapy!

Ms Scarlet said...

Walking is very good exercise. Now please excuse me whilst I slap Mr Files....
Sx

Pat said...

Exile: it wasn't that bad - as long as people stick to the truth.
Doesn't everybody see blog land as a refuge? Although I suppose my refuge was MTL.

Pat said...

MScarlet: I so agree and it seems to me the fact that I can walk quite well is much more important than being able to drive.
It's becoming a rarity in Minehead.
This is much more a case of use it or lose it IMO.
I think a pat rather than a slap - he does make me laugh.

Chef Files said...

Pat, for you hen, I'd drive you around myself just to listen to you recite all the tales of your fascinating life. We would stop for cream teas and fresh Devon scones with real butter and strawberry jam. I would insist on a silver teapot and real leaves, not the dust they put into bags these days. For entertainment we could drive over to the rough end of town, stop outside Scarlet's house and throw rocks at her windies and laugh merrily at her dusty net curtain swags.

Shall we say around 9.30am tomorrow my dear? I'll wear a tie and you may sit in the back and address me as 'James' when your pals go by.

maurcheen said...

Pat, dontcha know it'll be meself that'll still be ferrying the Chef to & fro the local bars when he reaches the grand old age of 75! :¬)

xxx

Ms Scarlet said...

I'll have my swimming pool drainage pump ready for Mr Files to borrow. I also have a handy plastic bucket :-)
Sx

Pat said...

Maurcheen; of course you will:)

Chef: change of plan: I'm not free until 6pm but then it would be lovely if you could pick me up thereafter and drop me at the Wellington Inn. And then if you would be so kind as to collect me at 8.30pm and take me home where you would be welcome for a quick cocoa. Maybe you could do Scarlet's windies in the interim.
The drive to Devon will have to go on hold pro tem.

Pat said...

Scarlet: that's thoughtful of you.
He'll need the bucket for the windies but how will he utilise the
drainage pump?

Ms Quotes said...

Read his current post, Pat, it's really funny.
Sx

Ms Quotes said...

P.S Apologies for name changes... my iPad is going into meltdown when I switch profiles.
Qx and Sx!!

Chef Files said...

It's a date Pat, I'm already polishing my shoes in anticipation. The two of us away out for a swally and then back to yours for cocoa. I can hardly say no to such an honour eh, hen?

Menfolk... eat your hearts out.

As for the pump, Scarls, I know just where I am going to put it.

GYPSYWOMAN said...

oh, dear pat...listen to your own heart/mind...no one knows you better than you - just so glad all is well and ended well - and about that unburdening etc etc - it's never a burden when a friend shares their life with you...whether in the virtual world...or that other one.. :) xxx

Mage said...

Why? Because here I would love my freedom. If you are uncomfortable behind the wheel, even after getting checked out, stop driving.

Here I can get to none of my local stops without a two hour bus ride. In a car I am there in moments. For me, it's freedom.

Pat said...

Gypsy and Mage: somewhat calmer I have decided to continue driving and hope to gradually get back my confidence and delay making a
decision for the future until next year before the car bills come in.

About Last Weekend said...

I agree with everyone here - don't give up on driving. Otherwise you may end up going out less. I know there are taxis but they don't always arrive very promptly and it's another step to getting out. I came late to driving and have never really got a handle on the spatial awareness. Even worse for 11 years I've driven minivans which are like boats. Also I know what you mean about boohooing, I always do it after something shaking like that.

SDC said...

I personally think you are doing all the right things. You put it out there for public inspection on this blog and are considering all your options, taking what your readers have to say into account and really handling this quite well. I think anyway. It sounds like you do get out a lot, so no real issue of you becoming reclusive, and you also drive once a week, just to keep your hand in. And I believe that you are the kind of person who would give it up if you believe that you are becoming a danger to yourself or anyone else. All in all, a well balanced woman :o)

Pat said...

ALW: The wing mirror is repaired and I feel ready to start again. I will be interesting to hear what the other driver has to say.

SDC: I do hope you are right in your conclusion and thank you for your kind words.