The Wonders of WordPress

Today Ed and I went to an art and poetry exhibition in my home-town. I’m not usually into poetry, I’m personally more into novels, but this exhibition was one of the few exceptions,as the entire thing was based around Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Ovid’s Metamorphoses is a collection of stories and poems during the reign of Augustus and it talks about the creation of the Earth and other stories of change and transformation such as Apollo and Daphne, the tale of Hecuba (the Trojan woman who turned into a dog) and much more. I haven’t read the entirety of the work, but I do know the stories through research, so Ed and I chose to check it out.

We were originally planning on making it in time for the poetry reading at two o’ clock in the afternoon but we didn’t make it because we were hungry. It wasn’t too big of a deal though as we could just read the poetry ourselves. We turned up, perhaps around three o’ clock and we were welcomed by a very small exhibition space that comprised of perhaps eight square shaped stands that you could walk around. The panels of the squares each contained one painting and two or three poems (depending on how long they were) based off of stories in Metamorphoses, in chronological order. The first poem I read was on the ‘Age’ system as it talked of the Golden Age and the demise of humanity through to the Iron Age. There was also the stories of Narcissus and Echo, one of my favourite myths, about a girl cursed to repeat the words of whoever spoke and the man who was cursed to fall in love with himself and die, gazing at his reflection, at the bank of a pond where he would wither away and turn into a daffodil. There was poems based on Pyrasmus and Thisbe (the tale said to inspire Romeo and Juliet about forbidden lovers). In the story Pyrasmus and Thisbe are planning to meet but Thisbe is chased away by a mountain Lion. Pyrasmus, thinking she is dead kills himself, but Thisbe is not, and in discovering his stabbed body takes her lovers sword and plunges it into her own heart. There were also poems on the old couple who died together and turned into trees. They were beautiful poems, I have to say, and all of them were well written. My favourite being the one of the old couple as it was a dialogue between the two.

More people were turning up and looking around and we gathered together in the centre where the curator told us that people from my high school had came the day before to see and asked if we were in school. Incidentally all of us were from the same school. One of us was in GCSE studying Classics, Ed is at A-Level studying Classics, and I have left school and am studying Archaeology and Ancient History at university, there were others but the curator was asking us younger generation as her aim was to make works of literature such as ancient works and myths, accessible to younger people and we were her demographic of people that she was aiming to please. Thus it spurred on an impromptu poetry reading by the curator and her mother who read the poems and talked about the art with such passion and enthusiasm for the creativity and the stories and what they all mean, it was lovely.

From thereon I read more poems based on the myth of Medea and Jason, of whom I had seen Euripides play just the week before as a live stream at the local cinema. I read poems on the Trojan War and the damage it caused, the tale of Hecuba. There were poems based on Orpheus, who went into the underworld in an attempt to save his dead wife from the underworld, and there was a hilarious poem about Actaeon who found Diana and her nymphs in the woods as he hunted one day, was caught, and was turned into a stag by the goddess and torn to pieces by his own dogs. The exhibition achieved it’s goal, to say at the least, with excellency and really, it deserved more recognition than it had. It was magnificent.

The woman, after the reading and before we all left, talked to us about how the exhibition was made and how it came to be. She declared, proudly, that it was all done via Twitter and WordPress! I was amazed at the accomplishment that one woman had managed to gather writers and artists from all corners of the World, from Brighton in the United Kingdom, to California in the United States to France and to India and more. It was nothing short of a wonder. I believe you can find them at because they are, at some point, planning an exhibition on Norse myths and obviously would like people to get involved.  Sometimes I forget that the internet can be more powerful than kitten photographs and Facebook statuses and this exhibition was, not only superb, but an amazing example of what we can do simply via a blog. It was inspiring.


Playing in Spain | Day 1

Myself and seven other people with me arrived in Valencia, Spain just yesterday. I was completely ready for my holiday even if the last minute packing wasn’t evidence of being so, and couldn’t wait to get there. Of course, I had to fly first. 


I don’t like flying. As handy as it is I can’t help but think that it’s a metal box hurtling itself through the air and that in itself is quite unsettling. I don’t mind the actual flying, as I so loudly said to my mother- aged 11- as we were going to Florida, it’s the taking off and landing that is the worst, and so after my two hour nap on board the box I was awoken to the worst landing I had ever experienced. It was so turbulent and shaky, and extremely fast. In fact there was a huge drop at some point that even had the air stewards swearing under their breath (reassuring). I was sure the oxygen masks would be needed soon. But, alas, we made it safely, and although we flew with some cheap company no one had lost their bags. 

The first thing we did, because we had bags, was find the flat we had rented out for the 10 days we were here for. We stepped off the metro train that bought us most of the way and the sun was so lovely and the sky was so blue. There were these huge buildings that I thought were hotels but were actually flats. Apparently almost everyone in the city lives in an apartment. When we got to the one we rented the man wasn’t in and so we had to wait. There was a bakery next to the place, however, so we all grabbed paninis and sandwiches for lunch. The man then came, handed us the keys and set off on his little motorbike thing. 

We looked around the flat, which is very light and airy, as things should be on the Mediterranean coast, and Ed and I were allocated the study. 

“The futon in here is tiny!” I squealed when I saw it. Ed doesn’t fit on it properly. Half his legs hang off unless he bunches himself up. Though the futon may be small we get the balcony, while no one else does, and we get air conditioning while the others don’t. And we have the wifi right next to us, which is handy for all our needs (that is instagram and wordpress). We set down our bags, got changed and then headed out to take a gander. 

the view from the balcony, and Argonaut sitting in the sun.

the view from the balcony, and Argonaut sitting in the sun.

We walked about seven minutes past the harbour, which our flat is literally two roads away from, and then on to the beach. At first we just walked down the promenade, although Pookie and Mouse went down to the sea with Mouse’s dad, though we all sat down for a drink first. Luckily Jem has a degree in Spanish and can speak it extremely fluently so ordering is hardly a hassle (except for her) and so beers, colas and lemon drinks were consumed. I had a lemon drink. It was delicious, but extremely sour. 

the promenade

the promenade

The promenade is spectacular, it sort of reminded me of Venice Beach in L.A (not that I’ve been) because of all the palm trees along the side. It was so hot though, even at five o clock in the afternoon. In fact, I was so hot that Ed’s dad had to go to a shop and buy me a fan because he thought I looked a bit red. There were shops, restaurants and market stalls all along the promenade, and my objective was to get a bigger bag as the single one that I had bought was tiny, but nowhere really had any I liked. Still, it was beautiful. There were also a whole gang of stalls selling fresh corn on the cob, still in the leaves. It was spectacular. 

As far as Europe goes there’s still street vendors who look shady and illegitimate, but having been to Greece and Italy with the school I sort of learned to ignore those people, no matter hoe long they hung around. 

And then we walked on the beach. Coming here we were told that the sand was so hot even the native Spanish couldn’t walk on it without sandals (though there was a volleyball match going on and none of them had shoes on). Of course, I put it to the test. The sand was warm indeed, but not too hot, though I wouldn’t be on it for too long, just in case. The sand, however, was extremely soft. We went down the board walk towards the sea, and set up some towels on the sand and all hand a bit of a paddle about in the sea, though there was always someone on the shore looking after the bags. I tell you, it is refreshing to go into a sea that you an see all the way through to the bottom of. England just doesn’t have that luxury, even if you go to a nice beach. 


And then we all got ice-creams. I got a marshmallow one which was extremely child-like of me, but it was pink and it was delicious. Ed had a white chocolate one which was gone in five seconds flat, Pookie had a brownie one, and then I don’t know. They also had a mango one I’d like to try next. We went back home. Chilled out, and then got ready to go out. I had a bun in my head all day so took it out and it was all wavy, like a fifties hollywood actress, so I kept it like that, slicked on my nicer sandals and went out for dinner around nine o clock. I went to Spain when I was six years old with my family, and when we were going for tea at this time then I was falling asleep at the table. Things have changed, however and I was wide awake (though Pookie and Mouse weren’t). 


When we got to the restaurant there was a kerfuffle over tables (I don’t think they have ever had to deal with such a large group) but we got seated, placed orders of everything and it was all bought out within minutes at rapid fire. First there were olives, and then chips, ‘patatas bravas’, calamari squid rings, grilled cuttlefish, chorizo, anchovies, salad, Salerno ham, croquette potatoes with ham, spicy chicken, and this really delicious cheese that I liked so much I had half of one plate. It sounds like a lot of food, but all the dishes were shared out between seven people (Mouse had her own sandwich for dinner) so the portions were totally manageable. We all wolfed down the food, at a rate we were sure the waiters would find alarming, but it was absolutely delicious. The only thing I did not try was the anchovies, but I’ve had them before and was never keen. We were so full at the end we wouldn’t even contemplate dessert. I have not been so satisfyingly stuffed in weeks. 

Luckily the tapas was only a few streets away from the flat so we didn’t have to walk far back home. And then we all went to bed. 

Regarding the first nights sleep the study now seems unfortunate. There’s this thing outside that has been making noise throughout the night, on and off, so you can’t even get used to it and it is so hot that it’s ridiculous, even without a duvet at all I’m sweltering. Also, because this is a relatively new area, I don’t really know what the bugs are like here so have been paranoid I’d wake up with a huge spider on my face (I did, however, see my very first cockroach while were were walking back from tapas). I woke up at 7AM in Spanish time, so not too ridiculous, though I am awake before anyone else, which is really strange as a lot of the people here often wake up at six o clock. I can only assume that they all have jet lag and I don’t because I slept on the plane, and napped throughout. Perhaps we should participate in siesta? 

I also bought a video camera with me so hopefully I can film some things to show you because I think that would be fun. I’ll try.

Digging Into the Past

A few hours ago Ed came back from his archaeological dig. It was only in Sedgeford, a measly fifteen minutes away by car but I was still not able to see him for a week, which felt weird, considering I was still staying in his house, with his family.

Sedgeford offers a ‘BERT’ course for archaeological beginners to gain the Basic Excavation and Recording Techniques, for a week, which is what Ed was doing there this week, but of course as part of the programme they also have to do presentations to the public on a Friday. Jem, Pookie and I decided to go and see. I personally was looking forward to seeing Sedgeford as I had dug there two years ago and was eager to see how it had progressed since my being there.

“We’ll leave at three o clock.” Jem said. But really what I learned is that when someone says a time they’ll leave at they really mean fifteen minutes later. The thing that stalled us was that Pookie had left her school bag at school and needed to go back and get it, which added ten minutes to the leaving time already. However. At quarter past three all the schools are done for the day and there’s an abundance of cars picking up kids and taking them places that we got stuck in traffic coming out of town. We decided it must be because the schools are done either for summer, or for the weekend that everyone is going off to the beach (doesn’t help that today was meant to be the hottest day). The traffic was so awful it was at a standstill so we didn’t even get out of town until twenty seven past three, just three minutes before the presentation started.

We were frantically trying to call and text Ed to say we were going to be late and to see if he could stall the presentation a little bit, alas no. The presentation has already started. Luckily, the traffic eased up considerably once we left the town and we were quick enough getting there, even if we were twenty minutes late. But it was fine. We made it JUST in time for the BERTs to speak. Ed was first.

The presentation was great. Though the funny thing is that Ed did just about the same thing I did. He dug a trench that was the shape of a quarter circle on the edge of the trench and found…….

nothing. Just a sliver of bone near the top.

Two years ago I also dug a quarter circle (I’m very sorry, my archaeological lingo is a bit rusty at the minute) on the edge of a trench and found nothing but a shard of bone. The only difference is that Ed didn’t lose his bone.

(On my behalf it was not MY fault I lost it. We were called to lunch just as I found it and I asked what I should do with it to which they told me to leave it on the bucket of a lid next to my trench as they couldn’t get a finds tray at that exact moment, and when I came back from lunch the lid, and the bone, was gone. It was fixed, however, because the supervisors told me to write on the context sheet that it went through to enviro because then there’s a scapegoat)

It’s funny though, that Ed and I are dating, and we have done our digs on the same weeks (or just about) that he is two years younger than me and is doing his dig in the same year of school as me and has ended up digging the exact same hole (sort of) and finding next to nothing. However, none of the other BERTs found anything either, unlike when I dug and the people next to me where uncovering cow skulls and bits of metal working.What was the conclusion about the area the BERTs were digging this year is that a lot of it is just natural features from the glacial period (approx 12,000 years ago) which, even though not as cool as a burial or anything is still exciting. Ed did theorise that, because a lot of the deposited rocks were iron rich thought that perhaps it was actually an iron deposit or somewhere in which iron would be dug up and worked which would explain, partly, why there is a settlement.

However, in the next trench (or context, as we like to call it) they found what looks like a house. There was a hearth with what could be a clay floor, some hook thing that they suspect is a door latch and post-holes. Empirical evidence that there is a house. However the coolest find was a piece of daub from a wattle and daub house which had an imprint of the woven wattle on one side and the hand-print of a seven year old[?] on the other. HOW COOL IS THAT! I can’t say it’s every day that mud used to build a house in the Anglo-Saxon period survives.

Of course, while I was there I wanted to find my hole and go through nostalgia, but I think I may have missed that part of the tour. Of course, just being there and seeing familiar people made me nostalgic over Sedgeford, and I think being there again made me realise exactly how much I miss being there and how much I miss digging, and now I am itching to join one again (if I can wrangle some money out of my family Ed and I were going to try and come back as volunteers some time this summer- *hinting towards mum*).

What’s more, is that Sedgeford are actually publishing a book about the archaeology there, called “Digging Sedgeford – A People’s Archaeology”, which is an editorial on the site, which reflects and input on all who have been associated with it, so you never know, you might be able to see my name somewhere, again, HOW COOL IS THAT! The book si being published on the 15th of August this year and will be available in bookshops as of that same date for £19.95 which really isn’t badly priced for an archaeology book. And you can also order it online. They, I believe, are currently doing a pre-publication offer to those who order before the publication date at just £15, and can be delivered outside of the UK too. I’m very sorry if this promotion has bugged you, but you see, Archaeology is a passion of mine and Sedgeford is a site that will remain dear to me for as long as I live, so I would like to share these things with you.

Afterwards we went home, and bought Ed back with us, who is now very happy to be back in a normal bed and have a good shower in a more private setting, and then we went to the beach for fish and chips and to make ourselves even more muddy, probably making this day perhaps one of the nicest I’ve had in a while.

Trialling Life in the Adult World

I’m nineteen. I’m twenty in just over six months, which is crazy because my child self has always thought twenty to be that age where I am officially an adult, like, for real, because that is when I am literally no longer a teenager. The reality is that my child-like self currently wants to shy away from all things adult and just spend a little bit more time being irresponsible (psychologists out there must be thinking all manner of things with this statement) and this is perhaps why I have been stalling on looking for jobs, and places to live. I just don’t want to grow up. I have a Peter Pan complex going on. But today I have taken a glimpse into the future. No T.A.R.D.I.S needed. 

Ed is currently away camping on an archaeological dig and is there for a week. No huge biggie, I’m used to spending time apart because university has made me that way but it’s the fact that he is away on an archaeological dig that’s made it strange. Because we are both interested in archaeology and ancient history and general history what is likely to happen, if we remain a partnership after university days and whatnot, is that we will be all over the place digging all over the world. I went on the same dig two years ago, but because I went home every night, instead of camping, I never realised what living on a camp site would be like. I didn’t know that it would only consist of one phone call per night, and spending the days waiting for the time to call. This is perhaps the least attractive thing about archaeology. At least Ed has signal though, I just feel sorry for the people there who might have children and marriages waiting for them at home, who might not have signal. Perhaps it won’t end up like this. Our plan, at this moment, if we last, is to find a job in Italy and moving there together so that I can work on restoring Pompeii, and he can go out and fulfil all manner of digs from classical to medieval periods and live on the Italian coast (preferably Sorrento) but who knows, it could end up being a case of broken phone calls as we stand in a countryside field desperately seeking signal. 

Of course, while Ed is on his dig, I am currently still staying in his parents house, which feels a little bit weird, but there’s no space for me at home, unless I fancy sleeping on a sofa, futon, or on the floor. Not so much a look into life. I’m sure I’ll have my own place at some point, I’ll have to if I’m going to be in Italy. But today everyone was out. So for a little bit I pretended the house was all mine. My sister came round with Boscy, my nephew, and we chatted and watched episodes of Gossip Girl, which even though we literally live across a park from each other made it feel like she had travelled to come and see me and catch up (despite the fact we have seen each other every day since I came home). This is adult life. I always pictured adult life with Vie to be different. Miles different. For one I never imagined having a nephew when she was so adamant on never having kids. I also pictured us travelling together, living together, spending a year in New York or Los Angeles after university but it’s not going to be like that. It’s never going to be like that. It’s going to be sporadic visits and ‘catching up’ and reminiscing. 

Today, while I hung out at home I waited for Pookie to come home from school and we went to the supermarket together to pick out food for dinner and then we went home and I cooked us all a meal. All right, it was bunging a pizza and garlic bread in the oven and then making super noodles for my sister, but as I heated up bottles of milk for Boscy and made the food, it made me feel like a parent. I’m still currently on this ‘I’m-never-ever-having-kids’ mindset so this idea scared me. It was weird cooking for an eleven year old. Taking on the responsible role. It was freaky. It made me feel old. It’s weird to think that maybe someday (but highly unlikely) I’d have my own eleven year old that I’d have to look after. It was weird to think that maybe in the future life will be staying at home waiting for my eleven year old to come home from school and then cooking them dinner and looking after it. Making sure that they’re ready for Scouts or Girl Guides and then tidying up. 

Life will be me looking after the kids, somewhere in Italy, but probably actually England, actually back home, because the education is better. (of course I could send them to boarding school while I preserve Pompeii, but where would I get the tuition fees from an archaeologists salary?) Ed will be off on some dig somewhere, making me very jealous that I am not out there too. I will be missing him, waiting by the phone because I don’t know when he’ll next get signal or when I’ll see him next. I’ll get visits from my sister every so often, and will go to see my parents when I get the time. That will be life. Not anything near what my dreams are. I probably won’t ever find the right time to live in Los Angeles and New York and Paris just because I want to. There will come a time when I have to settle in one place and stop travelling the world and more. Maybe not. But probably. It’s weird. 

So I haven’t done any taxes today, or anything else as responsible and adult-y as that but I have had a glimpse into the future from the little things. Those little things that make people realise that one day they can’t be Peter Pan and remain child-like as ever. It was an epiphany that freaked me out because I am still very much a person that is incredibly naive, that still has a childish wonder about the world and desire to just explore it. I’m a person that is too shy to order in restaurants. How can I be an adult? I don’t want to be an adult. Not yet. Definitely not yet.

I think, this may just be the first time in my life that I actually relate to Wendy from Peter Pan. I know that there are responsibilities that I will have to accept, but I just don’t want to yet. I want to fly away to never-land and not go back for a long time. I mean, I know that I am only nineteen and I have years yet before I actually have to settle down for real. But seriously, that time will go incredibly quickly, I’ll be a fully sledged adult in six months for Pete’s sake, my mum had my sister and I when she was twenty, and I’ll have to get a job and that will actually change the entire game-plan. I must say, though, that although there seems to be one major downside to archaeology I’m glad I chose it and have a passion and ambition in that, because although I may not have great contact, or a permanent house, and I’ll be living in a tent most likely, I can still travel the world and keep some of my childhood dream. At least for a bit. 

And The Results Are In…

I’ve just looked at my university portal to see if my results have been posted yet. They are in. With an intense click on the left hand button the results are as follows:

I HAVE PASSED ON MY FIRST ATTEMPT! I think I’m quite pleased with that.

The way university works is that you need 40% to pass a module and 40% overall in the year to pass, meaning that you don’t need to succeed at every module that makes up 120 credits altogether. I have successfully passed all six modules with full credits and can therefore return to university for second year (if I find a place to live, that’s next on my checklist). Of course, each module has varying degrees of success. 

LATIN: D, 44% 

This actually does not surprise me. I got a D in Latin at GCSE and in the two years between then and now I had forgotten everything except ‘Caecilius est pater’ and have a terrible memory when it comes to labelling the grammar (why is it all so similar!). Added to the fact that the department failed to tell me about a mid-year assessment that counted to this years grade until after it was done and there was nothing I could have done and the grade is even less surprising. If only I hadn’t have been ill that lesson and I would have had a higher grade, possibly even a B! 


I should have known this. I thought I did well in the exam. I don’t know what made me grade so low. The only thing I can think of is that my coursework wasn’t spot on. This was one of the earlier modules and I was still getting used to the referencing system, bibliographies, how to write the essays and more. I could spew to you facts about Greece left right and centre but I could not for the life of me tell you where they came from. 


Not my best work. I blame the coursework which I spent forever suffering through the most difficult question that I have ever seen (how am I meant to write about the archaeology of the Assyrian Empire from 2000 to 1000 B.C when a quick Google and multiple sources told me that there is no surviving written record and very little in the ways of archaeology to go in this period, like the dark ages in Britain only in a dessert. Also, I have never studied archaeology until this year. 


This grade annoys me, purely because it shows that if I had gained three more marks then in my Fifth Century Athens module then I’d have gotten a better grade. THREE MARKS. But still, a C. Not bad, that’s a 2:2 in the university world and that shows that I have potential to get better, surely? Again, this was an early module in archaeology. 


What!? A 2:1!? I thought I did terribly with this module following my 90% in an assessment at the start of the year. I believe that what some people call “hubris“, the pride before a fall (there’s tonnes of it going on in The Iliad) but mind you a 90% is a nice little safety mat to fall back on if I do happen to fall. Sophie the Academic Stunts-woman. 


I believe this is a first. I can’t quite remember the grade boundaries, but seriously, how can an A not be a first. If it isn’t then it’s pretty damn close and I’m happy with it. I’m a bit of an expert when it comes to all things Augustan Rome. I did an essay on propaganda in literature including The Aeneid, which I have read at least ten times (I was 9% off a first class grade with that essay) and then my exam was on the Forum Augustus which, you should know, took some inspiration from The Aeneid (or vice versa) and the myth of Romulus and Remus. See! I know it! 

To be frank the later modules are a lot better than the early ones, besides Primates to Pyramids, which was always going to be the case. Mix having to completely learn new writing styles, not being able to access key reading (a university library SHOULD have the books on your reading lists!) being ill for a week and a major depressive period where I was skipping some classes and generally not being motivated to do anything then I honestly say I deserve each and every grade I got. All I wanted to do this year was to pass as I learned how everything worked. The important thing is that I know where I went wrong and can improve this greatly when I go back; besides, this year doesn’t count towards my degree so none of it will effect me, but now I can be serious and get the best grades I possibly could. Bring on second year!

Pillow Talk #1

Just now I’ve had a funny conversation. The funny things about it is that my counterpart in this dialogue was asleep. I find the conversations with a sleeping Ed to be hilarious, if not slightly weird (one time he confessed to being a serial killer and proceeded to put his hand vaguely around my neck….ookaayyyy). Because he is asleep I haven’t got a clue about what he sees in his head and the guesswork game is all part of the fun. I must say these conversations are the only up side to being awake at four o clock in the morning. Today’s went as follows:

Me: shifts in bed and pushed Ed away

Ed: What was that for?

Me: Because I’m all hot and sticky and uncomfortable. (it was very hot, and being snuggled up to someone in bed makes it unbearably so)

Ed: Well come here! jauntily extends arm and pulls me in so that I’m even closer to the sticky heat. I do not see how this will help but I go along with it for the sake of the conversation. What are you doing now!? 

Me: What do you mean?

Ed: You’re going in slow motion! (one can only hope that in his mind he is playing out some cute romantic montage, and not because I’m making myself look stupid)

Me: I’m not going in slow motion

Ed: Yes, you are. You’re all like d..d..du..duu (this is apparently the sound of slow-mo.)

Me: Already too hot to handle. I move away from him and move the gap

Ed: I just got the word ‘hat’ from the bottom of my coffee!

Me: What? Really?

Ed: nods his head

Me: How did you do that?

Ed: I don’t know. I was just thinking of the UCAS day thingy makes weird hand motion and got…yeah, that. 

Me: That’s new. 

Perhaps Ed’s coffee is like the prophetic tea leaves in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and is telling him that one day he will wear a hat. Who knows. This is however liked to UCAS so unless there is a university whose UCAS code is HAT or there is a university in Hatsfield (is that a real place?) then I can’t piece this together, never mind why I would be walking in slow motion. 

I hope to have more pillow talks soon. Documenting them is pretty fun and I could show this to him when we wake up and embarrass him, or just entertain him with his unconscious babblings of his subconscious mind. There are some people who say dreams mean something, can someone help me decode this?

Driver’s Ed

Today has been a first. I’ve gotten in the same car as someone with only a provisional driver’s license. I admit: I was scared. But he had bribed me with ice cream and I couldn’t say no to that.
“Come on!” Jem said to Ed enthusiastically. “You can drive me to my jazzercise class!” Ed looked at me.
“I don’t want to.”

The thing with this was that I had never gotten into a car where the person had not been driving for a long time. There’s my mum, whose cars were the dangerous parts about being in them as one by one they failed and broke and made noises that no object in the world should. There’s Grandy, whose disregard for speed limits would sometimes lead to me clinging to my seat-belt for dear life. And there’s Jem, neither her car is lethal nor her driving bad. Yes, there have been moments where in some of these cars I thought Today I’m coming to terms with my tragic death but their driving has been licensed for over ten years and generally I can reassure myself that crashes have a slim chance. Ed only has a provisional, I don’t know how well his lessons have been going or what he has learned, who knew if he knew the clutch from the break or which thing next to the seat was the hand-break (we could have needed it if a near-fatal incident occurs) so I was scared. 

It, of course, helps that, having had very few friends in high school never mind friends who could drive, I had never experienced what driving with a beginner would be like. I have a hazy memory of a policeman telling us not to go in cars with beginners, and especially not friends (though I think stranger danger must be noted here too) since they want to show off what they can do. If there’s any words to follow it is that of a law-enforcing officer, so I wanted to back down until they had came back from this escapade unscathed and someone could hark to me praises of how brilliant Ed’s driving was. Oh, but I am fickle. So sold out on ice cream. 

It was not a good start. First I did not step foot in the car until Ed had pulled out of the parking space from the small cramped designated area into the narrow private road. Jem didn’t get in either, I can not say what this showed for our belief in Ed or his skill. Perhaps Jem was just as scared as I was, but she had suggested it and couldn’t back out now. Much like Ed couldn’t back out of the space (sorry). Firstly the car didn’t even make it two inches without hitting into the gaudy red one that was flanking it’s left hand side. Just a bump but my mind was instantly telling me that if we were travelling at 30 miles per hour and so was that red car we would probably be dead. Then he tried to reverse back to pull out at a better angle, so that the owner of the red box wouldn’t have to get mad at us. In doing so he nearly drove straight into the gate of their garden. Oh. Dear. The final attempt was a narrow shave as mere millimetres was the difference between unscathed motor vehicles and dragging the red box with us or snapping off various wing mirrors. I laughed a nervous giggle. 

I got in the car and buckled my seatbelt. 

“How do you work the indicators?” Ed asked as he buckled up. I froze. If he didn’t know how to work indicators, something I’ve learned to do aged 8 just by asking mum, then we didn’t have a chance. I took a deep breath as we drove down the road and out into the traffic. 

The lucky thing is that the route we took didn’t require too many main roads, so we could casually go down the back streets where minimal traffic remained. Ed did however have trouble spotting a motorcyclist as he pulled out onto the first lane and if Jem hadn’t said anything then the biker would most probably have been like a bug on a wind shield (only the wind shield would have smashed and investigations would have been drawn up). I am, of course, slightly exaggerating here, Ed didn’t have the courage to go above 25 miles per hour. Having watched an advert on TV if he accidentally hit a little girl she would have had at least an 80% chance of survival. We pulled up to pick another up. Now there were three people in the car watching his every move. That must have been pressure. Not only that but in that exact moment Ed’s driving instructor drove past, mentoring another student. 

And then we had to go on to the main road. The thing is to get to it there was a traffic light that regulated the flow at a safe and efficient pace. This traffic light, in particular, changes very quickly. Then suddenly his best friends father came driving up behind us. Now four people were watching. The light turned green, Ed stalled, the light turned red. The driver behind waved. At least they didn’t honk the horn. Ed stalled again. 

“This is a particularly bad light.!” Jem reassured quickly as the light turned back to red. 

“I wouldn’t worry, I’ve been sat behind five light changes because I’ve stalled” Jem friend said. “It happens all the time.” And then at the third turn we managed to pull out. But it was a main road, there are traffic lights everywhere. This road is notorious for being a bit manic. At least it was not rush hour. At the second lot of traffic lights Ed stalled five, maybe six, times. Each time the metal contraption of doom was sending us inches closer to an impending fate. We were in the middle of a main road. We could not get out. Finally, finally Ed calmed down, having gotten frustrated at the car’s ill co-operation and pulled out at a small enough, but still too small to make me think I’m safe, especially when we were snail pacing through it at 20 miles per hour. We turned a corner. And we were back in the small streets where I could finally let a breath. Ed pulled up outside the jazzercise venue. 

“Right.” Jem said. “If you want to get out I’ll park the car.” Having witnessed the initial pulling out she probably didn’t want more wing mirrors to be threatened. Ed and I walked home, having bought the ice cream. I don’t think I will be stepping into that car again until his driving is officially deemed safe with a full driver’s license.