Saturday, 3 August 2013

Driving Ms. Daisy

We thought driving in back country Iceland was challenging! Trying to navigate roundabouts, with a stick shift, while driving on the left hand side of the road was a whole new adventure in and of itself. I can read a map and give directions not too badly when they consist of; turn left at the stop or take the next exit.  But, when entering a roundabout with confusing signage, I’m at a loss! It just so happens that the roundabout at the end of our street is the second busiest roundabout in the country – go figure! So, another woman has been welcomed into the family, Garmin, she has a lovely British accent and tells Mark where to go – politely that is!

Our new wheels, notice that Mark is sitting on 'my' side!
I should be at ease now, right? I don’t have to navigate the map, interpret roundabout signs or panic when I don’t know the answer to Mark’s last minute direction questions.  All I really have to do is make sure we are still driving on the left hand side of the road and count the exits on the roundabouts. Easy peasy - right? NO…It is tricky counting exits, especially, when we are to take the 6th one! SIX – do they really need that many roads merging together in one roundabout? I guess I shouldn’t complain, Mark says Paris is worse! Luckily, I have discovered that if we miss the 6th exit, well, we just keep going around, and have another go at it! Mark has equated UK driving to mini-cart racing at the fair.  Everyone is squished into little tiny cars, driving very fast, around and around and around!

Although Mark is getting more accustomed to the driving here, we have had more laughs about it than any other topic I think, so far.  He has tried to jump into the passenger seat so many times that it doesn’t even phase me when he is about to plant his behind on my lap. I found it quite hilarious to watch him try to find the ignition while in my seat…it took him a bit to realize that the whole dashboard and steering wheel were also missing! The biggest challenge for Mark is sticking to the left.  We haven’t caused any accidents yet but that may have been just lucky.  There was a near, morning dove, fatality earlier today.  Mark is concentrating so hard to drive on the left hand side of the road that I am close to being in the ditch most of the time.  Instead of reminding him AGAIN, I have decided to lean towards the right and hope that somehow my leaning will move the car back to the centre of the lane.  Kind of like when Dad would put on the brakes in the passenger seat when learning to drive.  The leaning doesn’t always work and besides the morning dove incident…we have also bounced off a curb or two – sorry rental car company!  What is a little feathers and a scuff or two on the tires, right? We didn’t drive through any rivers, at least, and we still have our license plate, as far as I know.

Just a reminder in case we forgot!

I was really hoping the leaning thing would work a little better than it has, otherwise, I’ll have to resort to commenting on Mark’s driving - only to have him say - would you like to drive?  And that…I definitely do not want to do.  After Mark’s announcement today – I am now, plum out of excuses.  While I have enjoyed poking around in the shops, Mark has been car shopping (and everyone was worried about me blowing the budget on this trip). Today he came home announcing that we had bought a vehicle and… wait for it… they added me on as a secondary driver, for FREE.  Now, let me make myself clear, there is going to be nothing FREE about me driving in the UK!  I’ll cause an accident, wreck the car and lord knows what other damage I am capable of causing if I drive here…I can guarantee… IT WILL NOT BE FREE!!! Maybe we could just walk to Scotland, France, Italy and the rest of Western Europe, just think of the money we could save!
See how shiny and new it is, let's keep it that way!
Clearly, I need your help to convince Mark that me driving, is a very bad idea.  If you want to continue reading about our adventures and see us return home safely, then we cannot spend our life’s savings on car repairs and ugly lawsuits.  I must be kept off the roads at all costs.  All in favour of Lisa NOT driving in the UK (or ever in the next year), please cast your vote here.

It even comes with a shoulder strap sunroof!


  1. I feel for you, Lisa! I'd be lost driving over there. Fingers crossed there are not dings in the new car. And I vote that Mark should be the driver (sorry, Mark)!
    Glad you're all having so much fun!

  2. Too funny, We vote for Mark to drive!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Lisa, we've been loving your posts. Keep them up.
    When we moved to Australia (also wrong-sided drivers), I slowly learned to drive one block/ round-about at a time. After 2 weeks, Sarah decided she should probably sit behind the wheel. This resulted in two cars being totaled, on road being shut down, 4 firemen and 2 ambulance drivers having a few snags (Aussie sausages - the neighbours brought out a BBQ) three whiplashes and many calls to the insurance company; "Look mate we know what you intended, so don't worry, we'll cover the costs"... what? really? but we weren't insured!???
    Hope everything works out.

    1. Oh my, Tom! I'm putting this down as another vote in my favour. So far it looks like Mark will continue to be driving the girls and I around - he told me I should have called the post Driving Ms. 'Lazy'! I responded, I'm not lazy, just very smart! Glad you are enjoying the posts!

  4. Stay calm and carry the passenger seat, Lisa!!


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