If At First You Don’t Succeed…

…then, wait for 15 to 20 years. Then, and only then, have another pop at it. You might at first think I’m referring to my efforts at blogging. It’s been ages since I have crafted some digital bits and bytes for this corner of the interweb. Since my last effort, there’s been a general election, Sepp Blatter has been re-elected and resigned. The 10 year anniversaries of Liverpool wining the Champions League, and my arrival in Mexico have been and gone. There’s been a new version of Lightroom released. And new versions of Flickr and Google Photos. I’ve had inspiration and potential content aplenty. I’ve not alas, had the time. And it’s not been decades since I last wrote, either. Although I suspect that May 2015 is the first full calendar month that I’ve failed to write a single thing for a decade.

But let’s get to the point. In 1995, I left London and moved about 100 miles south west, settling on a farm in the Middle of Nowhere, Dorset. The nearest bus stop was 2 miles away, but lacked any sort of regular bus service. The nearest real town was about 8 miles away. And all I had to get me from A to B was a twenty to thirty year old pedal bike*.And get me from A to B it did. Not very quickly, not always in a clean and dry state, and sometimes with stops for puncture repairs. But it got me to work. And for that, I thank it.

Needless to say though, I desired a more comfortable mode of transport that provided a greater degree of protection from the elements. So I got myself a provisional license, took a bunch of lessons, passed the driving theory test and then took the practical test. Which I failed. Three times. I won’t bore you with the deep injustice of those failures. Or the loathing I still have for the miserable examiner who sat in on all three tests. If karma exists, he was run over and….oh, let’s just say I don’t like him. I’m still a little bitter.

I abandoned the idea of driving a car and settled for the more easily attainable CBT, which allowed me to ride motorbikes up to 125cc. I got a bike, indeed I went through several over the years, and gained motorised mobility. If not weather protection. We can’t have it all. But my scooters had their advantages. I cut through traffic in rush hour like a knife through butter. And I was never the designated driver on a night out.

But times change. Mrs P was never sold on the idea of riding pillion. So I revisited the concept of four wheeled transport. A couple of months back I took my driving theory test. Again. I took a couple of driving lesson. Again. I took my practical driving test. Again. This time I passed. I’d have been disappointed had I not, to say the least. In the years since my last effort, I’ve had more than a decade worth of road experience on my bikes, and I drove a car in Mexico for years. In fact, quite frankly, I think that driving a car in Mexico City and surviving should automatically qualify a driver for a full license, no test needed.

With my new license in hand, we went car shopping. We knew pretty much what we wanted – an automatic Mazda 3, low mileage, no more than 8 years old. There’s not a huge range of them to choose from, so choosing was fairly easy. And below you can see the newest member of the family. She drives very nicely, returns about 38-40 mpg and is a comfortable ride. We’re very happy with her. With a little luck, she’ll take us on new adventures, to places beyond those easily served by public transport. And I’ll report it all here. Maybe…

11 thoughts on “If At First You Don’t Succeed…

  1. I agree. Anyone who can successfully drive a car in Mexico City, should be qualified to drive most anywhere. The traffic in D.F. is one thing that would keep me from seriously considering living there.
    Congratulations on attaining your license and on your new purchase!

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    1. The traffic didn’t bother me so much. I used public transport a lot of the time, and travelled mostly off peak. I did get one job in Barranca del Muerto which involved a change of trains at Chabacano at about 7.30 am. I watched a half dozen trains come and go, each one packed to the rafters. I cancelled the class. For ever!

      I only ever had one road accident in DF. That was on my pedal bike. No other vehicles were involved. Riding with one hand on the handlebar and one hand holding a cigarette in your mouth is most inadvisable in a city with so many foot deep potholes.

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  2. Welcome back, I have been considering writing a blog for some years now but I see that keeping it up needs a certain stamina and a constant supply of visual and mental stimulation to keep the juices flowing. From reading several of your contemporaries examples, I have seen that life can get in the way and sometimes you recover and sometimes the blog becomes part of your past life you don’t want to visit anymore. It is after all a diary of sorts.

    My camera had developed a curve its own, a fine curved line has appeared on the left side of the screen, when zoomed out it straightens out, but you can see it in the photos so at the moment I have to allow for it when I am taking a shot.
    The camera, a Fujifilm X-A1 is the cheaper version of your model turns a mediocre photographer into a better one. The pictures are superb and it makes me believe I am capable of taking better shots. It is very forgiving and everyone who has seen the photos have been very complimentary which spurs me on to take even better pictures. So I have you to thank for suggesting through your blog to have a look at the Fujifilm X series cameras.

    You are probably wondering why I haven’t returned the camera for repair yet, the reason is that I am out of the country at present on a whirlwind trip to Ireland, Scotland and Canary Islands at the moment where I am really putting my camera through its paces and hopefully it will be covered under the warranty when I return. It hasn’t been dropped either it just flickered one day and voila there it was!

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    1. Does the curve still show on the photos when you’ve imported them on to a PC? If so, then that sucks a little. I hope you get that sorted. I still love my Fuji. And the lenses. It was definitely the right brand for me. Although I’m developing a case of camera lust again. It’s an incurable condition. Fuji have just released a more affordable little sibling of the awesome XT1. http://www.photographyblog.com/reviews/fujifilm_x_t10_review/

      As for blogging. It is time consuming. I enjoy it. But I’d really love to have more time to dedicate to it. Not so much to increase the quantity, but the quality. It’d be nice to be able to write a draft and then revisit it a few times before publishing. Alas, I have to use what time I have to rush out a post here or there!

      It’d be nice to see you start a blog though. You could start by publishing those photos from these isles….

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  3. Nice to see you back on the boards. That will have to suffice as my vaudeville pun for the day. It is too hot here to give it any more thought.

    Nice choice of car. Are you going to follow the blogger tradition of giving it an appropriate name? Perhaps you can name it after that vile driving examiner. In a fit of pique. Some memories are best exorcised through sardonic wit.

    Keep us posted — so to speak.

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    1. Would you believe, it’s been rather warm here today too. Probably not what you would call warm. But I don’t need to attempt to educate you in English weather! Suffice it to say, a t-shirt was sufficient.

      A name? I’m thinking….Red.

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  4. Nice car but it is hard to imaging anyone in England owning and maintaining a car! I relate this to lets say a New Yorker having one and not knowing what to do with it. It is good to have you blogging relevant stuff again.

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    1. For many decades any one in England who didn’t maintain their car, weekly, even daily, didn’t have a car to speak of. Even then there was no guarantee that their Triumph, Austin or MG would start up when required to do so!

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