Driving myself mad

I have such sweet friends that they’re now all tripping over each other to remind me of things I’ve done to humiliate myself. But – to be fair – I have quite a bad memory so keep them coming. I appreciate the material.

The latest of these reminders came by way of a photo of my friend’s adorable toddler with the accompanying sarcastic line: “Don’t know why it made me think of you..”

Driving myself mad

This little lad need feel no shame at his error, his age excuses him

Over the last 13 years my driving escapades have been the subject of much discussion (both among my friends and our country’s criminal defence system), but this particular incident was more painfully embarrassing than criminally destructive.

In sixth form my friends and I formed a pretentious little social-climbing posse called “Dinner Party Club”. In a nutshell it just meant that we took it in turns to eat at each others’ houses, but as that’s what friends do anyway I’m not sure why it needed categorising.

On an occasion that I hosted I remember my 17 year-old self feeling like the coolest, most debonair person that ever lived because I put peach slices in a savoury salad. I saw it in a Jamie Oliver book.


At the end of another rip-roaring Dinner Party Club, I’d bid my goodbyes and got into my little GOLD Nissan Micra (lovingly christened “Princess One”) to drive home. If you’re a girl you’ll know that saying goodbye when you’re in a group of four or more can take anything up to an hour as you have to hug each person individually and give them a compliment on their hair or shoes and then you’ll realise you actually need another wee and then you’ll forget who you’ve hugged and the whole thing will have to start again from the top.

So I’d been through this palava and extricated myself out to my waiting automobile, leaving my friends behind to begin the goodbye process all over again for the next departee.

Twenty minutes later – as my friends opened the door to release the next Dinner Party Club member into the wilds of Radlett – they were greeted with this sight:

Driving myself mad

My car was a shinier gold, but the outfit is pretty much spot-on

Having established with you earlier that driving is not my strong point, I should just strongly impress upon you quite how inadequate I was, especially at 17. Trying to three-point-turn out of my friend’s (large) driveway I’d arrived at the gate itself in a completely sideways fashion. Much like our good friend Mr Powers, above.

My three-point-turn had, as three-point-turns so often do, upgraded itself into a 47-point-turn and I’d become spectacularly lodged between the gate posts, too ashamed to go back to the DPC for help.

My friends stood in the doorway doubled up in laughter as I Austin-Power-ed back and forth. One centimetre foward. One centimetre back.

It wasn’t ’til the dad of the house was fetched from his father-quarters that my car was expertly released, after the DPC had enjoyed a solid 10 minutes of watching me struggle.

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