Yes it is true. 100 years ago we would all have to bundle on the train to Southend and Brighton for our hols, and I am one of those Londoners who lives without a car. I never learned to drive. I tried a few times, the first time the dog died, so I was too upset to carry on with my lessons. The second time, I used to have my lessons on a Friday, at the end of the week, after I had taught 500 kids and was completely cream crackered, by a guy who was possibly mad, and had taught the flying squad how to drive. He wore white leather loafers with gold chains on them and had a white marble bathroom ( so he told me), was Middle Eastern/Eastern European and used to complain about all the nasty foreigners in London. When I drove too slow he used to shout and then when I put my foot down to freak him out, he used to scream at me and tell me I was a danger to the road. I used to cry a lot.
I don’t fly, the man from the local ‘transition’ society just was in awe ‘you should give a talk at one of our meetings’… wierd, I thought…people needing to get together to learn how to reduce their carbon emissions, like ’emissions annonymous’…sounds like an excuse to get hammered in the pub to me -that’s where they meet (ha ha ha). Only joking, I think its a great idea for people to get together and get more of a community spirit going…..admirable.
My little bug bear is trying to find a little place to stay..anywhere in the world, by train. ‘jolly english cottages’ or ‘pretty french gites’ never ever tell you how to get there by bus or train. I go on this lovely site called French Connections and drool at lovely gites round France, but it only tells you where the nearest airport is – never the nearest train, and no-one, even the gite owners seem to know if there is a bus near them. I have spent days trawling though the site, cross referencing with bus maps and train maps, writing to gite -owners ‘can I get to you by public transport?’ with all sorts of answers, one being, we can sort you out a taxi for 100 euros! Many gites say ‘car essential’ when in fact there is a bus nearby and a taxi to the local supermarket once in the week would do it. Get so fed up. I just stay at home!
I have stayed in 2 places in France where the lovely people have picked me up from a railway station and drove me to the supermarket for my weeks shopping. Then I watched the people staying in the other gites getting in their cars every day, driving for miles. Um… why stay in the Loire Valley and take a day trip to the Dordogne? Seems to defeat the object of a holiday for me. We read, cook, sleep and get to know the local area sooooo well, on bicycles and on foot and on random public transport.
I am sure many gite owners would do better if they added a little but of public transport info. for the 1.5 million Londoners without a car. NTS data( don’t ask me) suggests that in GB in 2009 only 65% of women held a full driving license compared to 80% of men…so it is not just London. Come on…please!!!!
SONG OF THE DAY I don’t know how many days I am into Post a Day 2011, it is about 80…I must compile all my song a day into one list …maybe on day 100….the first 100 songs! Today I am going to offer up the first single I ever bought…funnily enough I have a friend who does the same work as me who bought the same single.
‘I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing” -classic..as apart from the ‘perfect harmony’…that’s what I do! raaaaaaaaaa! Oh my! I saw Marty Kristian, the heart throb of the band in Habitat in Watford looking at terracotta chicken cookers when I was about 16 and definately too kool for the New Seekers by then, but my heart still skipped a beat!
Your driving lessions stories made me laugh out loud – really cheered me up on a grey day recovering from stay in hospital. Your aggressive instructor reminded me of the awful one in Mike Leigh’s film Happy Go Lucky – definitely worth seeing if you haven’t already.
Like you I live in London without a car and find it frustrating trying to get to places. Particulary annoying how few local bus services there are – e.g. a trip from London to RHS Wisley (lovely gardens) was really tricky and involved one expensive taxi ride.