Celebration next door.

Yesterday afternoon CC and I were invited to our neighbour’s to “arroser son permis” – literally “to water her driving licence”.

Since her husband died,  nearly two yars ago, she has felt rather stranded without transport and at the age of 54,  started driving lessons. The first hurdle was the  ‘code’  as you have to pass the theory before you are allowed behind the wheel and it took her three attempts to achieve the passmark of 36 out of 50.  A  rota of neighbours,  including Jay, drove her into town three or four times a week to sweat over the computers at the driving school doing practice tests so she wasn’t the only one to be disappointed at each failure. It was quite a commitment giving her lifts for well over six months.

Finally she passed and began driving.

It didn’t seem long before she took her driving test and I was surprised to find out that the instructor  sits in the back of the car but mustn’t say anything and at the end, the examiner doesn’t tell you whether or not you’ve passed.

This is because it has been known for fists to fly in the event of a failure!

Claudine had already bought herself a secondhand car and it was sitting in her garage so she was really disappointed to learn that she had failed – especially since her instructor had led her to believe that she had performed well enough to pass.

However, a few weeks later the chap who had examined her made the front page of the local paper becasue he was notorious for failing everyone. He had been sent off for ‘retraining’ but was just as reluctant to pass anyone on his return.

You’d think they would have given her a free repeat test, but no, she had to pay again.

The new test was scheduled for 8a.m. one morning during the snowy weather. Needless to say it was cancelled and she had to wait several weeks before getting another slot and safer road conditions.

But just over a week ago SHE PASSED!!

Of course, that was a good reason to get out the champagne and invite friends and neighbours round.

She provided apple tart, custard flan and gateau au sucre (a local speciality) and we got through a couple of bottles of fizz before she sobered us up with coffee.

Fortunately no-one had to drive home as the flics round here are horribly hard on anyone caught driving under the influence.  In France you lose points for traffic offences and a new driver only has 6 points for the first year, in contrast to the usual 12.


11 Responses to “Celebration next door.”

  1. Little old me Says:

    Well done to her and everyone who helped

  2. tillylil Says:

    Ha Ha Sandy – I didn’t have my glasses on when I first squinted at this post and I read the first line as Invited next door to ‘
    ‘arouser sons penis!!!
    My French was never very good but even I knew it wouldn’t be that ‘rude’
    Well done to your neighbour – never too late to learn to drive.

  3. Patricia D Mackay Says:

    My first thought was that you were all going to pee on it. Well done her and all you helpful neighbours – you all deserved your delicious treat.
    I never fail to marvel at how dotty the French can be sometimes – sitting in the back of the car. Maybe it’s safer.

    • sablonneuse Says:

      It seems to be a good idea for the instructor to sit in on the test, especially as thi meant that the rogue examiner was discovered.

  4. Pat Says:

    I always change my full name to Pat and the b—–s change it back.

  5. guyana gyal Says:

    What good neighbours you all are!

    If all this testing and losing points for bad driving afterwards make better drivers out of citizens, then I’ll say yay.

    Our drivers make vehicles look like weapons. I’ve heard that people can buy their ‘pass’ here.

    • sablonneuse Says:

      I kind of agree with you, G-G but they do seem to jump on very minor traffic offences here and the minimum fine is 90 euros.
      Our friend was fined for not stopping LONG ENOUGH at a white line even though he had time to put the handbrake on.

  6. antiphonsgarden Says:

    We have succeed over here to inspire the county to create a by call service who brings one for a cheap ticket to the next bigger town and from there with the same ticket with a bus to the main city of the county.
    Some reactionary politicians considers that it cost too much money, we know about their deeply concerned and caring spirit…but up to now, it helps those who don’t have a car to not be limited into the countryside where public transport has been systematically destroyed in favour of cars in the last decades.
    May this intelligent initiative, who is more ecological as individual transport, last and show that alternative concepts works even in the country side.
    Not everybody can drive or afford or want a car and the cost associated with it, but many don’t want to be recluse for that reason.

    • sablonneuse Says:

      The bus service to and from our village is virtually non-existant. There’s a bus into town for the school children during term time but in school holidays there’s often only one bus a day (return, of course) but you have to spend all day in town.

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