allana: (I demand euphoria!)
My cloudy start was Lucas waking me up at just before 5am. Ouch. My eyes feel like they need propping open. Still, he's sick so I can't complain too much. The day did brighten up when I crawled out of bed for a second time....

I have lost 50lbs!!

I rejoined Weight Watchers last week, having been on it for about three months before I got pregnant, and when I hopped on the scales this morning I'd lost six pounds which brings me to a total loss of 50 pounds exactly :D My BMI has dropped by 9 points since I started which is awesome.

In other news, I drove us to Holey Skin this morning to get a check-up. This is a really big thing for me as it involved driving on the M32. I've never done a motorway alone before, and was really scared about the prospect of doing that and then two huge and complicated roundabouts at the other end. It all went really well, though. I don't think I'm quite ready to zoom off to Reading or London yet, but I'm more optimistic that I will one day.

Anyway.... my arm is healing up nicely and I'm booked in for next Monday to have it completed. Now I just have to find a babysitter ;)

All in all, it's been a bloody fantastic day so far!
allana: (Garfield: need coffee)
I'm tired. Knackered in fact.

I was ready to have a nap after my driving lesson this morning, but then the gas man turned up far earlier than I expected and since I spent the 2.5 hours he was here chatting to him... still no nap. Then I promptly forgot I was tired and offered to do a couple of hours of babysitting for a friend only to discover 3/4 of the way home that I was dangerously tired. *sigh*

Still, it's been a good day. The boiler hasn't been condemned--my chattiness with the engineer also provided a nice free part and miscellaneous repairs--and I've had fun rolling around on the floor for the rest of the afternoon playing with Skye. I'm sure I'll be picking cat hair out of my hair for days, but it was worth it to see her walking around the room. (Even better, she's learned that Ang's glasses aren't hers. No longer does she steal them and wave them over her head like Lucy the Monkey at the petshop :P)

I think I'll go have some caffeine....
allana: (driving)
I might as well rename this blog: "Road Diaries." Currently all I seem to be talking about is driving.

Anyway.

I was reminded today that just because I've passed my driving test--did I ever mention that I only had four minor faults? You can have a maximum of 15. Get 16 and you've failed--I'm not a good driver. I'm a fairly safe driver and I certainly observe more stuff than other drivers, but I'm not good or confident yet.

This morning, while trying to manoevre into a position where I could park between two cars at the supermarket (something I always avoid), I got beeped and gesticulated at by a driver waiting behind me. He had plenty of room to pull past and I really wish he had. I got upset and my confidence evaporated, so I pulled away, found a spot which was deserted and wailed at Dave on the phone. You'd think people would be a bit more considerate of cars bearing P-plates; they're not there for decoration, regardless of how pretty the green is.

The upshot of this is that I'm going to take some extra lessons next week in my own car to correct the gaps in my skillbase. Tuition for driving tests covers a lot, but it doesn't cover basic things like:

parking (reverse and forwards) in a bay
reverse parking on the 'wrong' side of the road or between two vehicles
pulling in on the wrong side of the road.

I need to be able to whip the car into a parking space anywhere. I can't drive in circles waiting for something 'easy' to open up and we only ever did 'easy' in my previous lessons and tests.

While I'm splashing money around I'm also going to take a motorway driving lesson so that I'll be confident enough to get myself to the hospital if needs be, and also so that I can share the driving when we go off on our Devon break.
allana: (driving)
I have the car!

And she's still lovely, which is a relief as I had a mini-meltdown today and convinced myself that we'd bought a white elephant. Dave had a quick drive in her after I managed to negotiate my way back to civilization--the garage really is in the arse-end of nowhere--and he approves of her, too :D

Now I just need to figure out where to go on my first proper drive by myself--following Dave home from the garage doesn't count. Going to the DIY shop just isn't exciting enough. I do, however, have Sally Satnav so theoretically I can go anywhere within the satellite's view....

(I will get round to photos eventually.)
allana: (driving)
So... this afternoon Dave bought me a car!!

I'm a bit flummoxed. I never expected to find anything so soon or for it to be so nice.

Dave's brother and his partner have been on the look-out for a suitable Ang-mobile--in their capacity as motoring gods--since I passed my test and today they spotted a little gem hidden away in a dealers yard. It's a '97 1.8L Ford Escort in a weird sort of lilac/silver metallic blue--should be easy enough to spot in a supermarket car park :P There's plenty of room for me, Speck, pushchair and shopping but it's still smaller than Dave's Alfa and will be far easier to reverse as there's no spoiler and I can easily tell where the end of the car is. There's air-con, too, which was a big consideration for me as I couldn't in good conscience drive Speck around in a baking hot car in the summer.

We went over to the garage this afternoon and after we'd established that my legs really were long enough to reach the pedals, I went out for a test drive. She drives really nicely: very responsive throttle, as are the brakes--even if it is weird to not have to push down on the brakes much--and the gearbox is smooth. Oh, manual gearbox as I'm determined not to lose my skills by going straight into driving automatics for the rest of my life. Dave reckons that after two years of driving a manual I should be able to swap between manual and automatic without deteriorating.

I am thrilled, bouncy and just over the moon. I have a reasonable amount of access to Dave's car--and more if I were to wake up early and drive him into work--but the convenience of being able to drive myself to the doctor's etc. without any elaborate arrangements (or rush hour traffic) just can't be beaten.

*bounce bounce bounce*

Dave bought me a car!! He's the loveliest man ever (and I'd quite happily wrestle any challengers).

(Photos when we actually get it home. I'm too lazy to traipse upstairs and photoshop the dealer photo :P)
allana: (trifle!)
I've just done my first solo-with-car trip to the supermarket. I managed to park neatly there and outside the house, too, so I'm very proud of myself.

My trip was in aid of making a summery trifle for Chris and Vicky's 10th anniversary party on Saturday. After much debate and discussion with my fellow trifle-lovers [livejournal.com profile] glammetalkitten and [livejournal.com profile] rockfic, I'm going to do layers of lemon curd, custard, booze-soaked cake, blueberry/raspberry/strawberry and finish off with a mound of whipped cream on top.

If I had any energy or nerves left, I'd go make the lemon curd just now while Dave's out babysitting. (Our almost-niece was wide-awake and determined not to sleep when we arrived earlier on and she's still awake and demanding more stories and songs from Dave five hours later. He won't be eating any dinner at this rate.)

Trifle preparation shall commence bright and early tomorrow morning, I think. Must remember to get Dave to lift down the bowl....
allana: (driving)
Through the miracles of modern technology, I am now insured to drive our car. (Amusingly, as our policy has now become a driver and spouse policy, it doesn't cost any extra for me to be named. In fact, Dave gets a £5 rebate :P Apparently I make him a safer driver or somesuch.)

Anyway.

Last night I drove us to the cinema. Only a few miles, but plenty of fun roundabouts--I remember how big a deal it was when I first drove round one of those!--high speed roads, and streets lined with parked cars. This morning I drove us to the midwife's and back again during the school run, so that was fun.

I've also learnt that a car is not just a car. Our Alfa is a lot bigger and heavier than the Renault I'm used to driving. So, more foot to the brakes and so forth. It's wider, too, so I need to watch my verges and clearance. It's also weird to be using a semi-automatic gearbox instead of a manual and pushing forward only to go up a gear, and pulling back to go down. I find myself forgetting and trying to go across and up occasionally.

(POTC2 was okay. Far too long, though. The effects were great, Scruffy Norrington was nice, I loved Davey Jones' face, but the plot left a bit to be desired. We'll see how the third film ties stuff together, I suppose.)
allana: (snoopy dance)
I passed my driving test today!

Huzzah!

(I strongly suspect that I'm still in shock. I keep expecting the examiner to ring me and say that it's all been a terrible mistake.)
allana: (Default)
I failed.

But not horribly. Only eight faults, but, alas, I managed to get one serious and one dangerous fault. Both easily correctable if I manage to get a test date before the 9th of September in Reading. Aside from those two snafus, it was a really nice drive over what I'm told is a difficult test route.

I'm not upset. I'm incredibly proud of the way I held myself together and of the drive overall. So much better than my mock test (26 faults) and my first driving test almost a decade ago (22 faults). I know I can pass now.

ETA. Okay, now I'm upset. I can't get a test until mid-October.
allana: (hot day)
Well... my last driving lesson went pretty damn well!  On Monday I need to remember to be very obvious in my observation and I also need to mutter away to myself to keep my focus high.  I tend to flag towards the 1.5hr mark, and by the end of the test I'll have been driving for about that length of time.  Bach Rescue Remedy seems to be helpful--I wish I'd thought about taking some when I was so stressed last week--so I'll take that and some breath mints along with me.  I'd hate to fail for having a miniscule amount of alcohol on my breath ;)

So, now I'm all excited about taking my test!! (I really hope that I get parallel parking and turn in the road--reversing around a corner is still a little too variable for my liking, although the last one I did was fab.)
allana: (muttley)
Scroll down to "Get drunk, stay drunk". Highly amusing.

In other news, there isn't much news. I've fallen head first into The Faculty fandom once again, and since I'm still lazily back-stroking through the delicious waters of Zeke/Casey fic, I'm unlikely to be getting out any time soon. I'm editing a ficlet between chucking neatly packing books in boxes. So much for not writing till I'm done moving :P

Tomorrow I have what I hope will be my last driving lesson ever. Test on Monday afternoon *wobbles*.
allana: (Default)
Driving went very well today!  That's two weeks in a row.  A new record for me.

The only down side is that Sarah is now on holiday for two weeks, and I'm sure I'll have forgotten lots and lots by the time I next get behind the wheel.  I'll have to unearth some driving games and practice on those :)  Now if only there was a game where you could practice reversing around a corner....

I have a new bunny, which is all [livejournal.com profile] evaine's fault.  It's a very sad and eerie James/Lars bunny.  This latest profusion of bunnies is a clear sign of last-chapter-itis--I'm doing everything possible to avoid writing the last chapter of my current WIP.  As per usual.  I also have a bunch of stories to beta.  Back to the grind, I guess....

w00t!

Jun. 29th, 2005 12:11 pm
allana: (Garfield: need Pookie hugs)
I get to book my driving test :D

ETA. Okay, the Day of Doom is the 22nd of August, and the time is 1405. So, I should know my fate by 1500. Can we all start fattening up some sacrificial goats (or tofu) in preparation for this momentous occasion? It's almost bang on 10 years since my last test which either bodes well, or portends doom. I haven't decided yet....
allana: (bad day)
I failed my mock driving test :( It was a really horrible drive, all lumpy and nervous. I thought I'd managed to get over exam nerves? I'm now really worried that I won't pass before we move house. I think I'll curl up with a tub of ice-cream and try to cheer myself up.
allana: (Default)
After an... interesting driving lesson last week, today's was a complete joy! I only made one minor error and everything was nice and slick. I'm very, very happy. Looking far ahead, preparing early for manoeuvres/obstacles, and rolling the car has made a massive difference to the way I drive. I have more thinking time when approaching tricky things like mini-roundabouts which makes me feel more able of tackling them, and also lets me sort through the road positioning and signals of cars on my right, which is what I have the most issues with. Regular roundabouts are fine but mini ones are more difficult as you automatically have less thinking time.

I also got to zip along a piece of road that I've wanted to try for ages. It's got nice long stretches of 60mph between large roundabouts, so I stuck my foot down and flew. Um, I now like speed. Which is a bit of a turnaround. I remember refusing to go above 20mph for quite a few lessons! Still, the zippy acceleration stuck with me, and I now accelerate smartly away from lights, junctions and so forth. Plus, I can slip into 2nd from 5th with ease. I'm very, very happy about this. It's like I'm a completely different person as compared to last week's lesson.

Next week, I have a mock test. I hope I do as well as I did today.

I passed!

May. 9th, 2005 04:46 pm
allana: (Default)
With 34/35 on the theory (pass mark 30) and 53/75 on the hazard perception (pass mark 44). Yay me!!

The hazard perception clips turned out to be much shorter and less complex than the software package I was using to prepare with. I did over-click on one and thus scored zero points for it, and somehow managed to completely miss a major hazard on another one--I have no idea how I did that! I now have two years in which to pass my practical test before the theory pass expires. I have a feeling that Sarah will want me to book my test quite soon....

Despite the attempts of the office staff to brighten up the testing centre with bright clothes and vases of flowers, it's quite a dismal and intimidating place. The waiting room was full of pale, twitchy people, some of whom shook like a leaf as they walked to their computer stations...by the time they'd completed their tests, some were shaking even harder and others had finally brightened up. On my way out of the center, a great weeping and wailing started up behind me; a kid, I suppose barely 17, had failed her test for the third time running, and was screeching at her boyfriend that she never wanted to drive, and it was all his fault etc etc. This continued all the way to the ground floor, with everyone carefully keeping their faces blank. The poor sod was trying to say soothing things to her, but sadly for him, she only shrieked louder with each word he uttered. A shrewish wife in the making, I suspect.
allana: (Default)
I rock!!

Just had another driving lesson which was fabulous. We started off by driving along a tricky little road which starts as a single lane then turns into dual-lane traffic after a humpback bridge, segues into a hairpin bend, and after three further humpbacks (and more interesting bends) joins a B-road. Hugely fun from either direction and I didn't even flinch into oncoming traffic. Yay! Then we drove into the next town along and Sarah managed to find some roads which were completely new to me. Everything went incredibly well, even in heavy rain.

Next week we're going onto manoevers and then I'll just have to cover high speed roads and I'll be ready for my test! I'd better book a theory test and start revising properly for that....

My eyes are improving, well, the left eye is. The right eye is more or less the same, but the cataract is slightly increased in size. I'm going to go to the opticians and get a more powerful lens for that eye which should improve matters.

And in further good news, my Amazon order has turned up earlier than expected. I'll be curling up on the couch this afternoon with a stack of books and some music in the background!
allana: (Default)
Just back from lesson two :D I'm thoroughly enjoying it and I seem to be doing well according to Sarah. Yay! I can move off v.smoothly and stop pretty smoothly too. I still hate the brakes on her car, but I'm getting used to them. Changing gears is just fine too, and I can control the car well. Next week I get to go out onto the main road (complete with buses!) and practice turning left and emerging left. I think I'm going to buy a training CD for the theory test that includes hazard perception footage and try to get the theory test out of the way before March.... I'm beginning to think that I might turn into a half-decent driver.

In other news, my hands are almost normal now. They do get sore if I lift heavy stuff but I can live with that. Muses are still AWOL but I'm taking the opportunity to catch up on my reading!

I survived

Feb. 2nd, 2005 11:25 am
allana: (Default)
Just had my first driving lesson and I survived. I'm impressed at how much I remembered and the instructor (Sarah) is absolutely lovely; very calm and inspires a lot of confidence. I do seem to recall doing more on my first lesson (all those years ago) but I wasn't a bundle of nerves back then. I can prepare to move off, check mirrors properly, still remember clutch control (although, the biting point in her car is really, really high up which was weird), and drive safely for a short distance (I guess 1/5 mile?) back to the house through very small and twisty roads. Hell, I even used indicators! I've booked another lesson for next Wednesday and I'm not feeling terrified at the prospect... I'm actually a little excited. I'm still marginally shocked at today's prices though: £24 per hour!!

So, now I need to go and look at the Highway Code and see how much I remember of that. Yay!
allana: (Lars)
At long last I've sent in an email enquiry about driving lessons. The company's website said nervous drivers welcome, and I definitely fit that category. I'm less than happy with the idea of learning to drive, especially in England. Traffic is crazy here; every day I see appallingly bad driving leading to near-misses and Dave sees at least six crashes a week on the motorway whilst driving to work. This doesn't inspire confidence. I have zero confidence in my vision either, despite being told on Friday that I'm perfectly safe and legal for driving.

However, the longer I leave it, the harder it will get. Already they've introduced yet another new element which wasn't there last year - in addition to the theory/hazard test, you will now be asked at your practical test to identify engine parts and also about car maintenance. Lovely. So, that'll be fun. On the plus side, there's a half-price deal for the first lesson when you book online; so I only need lose £12 to discover whether driving leaves me a nervous wreck or not....

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