What I mean is something like this, but with more tinsel:
(which looks remarkably like the one that nearly run us off the Karakorum Highway into a million foot deep ravine...but that's a whole other story)
So I went round and round and round the carpark. I found first gear. Found second gear. Managed to start. Managed to stop. Took almost a minute to find reverse until we realised you had to push the gear stick down to get it to move into R. So I reversed into a space. In an empty carpark. Well empty except some other poor mug who was learning to drive: 'If you think that's difficult,luv, you should try learning to drive in this lorry' (see, I'm even starting to get the lingo for being a genuine WVW). 'Shall we go on the road now?' Says dh, 'Absolutely not' says I.
(I think it could do with some tinsel, don't you?)
Well eventually I did venture out into the real tarmac, lurched my way round a few roundabouts going 'Arrrgghhh! Gotta change gear gotta change gear! Er where's the clutch? What gear am I in? Ooh that doesn't sound good.' but at least I didn't stall the van.
No I saved the stalling for today. My first day driving the van on my own. Ok, let's start at the beginning of today. I woke up feeling like ***** having spent all Sunday night chucking up (have I finally got the HESFES bug or did I just eat dodgy pizza?) and all Monday sprawled in bed like a dead haddock.
I was supposed to drive the van this morning (kids have workshops, I needed to pick up other kids, playdates etc). Got in, couldn't reach the pedals. Well I could reach the pedals but only if my knees were on top of the dashboard. Gave up. Dh drove.
Did the playdate/workshop run, did tescos, found out how to lower the seat so that I could finally reach the clutch (kinda handy) and then dropped dh off at work. Lurched my way back towards home. Didn't get above 3rd gear. Didn't make it much about 20 mph (sorry all you cars that were trailing behind me). Didn't dare overtake the millions of cyclists that come to this fair city to risk their life on two wheels (with big bertha I was having enough difficulty missing the curb, let alone death-wish cyclists).
I rolled back at the lights. Twice. Stupid thing was, having seen me roll back once, the car behind me pulled in even closer to my boot. 'Er mate, you don't wanna be doing that, haven't you seen how far this can go backwards without me being in reverse?'
Lurched forwards (not wanting to roll back I had a good old rev on)managed to get through the lights, took the corner in 1st, or possibly 3rd gear, I'm not sure I can tell the difference and then raced on home, only to stall as I pulled across in front of my house. Twice. I was just thankful that the next door neighbour who was getting into the car right in front of me happens to be blind (she was a passenger, not driving, you understand, but there is only so much neighbourly humiliation one new driver can tolerate in a day). Eventually on the third attempt I found a gear that would let me get as far as my hedge and I stopped.
Now all we have to do is work out how to lock and unlock the doors/boot. It's like 2 clicks for this, one key turn and a click for that, unclick for something else. Oh sod it. Everyone climb over the front seat into the back.
I want my automatic smoke-powered hippo back.