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A day in the life of a driving instructo
y Alan Townend
A day in the life of a driving instructo
When Major John Hewson retired from the army at the age of fifty,
he soon found himself at a loose end. He had grown used to army
discipline and he found civilian life dull and boring. For the first few
months he was quite happy in the house that he and his wife had
ought on his retirement, but he soon began to wish he had
something to do. His wife, Mary, also pointed out that his pension
wasn't sufficient for them to live on and that they needed some
extra money. Unfortunately the Major had no qualifications, but he
did know a lot about motor cars. And so three months later he
opened his own school of motoring. He called it the Al School of
Driving. At first the Major thought he would never get more than
one or two clients, but everything changed on the day that the
first of his pupils passed the driving test.
As usual, the Major rose early, ate his
eakfast and was in his
office at exactly eight o'clock. The Major was always punctual.
People in the houses opposite the school checked their watches
when he a
ived; they knew that the moment he entered his office
it was eight o'clock precisely. The Major's first job each morning
was to go into the garage next door and check the car for oil,
water and air. He returned to the office at eight fifteen. He looked
at his diary and sadly noted that he had no appointments until
midday. Nevertheless, he opened the office at nine o'clock as
usual. Then he sat down at his desk, lit his pipe and opened the
morning newspaper. He knew from many mornings spent in this
way that if he read the paper very slowly he would finish it at half
past eleven — just in time to get ready for his first client. But he
was still reading the front page when the door opened and a
middle-aged woman walked in. Mrs. Ca
uthers had read the
advertisement for the A1 School in the local paper and had come
for the free trial lesson. The Major offered one hour's free tuition to
anyone; during this time he could judge whether a full course of
twenty-five lessons was necessary or whether a short refreshe
course would be sufficient.
Mrs. Ca
uthers: I do so like the name of your school. Al sounds
encouraging, and as it's run by a colonel I know I shall be
hands.
in safe
Major: Thank you for the promotion, madam but I am actually a
major.
Mrs. Ca
uthers: Oh dear, I'm so so
y. Now is that higher o
lower than a colonel? I can never remember.
Major: Lower. But don't let's wo
y about that. I think I can fit you
in for your free trial lesson now. But first I have to see you
provisional driving licence. Thank you. Yes, that seems to be in
order. Tell me, have you ever taken the driving test?
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1
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A day in the life of a driving instructo
y Alan Townend
Mrs. Ca
uthers: Well, yes, I'm what you might call an old hand.
Major: You'll have to be more precise than that, I'm afraid. Have
you taken it once? Twice?
Mrs. Ca
uthers: No, my dear captain, a few more times than
that.
Major: Major, madam, if you don't mind.
Mrs. Ca
uthers: Yes, of course. I'm so so
y. I knew a captain
once in the army. Or was it the navy?
Major: Perhaps you could just tell me how many times you have
taken the test.
Mrs. Ca
uthers: Let me see. There was the time I had a little
accident at a pedestrian crossing. And then there was the time I
had a bit of bad luck with the gears. I also remember...
Major: I don't want to hu
y you, Mrs. Ca
uthers, but I'd like to
start at ten o'clock.
Mrs. Ca
uthers: Yes, of course. Well, let's make a nice round
number, shall we?
Major: Yes, why not?
Mrs. Ca
uthers: Put down thirty then, Brigadier.
The Major took Mrs. Ca
uthers out in his car for the trial lesson.
She
oke almost every rule in the Highway Code and the Majo
was very glad that his car was fitted with dual control. When they
were safely back in the office he told her she would have to take
the full course -partly because she obviously needed it and partly
ecause it was good for business. Mrs. Ca
uthers agreed to come
for a lesson at ten o'clock every Tuesday for the next six months.
The Major was not so
y to see her go, particularly as his next
pupil was a young man who was learning quickly. He had had only
three lessons and already he was driving quite well. At one o'clock
the Major went home to lunch.
Mary: How was business this morning, dear?
Major: Let's just say it had its ups and downs.
Mary: I see. Haven't you got a pupil taking the test today?
Major: Yes, Miss Chalmers is taking it this afternoon. She's a.
first-rate driver. I'm sure she'll pass.
Mary: Do you mean that very glamorous girl with the long fai
hair?
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2
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A day in the life of a driving instructo
y Alan Townend
Major: I don't know what colour her hair is. All I know is that
she's a very capable driver.
Mary: I don't believe you, John.
Major: I can assure you she's an excellent driver.
Mary: I'm not talking about her driving. I mean I'm sure you've
noticed the colour of her hair.
Major: Well, maybe it is fair. Anyway, I must hu
y now and see
that the car's in order.
When the time came for the driving test the Major always asked
his pupils to a
ive at least half an hour early so that he could go
over any points that needed attention. Lucy Chalmers a
ived at
the school at a quarter to two.
Lucy: Good afternoon, Major. Have you got your fingers crossed?
Major: There's no need to do that for you, my dear. I'm sure
you'll pass.
Lucy: I'm very nervous.
Major: That's only natural. By the way, if I may ask, what's
happened to all your long fair hair?
Lucy: Oh, I'm wearing a short wig today. I thought it would look
more businesslike.
Major: That's a good idea. Now let me give you a final test on the
Highway Code.
The Major and Lucy drove in silence to the centre where she was
to be tested and sat in the waiting room. The chief examine
a
ived and asked to see Lucy's driving licence; then he made he
sign a declaration that she was, in fact, Miss Lucy Chalmers. The
Major shook hands with Lucy and wished her luck; then she and
the examiner left the room to go to the car. The Major watched the
first part of the test from the window of the waiting room. As the
car drove smoothly away he took out his pipe and sat down to wait
for their return.
Lucy passed. The Major was delighted at her success. Lucy
promised to tell all her friends and relations what a good instructo
he was.
The Major's last lesson of the day was a difficult one. Mr. Green
was a te
ible driver, but unfortunately he didn't realize it.
Whenever the Major tried to point out a mistake, Mr. Green told
him that he knew very well what to do.
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3
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