So I’m not a competent driver. I passed my test, abandoned the ‘L’ plates and understand the importance of wearing a seatbelt. But after 10 years living in a city (Dubai, then Amsterdam and now London) without a car, I have The Fear. The Fear that I’m going to be the person who confuses green with red, left with right and ends up slowly ploughing into the front of Tesco because I forgot the handbrake.
Then Volvo got in touch and said they’d send us to the ace Festival Number 6… But I had to drive one of their cars there. And we’re not just talking a quick jaunt to the countryside here – it’s a 7-hour drive from London to this festival du jour.
“Er, yes”, I tentatively said. The Festival Number 6 carrot had been dangled; I was going regardless of any inner turmoil.
The day of the car being handed over arrived and I explained to Bob, the amazing Volvo guy that I hadn’t driven in 10 years. If he had The Fear at the point, he didn’t show it. We drove around the block a few times and then went further afield to Stratford so I could work out all the buttons. (I am sure there’s a more technical term, but I’m no Penelope Pitstop).
The Volvo XC90 has two major plus points for the arguably novice driver: it’s high and it’s smooth. Oh and it’s automatic so less to have to worry about as your kid is hollering for ‘Peppa Pig’ because the iPad has clapped out.
When we arrived in Wales, it was torrential rain; we’re talking bullets pounding from the sky. We had to park in a soggy field but it’s such a powerful beast of a car, there were no fear that we wouldn’t get out.
While the festival was all the fun, all three of us (my sister, daughter and I) decided that we preferred being in the sanctuary of the car. So we ended up cutting the festival short and going on a road trip home. As Alanis Morrisette’s Ironic lilted out of the speakers, the sun started peeking through the clouds and I realised that I was on the road once more. Seatbelt on; L plates nowhere to be seen and fully in the driving seat.