Tag Archives: driving

Driving Miss Crazy

Cardiff-20130603-00198The day I was diagnosed with MS I was instructed to inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) toot suite, on pain of flogging or death. Well, no, not really, but it was a pretty stern diktat.

I duly found my way through their labyrinth website, downloaded the forms and sent them off. A year passed and I was confident they had forgotten all about me and had guessed I was still a safe driver. I had even taken an ice and snow driving course when I lived in Norway, a terrifying day where I drove down a vertical hill covered in oil to simulate the experience.

The other week though I received a letter with the words, ‘the Medical Advisor has recommended that your current licence is withdrawn…and a new licence will be issued to you, which will be only be valid for 3 years.’ Bearing in mind my previous licence was valid until well into the 2040’s, I was a bit upset.

For unscientific research purposes, I asked the Twittersphere if this was a standard procedure. Apparently it is. Which strikes me as rather odd and arbitrary. If only the powers that be who will be overseeing the change from Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) could also accept that MS is a degenerative, progressive illness with no cure. Why make us re-prove that we have MS and it doesn’t get better? I doubt that anyone with MS who has a 3 year license will suddenly be deemed ‘cured’ and re-issued with a longer licence.

To rub salt into the wound, I am also now banned from driving 3.5 – 7.5 tonne vehicles and minibuses (not for hire or reward), for medical reasons. Not that I have any intention of doing so, but it would have been nice to have had the choice, just in case I wake  up one day and think, ‘do you know what, I really feel like bombing down the motorway in a big truck today.’ As you do.

So now my licence lasts until 2016 at which point they will review my case. I’m off out now for a little tootle in the car. The Thermos is ready, the tartan blanket  is packed and I have a tin of pear drops in the glove compartment. Just to be on the safe side.

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Backseat Van Driver

Still panicking about wonky eye, still waking up half-blind, stumbling my way to the bathroom. But luckily I had my work site visit yesterday, where we trundled 40-odd miles down the road to visit a possible job.

We stopped off in Starbucks for a caffeine refuel and catch-up before setting off. Boy, I needed that caffeine and I wish I’d had that chocolate croissant for the sugar before I got back in the van.

The boss drives his van like an absolute maniac.  He is a man possessed. You know all those jokes about ‘white van man’? All true.

‘Are you going to stop?’


‘Um, it’s a red light.’

‘Oh, yeah.’

‘Can you slow down?’



‘Can you pull back from that little old lady?’


And so on, all the way there. Down the motorway, along winding roads and hairpin bends. He is a nutter. So much for my relaxing day trip. Anyway, we got there in one piece, legs wobbling and looked around the job. Beautiful area and it was lovely to be out in the countryside. A couple of hours later and we were back in the van (gulp) and drove home.

I am now officially a back-seat van driver. Just out of curiosity, I had a look at all the other vans on the motorway. Most were going faster than us and most of the drivers were eating, talking on the phone and joshing with their labourer all at the same time, so maybe the boss wasn’t all that bad.

We popped in to another quote before I was dropped off home and I passed the time waiting in the van by flicking through a builder supplies catalogue. I’ve picked out the waterproof jacket I want and a possible new pair of boots (sadly only in grey or black). I’m toying with the idea of a reflective vest. The boss just sighed when I told him.

I’m not really getting the hang of this builder look, am I? When I worked last weekend, I put my pile of newspapers on the dashboard before we drove to the job. I get the feeling he wasn’t very impressed to have his usual Sun replaced with the Guardian and Times or when I pulled out my lippy for a quick touch-up…

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