Diary Of An ADI

A Driving Instructor's Blog

On a lesson tonight with a pupil. She’s only taking 1 hour at a time and not every week (a lot of late nights and hangovers resulting in cancellations). She’s been a slow learner, mainly because she is so negative about everything.

Today we were covering roundabouts (she hates doing manoeuvres), and we had to do a reverse around a corner to turn around and go back the opposite way. I asked her to do it, and she said “I don’t know what I’m doing”. After a few questions it became clear she knew exactly what to do. She got round perfectly, and then said “that’s the worst one I’ve ever done.”

The thing was, I’d just got goosepimples down my neck because it was the best one she’d ever done. It would easily have passed on the test. I told her so.

So we’re back on the roundabouts and everything is going pretty well. While we were stopped she said “I get worried when I’m on them and don’t know what I’m doing”. So I pointed out this is part of learning, and that she’s handling them better than many pupils, who often can’t stay in lane to begin with (all the correct confidence building stuff as well).

Now, I haven’t got a clue what happened, but all of a sudden – about 15 minutes before the end of the lesson, and ages after what I’ve described above – she went quiet. By now we’re just driving normally, having finished with the roundabouts, and she’d been chatting away happily. She’d done absolutely nothing wrong. I asked her what was the matter and she said “I’m concentrating”. This didn’t make sense – difficult to put into words, but knowing her and her tendency to just ‘fall asleep’, as the saying goes, it just didn’t. As we drove further I knew something was seriously the matter. I ended up having to change gears and brake at lights/junctions for her. The lesson was effectively over and I just had to make sure we didn’t hit anything: at one point near to her house I thought she was deliberately trying to!

When we got close to home she said she wanted to stop short to go to a friend’s house. She couldn’t get out of the car quick enough because she was nearly in tears.

She’s done this once before (something had happened in her private life but she wouldn’t say what), but it just ruins your day. You start wondering if it is something you’ve said or done! She assured me it wasn’t (last time, and this one) but she won’t tell me what it was that just triggered it without anything obvious taking place.

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Another test today, and another pass – that’s six on the trot – with just 4 driver faults. Well done to CP, and I hope you get that car by Christmas as you said.

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I also heard on the radio that they’re holding a world-record attempt in the City’s Market Square this afternoon to get as many people dressed up as zombies together in one place as possible.

They should have thought this one through better. If they’d have held it in Stapleford (classy: lots of pairs of trainers thrown over the phone lines) they’d have been guaranteed to smash the record just by announcing it – and it would have been real zombies, not just fancy dress.

I was driving through Stapleford town centre last week with a pupil when we had to stop. Someone had cleverly removed a set of barriers around building work on the pavement and reassembled them in the middle of the road. Oh, how funny it was. How we all laughed… especially the Police car which came roaring through on a call, where the Policeman had to get out and throw them out of the way before they could continue.

This is in addition to the time a few months ago when the same birth defects were running into the middle of the road to force cars to stop. Or the time a few weeks later when other defects – about 18 years old, so probably the parents of the younger defects responsible for the barriers – were having a fight outside the pub to impress the girls (and they did seem to be impressed, it must be said).

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On the way back from a lesson today I was listening to the radio. Today’s Big News is that drinking alcohol during pregnancy may lead to children who are less naughty and less likely to suffer from ADHD, etc.

Of course, this story flies in the face of the one a few months ago, which concluded that even walking within 100 metres of a pub any time during pregnancy could result in miscarriage and global warming.

Once again, it was left to a ‘man in the street’ to enlighten us on this:

Well, I drank while I was carrying both of mine and it didn’t have any effect.

I think it’s safe to say that this woman’s mother must have alternated between alcoholism and teetotalism, handled Uranium, drilled into asbestos-laden walls, used hard drugs, mud-wrestled, smoked, eaten bacon, drank coffee/Red Bull/Diet Cola, used artifical sweeteners, etc. whilst carrying her.

But obviously, it had no effect.

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After that run of passes a couple of weeks ago I haven’t had anyone go to test until today. So congratulations to NP for passing with 3 faults. He was well chuffed on the way back – happy ex-pupils are what makes this job really worthwhile.

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This has been covered in the media recently. It goes without saying that both of them are a pair of pillocks, as are the entire studio crew (who can be heard laughing in the background), and the people who allowed it to be broadcast – seeing as it had been pre-recorded and anyone even slightly interested in keeping within Corporation Boundaries would have listened to it before approving it.

But yesterday between lessons I was listening to the radio – before news of JR’s suspension had been announced. In typical local radio fashion, they were interviewing the ‘man in the street’ to get their opinion. One woman said (paraphrased):

I can’t see what all the fuss is about. This is what Russell Brand does. It is comedy.

In less than 10 seconds, this idiot used her own mouth to demonstrate precisely why this crap – which absolutely, definitely, without any shadow of a doubt was unacceptable in the most universal sense of the word – was broadcast.

For anyone who has been living on the moon the last week or so, Ross and Brand made an on-air prank call to a 78-year old actor announcing that Brand had slept with his granddaughter. As you can imagine, it was couched in crude terms.

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Listening to the news whilst travelling this morning, and heard that the comments by the Governor of The Bank Of England saying that we’re ‘heading into a recession’ had caused share prices to plunge.

Why is this imbecile allowed to get away with it?

A recession is caused – at least in large part – when traders start getting worried and the stock market crashes. After the Governments around the world have tried to bolster the various economies by injecting huge sums of cash, what does anyone expect will happen as soon as some Hooray Henry in a top job opens his idiot mouth like this?

Every time someone reports a recession is on the way the markets crash. As soon as they shut up, shares start to rise and retail prices start to fall. Surely the morons have realised this by now?

Or maybe they HAVE realised it and are merely trying to make a name for themselves to show off to their wives… “Look at this, dear! I caused this. Now, let’s get in the Bentley and be driven to Harrods to buy a few more Fabergé Eggs while no one else is buying them”.

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Well, it started off pretty poorly with a test fail on Monday morning. But then there were two passes Tuesday (well done CH, with 7 faults, and ZIK with 3 faults).

Had another pass Wednesday – well done PT, with 3 faults.

And perhaps the best one on Friday – well done NW, also with 3 faults. However, NW had never driven before and got to test standard in under 30 hours.

So 4 passes out of 5 tests for the week. Can’t be bad.

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Went to see these last night, and what a difference in the level of professionalism compared to Dragonforce last week.

Having seen them a couple of years ago when Paul Rodgers first joined them I wasn’t expecting that much. Back then, the show seemed a bit dis-jointed, you almost needed oxygen where we were sat, and they brought bloody Peter Kaye on at one stage (a man who is to comedy what Saddam Hussein was to democarcy in Iraq). Rodgers has a great voice and he fits in quite well, with just enough campness to convince you he isn’t trying to replace Freddie Mercury but do tribute to him.

But last night was a revelation. The set was polished and the band seemed much more comfortable. They focused on the more recent classic singles instead of the original ones, and played some of their new stuff. I do like the way Rodgers makes himself scarce at certain times to let the original members take the limelight.

Brian May revealed that Freddie’s mother and family were in the audience.

One of the more obscure songs they covered was 39 from A Night At The Opera, and the way they did it was very impressive. They have a long walkway down the middle of the floor extending away from the main stage, and May began acoustically on a stool at the end of this. They then added other band members (plenty of audience participation). This led into other songs, then Taylor with his own spot (drum solo, a couple of songs, and so on). The whole band had relocated to middle of the arena for maybe half an hour.

All in all, this was an excellent show.

Irritations? Well, going to a Queen gig is embarrassing if only for the average age of the crowd. I was winding my mate up by pointing out the oldness, and that any of the young ones he kept pointing out were probably carers. Inside, I must say that this was one of the tallest crowds I’ve ever seen. Usually I can see easily being over 6 feet tall, but I was not on my own this time. I explained to my mate that the kind of people who go to this sort of gig are either old or suffering from growth hormone problems (probably bullied at school, too).

Most annoying thing? The jackass in front of me who videoed the whole of the first 30 minutes on his bloody mobile phone (arm in the air). He then recorded other long portions throughout the night. He seems particularly impressed by the sparkly backscreen display (I’m sure he’ll be really annoyed when he sees how over exposed it was when he looks at it today). Mind you, they were all at it: concert organisers will have to get this sorted. Paying 50 quid to stand looking at people with their arms in the air all night is not on.

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Well, last week I went to see these after having been impressed by their latest single on the satellite music channels. It was OK, but not brilliant.

There didn’t seem to be as much variation as you’d expect from a band which wants to be around for a long time, and the two guitarists – although undoubtedly very good – just wanted to showboat most of the time. Playing with their fingers over the top of the fretboard in just about every song, and that kind of thing. Mind you, the audience seemed to want that sort of thing and lapped it up.

The singer has a good voice and if they could get over themselves they have the potential to be a very good rock band.

The keyboard player is a complete prat and offered nothing to the band other than making them look childish. Where I was standing he was partially hidden and until I moved slightly at the start I didn’t realise what he was doing. First couple of tracks he was playing and jumping up and down at the same time. And I mean just standing there and jumping up and down as high as he could. As soon as he got the chance he was down the front with the hand-held keyboard, racing up and down the stage like the guitarists. And every chance he got thereafter he was down again. Bearing in mind the band has about 10 members (well, six) it was pretty crowded at this small venue at times.

I lost count of the number of guitar picks they threw out to the audience. At one point they were just pulling them off their guitar necks and throwing them out in handfuls. Again, showboating.

But it was entertaining. Good to see this sort of stuff, even if only once.

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