Greg Bray, columnist for the Gladstone Observer. Photo Brenda Strong/The Observer
Greg Bray, columnist for the Gladstone Observer. Photo Brenda Strong/The Observer Brenda Strong GLA170212GREG

The tough road of learning to drive

A COUPLE of weeks ago I wrote about the littlest princess turning 16, and how it bought back memories of my own sixteenth birthday; some of them good.

Anyway, this week the adventure continues as the little monster has passed her learner's test and started working her way through the million and a half hours driving time required before she can apply for her provisional licence.

After sharing my first, and most important, lesson with her - 'The elephant always has right of way in the jungle' - we hit our first hurdle; finding a manual car for her to learn in.

It appears we've got any number of cars available with automatic gearboxes, but manuals are harder to find than a purple cow.

I toyed with upgrading my old work car.

"Why on earth would you want a manual?!" asked the dealer, in a tone that suggested I hadn't been taking my medication.

"For my daughter," I replied, knowing full well that the last time she will press a clutch to the floor is during her licence test.

"Well, we could probably order one in," he grunted.

I thought about that, then asked, "If manual cars are so hard to get, why do you charge extra for automatics?"

At this point he looked at his watch then rushed off to serve someone else.

Fortunately, a good friend has offered the use of their 4WD for her to learn in and with a bit of luck, this time next year she'll be ready for her test; and probably hooked on 4WDs.

Still, things could be worse, because by the time the littlest princess's kids are ready for their licences, I'm betting she'll have all sorts of drama trying to find an automatic driverless car with a steering wheel and pedals in it.


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