Feeling Proud?

Have you ever done something which others might consider insignificant but that actually made you feel really proud of yourself? Like the first time, as a kid, that you managed to tie your own shoelaces; everyone learns how do to it and it’s second nature now but, at the time, you could have burst with pride. When you do things like that as a child everyone congratulates you on a job well done which adds to your sense of satisfaction but, as an adult, the best you’ll get is a slightly quizzical look and ‘and?……’.

Have you ever done something which others might consider insignificant but that actually made you feel really proud of yourself? Like the first time, as a kid, that you managed to tie your own shoelaces; everyone learns how do to it and it’s second nature now but, at the time, you could have burst with pride. When you do things like that as a child everyone congratulates you on a job well done which adds to your sense of satisfaction but, as an adult, the best you’ll get is a slightly quizzical look and ‘and?……’. Why is that? If we do something that beats our own teeny tiny inner demons, even if it’s something that others do without really thinking about it can’t we, at least, have a smile and a ‘well done’ as a reward?

BravoIt’s probably because we don’t tell anyone about it, we realise that no-one else will really be interested in our little accomplishment, let alone proud of us, so we just keep it to ourselves and our quiet satisfaction diminishes just a little. I’d really like to change that so I invite you all to share your proud moment here and I promise that I will give you the congratulations that you deserve.

In the interests of getting the ball rolling I’ll share with you the reason that I had to be silently proud yesterday…….

As many of you know, I have no sense of direction, to the point that, at the age of 50, I got lost in a service station in Italy and am incapable of going anywhere without the age of my trusty (if slightly bossy and irritating) SatNav. Yesterday, I met some friends for lunch in Villefranche Sur Mer which is about 45 minutes drive from where I live and, as usual, before I set off, I entered the address into the SatNav. I’d been there before so I had an idea where I was going but, with me, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

DrivingSo, I set off and all was going well until the Satnav lady started interrupting my favourite song with a bizarre instruction about turning left. This would not have been amiss if there was actually a left turning ahead but there wasn’t….I was in a tunnel??? What the bloody hell was she going on about? I figured out, in the end, that another road joined the tunnel and I should keep in my lane and follow the bend which inclined to the left. All of this took brain power which could have been more productively used concentrating on maneuvering my car through said tunnel. She confused me again by telling me to turn left 300 metres ahead, then immediately turn sharp right. Now, I can happily visualise one metre (sort of) but 300? That was going to take some thinking about and, what did she mean by immediately…..??? The upshot of this was that I turned left too early, found no sharp right immediately after and had to take a small detour, all the while praying that Satnav lady would hurry up and reset herself…

Anyway, for the journey home, I decided that she got on my nerves so I was going to ignore her and just follow the signposts. I admit I was nervous when I set off but there is only one road out of the town and I managed to follow it without incident so I considered that a promising start. Shortly afterwards I saw a sign to Monaco, excellent! I eagerly followed the road which got steeper and narrower as time went on. Eventually, when I was panicking in case I met a bicycle coming the other way, let alone another car, I came to a crossroads and, lo and behold, there was another signpost to lead me home – joy of joys!

HuhIt was at this point I realised that, although I had come in on the coastal road, I now appeared to be on a mountain road…..right, well, not to worry, just follow the signs. I did and arrived in Monaco (hurrah!) only to find myself stuck in a huge queue of traffic. Rather than sit there for ages, needing a wee (knew I should have gone before I left the restaurant), I decided to turn off the main road and head off back into the mountains. I came across a  signpost which directed me to a village that I recognised and I knew that, if I got there, I could find my way home….

I DID IT!!! I found my way home, through the mountains, with out the aid of Satnav lady!!! This, I realise, would be of little import to those of you with even the vaguest sense of direction but I was really proud of myself :O)

So, there you go, I’ve told you mine, now you tell me yours; we all deserve a bit of praise for our little achievements ;O)

Lisa

x

 

Size Does Matter

Although I seemed to be sweating profusely and had developed an irritating and uncontrollable jiggle in my left leg I didn’t think I was doing too badly, all things considered.  

When I lived in the UK I didn’t really think too much about driving; I have a love for sports cars and their size was never a consideration, only the size of the engine. My last car was a V8, had a 0-60 speed of 4.6 seconds and I absolutely loved it! I thought about buying something similar over here (I live in the South of France) and then I drove over here and thought better of it very, very quickly. I now drive a Fiat 500 and have no plans to change any time soon. Why? You may well ask!

As I had never driven abroad and never driven a left hand drive car I thought it prudent to ask a friend to go with me the first time I ventured out in my little red Fiat. He, assuming that, as I could drive,  I could drive anywhere, took me through the centre of Monaco. That, in itself, wasn’t so bad once I got used to being on the wrong side of the road and having to constantly look in my side mirrors to make sure I wasn’t going to hit the kerb, go over the white line or have a collision with one of the thousands of scooters that wanted to overtake me on both the left and the right sides. Although I seemed to be sweating profusely and had developed an irritating and uncontrollable jiggle in my left leg I didn’t think I was doing too badly, all things considered.

Monaco place des moulins
The road in question

That was until we arrived at the entrance to one of Monaco’s many car parks. Don’t get me wrong, I love Monaco; it’s honestly one of my favourite places in the World BUT I swear that a couple of the car parks were designed by someone who has a pathological hatred of  motorists and/or cars. The one that my friend had chosen for me was in the middle of a single lane road (the scooters were still over-taking on both sides) which, to my uneducated mind, was very narrow. This could have been the panic setting in as buses use this road every day seemingly without issue. The entrance itself was, again, narrow and at the top of a steep hill, with a bend in the middle……..

I drove in at a snails pace and could feel beads of sweat breaking out on my forehead as I negotiated the entrance. Then it got worse. The car park itself was so tight that the only way I could negotiate some of the turns was to turn the wheel, then reverse and then go forward again. Not only that but the designer, for reasons best known to his demonic self, decided it would be a really good idea to have 8 inch kerbs on both sides….just to make life really interesting! Unfortunately for me, my confidence was waning the deeper into the bowels of the car park (hell) we went and I completely misjudged one of the bends. The result was that there was a very unpleasant sound of metal scraping on concrete. At this point I burst into tears and my friend took over.

Monaco bends
It’s not like Essex!

That was the last time I drove for about 3 months. My little Fiat stayed outside my apartment gathering dust   and I took the bus (if you ever visit this area the bus service is incredibly cheap and efficient). However, one day I was late for an appointment and I had a choice: either I could phone the person I was meeting and tell them that I was delayed OR I could take the car and not the bus would be a lot quicker. I still find it very difficult to have a conversation in French on the phone and, at the time, it was impossible so, I steeled myself and got into my car. As it turned out, it was fine, yes I got lost but that’s nothing unusual for me (as my friends put it, I have no internal GPS) but I arrived for my meeting on time and without incident.

Monaco F1
Don’t know how they do it!

For 3 months I had put off using the car just because of a single incident. I’d let fear come between me and my love of cars (not to mention between me and my independence). To be fair, it took me a while to get used to the mountain roads, I had previously lived in flat, mountainless Essex, but the freedom that my little car brought me felt wonderful. It’s now 2 years on but I still have no intention of buying anything bigger – for me, size does matter!