Lorry Lessons for Ladies – Day 3

Today was a good day, a bad day, then a good day again!

Happy times with Grumpy the truck

My morning started really well. I drove smoothly and maintained good road position. We had to pick up a guy called Andy who was taking a re-test. He had a one hour lesson prior to his test, so I observed carefully as he drove really smoothly through the low bridges and complicated lane changes which comprise the Guildford one-way system.

“How you feeling?” Ray, the instructor, asked him.

“A bit nervous, to be honest with you,” he answered. “This is my fifth time! Although every time, it was other people who caused me to fail.”

“Was it really other people’s fault?” Ray countered. “You should never put yourself in a position where someone can do that to you. You can’t say, ‘He was going too fast. He pulled out without looking.’ You should be prepared.”

“it’s not my fault, guv!” – You should always be prepared for hazards.
Image Arriva436, CC BY 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

While Andy took Grumpy for his test, I had ninety minutes to get lunch in a café on the industrial estate. It should have helped to have had a chill, but my next session was really ragged!

Followed by a right royal cock up!

When I got back, I saw Andy. I didn’t dare ask, but he volunteered,

“I passed!”

I clapped him on the shoulder and said, “I’m so delighted for you!”

We all climbed back into Grumpy with me in the driver’s seat. I turned to Andy and said,

“Caution. Bird at the wheel.”

I must have jinxed myself, because then, I completely cocked up my start. For two full days, Mirror: Signal: Blind Spot: had been my mantra every time I moved off. This time, I put the truck in gear before turning the key, so it wouldn’t start, because it only starts in Neutral. Then, I forgot to indicate and check my blind spot, and forgot to release the brake.

At least I messed up in style!

“Don’t worry, we’ve all done it.” Andy said gently.

When I pulled out of the test centre, there was a lot going on with traffic coming from all directions. My observation went out of the window, and I had a close call with a van who whizzed around my outside as I was turning right on a roundabout. Automatically, I steered away from him and clipped the roundabout – instant fail. I was so cross with myself.

Mistakes are not failures if you learn from them. I would definitely not get my gears wrong, forget my checks, brake & indicator in my test!
Image by John Hain from Pixabay

After we dropped Andy back at his car near the test station, we had to get fuel.

“Do you want to go in a big garage or a little one?”

“I guess we should do a little one,” I replied. No point making it easy for myself.

After filling up with no tears in the small garage, we stopped again for a break at the test centre. I ate a Crunchie, which seems to help with the blood sugar (I’m not yet a proper trucker, so I don’t qualify for a Yorkie bar). Then I had a really positive session in the afternoon.

The corners of doom in Old Woking. The sharp left at the far end is the most difficult, but the road is very narrow, and the right turn you can see towards Send is also very tight. High Street, Old Woking by Stacey Harris, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons, cropped

I nailed the corners of doom in Old Woking, and the narrow winding lane through West Clandon, even though I met a large lorry coming the other way in the narrow bit at the Bull’s Head (which serves the best steak pie in Britain!) I had to mount the pavement deliberately to get past.

Bull’s Head, West Clandon. I mounted the kerb just by the Courage (cockerel) sign! Mark and I came here regularly for its fabulous steak pie!
Image by Colin Smith, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0&gt;, via Wikimedia Commons

Ray said, “It’s okay to mount the pavement, so long as you have the height (i.e. no trees) and you warn the examiner that you are going to do it and why.”

Grumpy was 12 feet high, so I had to drive and observe in three dimensions. Besides watching out for my length and width, I had to keep an eye out for low branches or other overhead obstructions.  

The Onslow Arms, West Clandon. Named after Lord Onslow of Clandon Park House. The Onslow was Mark’s local when he lived in West Clandon. We went there on some of our early dates. Famously, the landlord flew in the first Beaujolais Nouveau every year.
Image by Alan Hunt, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0&gt;, via Wikimedia Commons

I had to remind myself that it’s okay to stop rather than rolling into danger: something rarely required in a car. In general, cars don’t need to occupy the full width of a narrow road to manoeuvre.

And back to happy driving!

I knew what I had to do. I simply had to put it into practice. I needed to drive MUCH more slowly when manoeuvring to give myself time, and remember mirrors, mirrors, mirrors – every 5 to 10 seconds.

That is entirely within my own gift, and really would be a silly thing to fail on.

If I can just master those two things, I will have everything I need to pass.

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Published by Jacqueline Lambert @WorldWideWalkies

AD (After Dogs) - We retired early to tour Europe in a caravan with four dogs. "To boldly go where no van has gone before". Since 2021, we've been at large in a 24.5-tonne self-converted ex-army truck called The Beast. BC (Before Canines) - we had adventures on every continent other than Antarctica!

10 thoughts on “Lorry Lessons for Ladies – Day 3

  1. Of course, I know you passed now, but reading this was so interesting. There’s so much more to think about, isn’t there? Well done you! You should be really proud of yourself, Jackie! Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

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