Friday, March 2, 2012

Driving the wrong way

Kitty was pretty annoyed at this sign. There was no elephant here. LIARS!

We drove from Glasgow to Leven to pick up Mark's mom and head to the Highlands for 3 days. Mark knows that I love driving and so offered me the chance to test my driving skills by doing it on the wrong side of the road. Yes dear Brits, you do many things quite right as a nation but building a road system is not one of them.

It went something like this- Okay, I got this. Put the car into gear and drive slowly on a road marked 70 mph because it is the width of a parking space and huge buses are bearing down on me and praise me for not screaming in terror at the delivery truck drivers who like to straddle the center line on curvy roads that give you no way to see what's coming at you at 70 mph until they are 3 meters ahead of me. I struggle with the gear box because even though I drive a manual at home I don't shift with my left hand, which is the WRONG hand. Manage to get the car into gear, blood pressure drops until I see yet another g$*d*&@ed round about which has no stop sign at eye level to tell you to stop but merely a few lines painted on the road. Stop, think its clear and enter the roundabout to the panicked screams of Mark shouting "LOOK RIGHT NOT LEFT!". Manage to get through the roundabout without hitting anything but miss the road I wanted because I can't get left in time. Keep on the roundabout, find the correct road and repeat the terrifying game of chicken with the trucks. Try to decipher road signs which only have mysterious symbols on them, not useful text or anything of the sort.Get the car into 5th gear after only 3 tries and drive on the tiny, windy road. Curse the lack of an automatic transmission. Oh look, another roundabout. Pull off into a parking lot and tell Mark I am never driving a manual transmission in the UK again. Mark makes the mistake of letting me know that an automatic transmission is an upgrade at the car rental place. I have no words at this point but just stare at him. He decides to drive the rest of the way. I really do think it was short sighted to give me 2 separate challenges at once.

We had more fun once in the Highlands with the rental car. If you are in the market for a new vehicle I have to say the Vauxhall Meriva should be your last choice if you live anywhere with more than a 5 degree slope. It does 0 to 60 in about a week. There were several times we were wondering if we would be going up the hills or sliding down.

And that is how I- the person who loves nothing more than driving on new roads in new places, came to spend 2 weeks only driving a combined time of 15 minutes. Thank goodness the Brits DO have an awesome public transportation system and thanks to Mark who hates to drive but did it for me anyway and not once teased me about my inability to shift left handed.


  1. Haha.."Changed Priorities Ahead" I need to put that sign up in my office at work..

    They all know I'm planning the sailing trip.

  2. Love that sign! And my blood pressure went up just reading that missive. No thank you, I'll take the bus.