Perils of being front seat back seat driver

Things have been getting a little testy chez nous, of late.

Well, perhaps not chez nous exactly, but dans notre voiture, to carry on the franglais.

My gammy wing has placed me in the passenger seat of our car, which is not a place I’m used to taking except on high days, holidays and when I’ve had a glass of shandy.

The reason for this is that I am an abysmal passenger. I give back seat drivers a bad name, a trait not uncommon among men, I understand.

We ended our most recent journey in crisp silence, Small But Fierce of Ipswich parking and applying the handbrake with more vim than strictly necessary.


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“Unless you want to walk everywhere, I suggest you shut up and let me drive,” said her Supreme Curliness, who wasn’t joking.

It isn’t that she’s a bad or recklessly fast driver, despite having to attend a speed awareness course recently after attracting the unblinking eye of a speed camera.

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Quite the reverse. When we’re in the car there is usually chatter and it seems that her vocal chords are directly connected to her right foot. The more chat, the less pressure on the accelerator and the greater the queue of traffic piling up behind.

And then there are roundabouts. She’ll come upon a roundabout which is emptier than a tramp’s pocket, come to a halt and only then swivel her little bonce round to see if anything’s coming.

I fear I’m on the losing side here, not least because SBF has a large number of sympathisers among the readers of this column.

“She’s a saint,” one declared to me the other day, eyeing my plastered-up arm and assuming, rightly, that I have become even more of a burden to SBF than usual.

In between curing the lame and the halt and appearing as a vision unto me, Saint SBF has been busying herself preparing for the arrival of the Ginger Ninja today.

It really doesn’t seem possible that he’s been gone for three months, but I suspect parents across the land are saying the same thing.

It will be good to have him back, even though it will double the food bill and seriously increase the giant pairs of shoes left lying around the place index.

But he won’t be idle; he doesn’t know it yet but he’s going to be introduced to my friends Percy Paintbrush and Mr Barley White emulsion. What fun he’ll have! If he does well at that then we’ll move on to a little light DIY, all under my patient and uncritical direction. What can go wrong?

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