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Test Day!

22nd November 2017

Carl AshwinAs I woke up that morning, tired, not having slept well the previous night I thought to myself 'well, today's the day'. It's true that I had kept the whole thing a secret. My colleagues at Wessex FM knew I had booked my test. They also new it was in November but I hadn't told them the date. Even our CEO couldn't get the date out of me. I even went to the lengths of putting two lessons on my calendar followed by a further 'Private Appointment' the following week to throw people off the scent! All of this was because I had not wanted to make a thing out of it being my test day only to then go on and fail. In hindsight, it would have made for better drama.

I resolved to reveal on the show that morning that it was my test day and that I did! I did however add that my result would not be revealed to anybody until the following day.

As we drove from my final lesson toward the test centre, I felt less nervous than I thought I might. Not confident but not frightened either. I'd made a post on the Wessex FM Facebook page that morning and was overwhelmed by the supportive messages I had received and that really helped spur me on. I also wanted to do this to prove to myself that I could do it. Here am I, 39 years into life and still not a qualified driver. I've always resisted being a boring grown up but this was perhaps taking things a bit far.

I sat in the waiting room with Claire, my instructor until eventually my examiner appeared. His name was Nic Philpot and having had me sign my life away we headed out to the car. First up, the number plate test. Thankfully I can see! No problems there so Nic gave me the keys and told me to get comfortable in the car. He walked round the outside with the clipboard-of-justice scribbling things down.

Eventually he got in and talked me through what would happen. He then asked me two questions relating to the operation of the vehicle. I answered by and he gave me instructions to move off.

We drove from the test centre, down through Poundbury and in to Victoria Park. Things get a big foggy in my memory at this point as we somehow made our way to Charlton Down and then onto Charminster. Much of the test was happening and I was doing my best to do a good job. Almost before I knew it we were back at the test centre.

I glanced over at Nics clipboard. He hadn't made a mark. I was worried that he had been saving them up and was about to wield his Pencil-of-Truth and fail me.

"I'm pleased to tell you that you have passed" came the words. I didn't quite know how to react. I think I was shocked. He then went onto explain that there were no minor faults. I shook his hand and thanked him and got out of the car. Everything was a bit surreal at this point. Had I, Carl Ashwin, 39 years old finally passed my driving test?? Something I'd started when I was 19 with a 20 year break in the middle finally seen through to the end? Well, yes! I had!!

I had to however keep it quiet until the following mornings show. I got messages and texts and switched my phone off. It was time for a 'media blackout'.

The following morning I knew I couldn't wait to share the news but I kept listeners waiting for just over 2 hours (sorry about that) before I gave them this.

So there it is. I saw it through to the end. I think I need to go and listen to My Way!

One of the things I will be following up with is in speaking with another person who left it till later in life before passing their test. They do say it gets more difficult as you get older and so I thought, if I can do it, anybody can! That's for another time. For now though, I passed my driving test.

Posted by Carl Ashwin at 3:24pm

2017 (14)

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