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16 October 2014

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Clare Woodward: Around the Bend

Around the Bend

By Clare Woodward
February 2004, Cardiff
A digital story from Capture Wales

Where's the car-ma?

Clare, a learner-driver, is searching frantically for her karma on the roads.

"After years of learning to drive, due to living on a refugee camp on an island with no roads; in Paris and London; in Abu Dhabi with local wild driving habits and ridiculously cheap and numerous taxis, I arrived back in Cardiff and realised that life without wheels in the UK is not feasible. So, time to get a licence.

Oh if it were only that easy. How do all these people do it? Doing three things at once and carrying on an intelligent conversation. Lee, my driving instructor, tries to be patient, controlled and understanding as I race towards junctions, stall the car, cross lines in the middle of the road. But it's proving to be difficult.

Where am I going wrong? Why can't I do this? If only I'd done it years ago when I was young and fearless. Now I tense up as I pass parked cars and find myself drifting off mentally into faraway places when I should be looking at the traffic lights ahead. Reading my highway code sends me to sleep, and how are you meant to drive when there's rain running down all the windows?

Roundabouts, junctions, three-point-turns and reversing: mirror, signal, position, speed - a mantra running through my head, but where's the karma? If I could only be calmer..."

Please tell us about yourself.
I've lived and worked overseas as a language teacher and trainer in a variety of places for the last fifteen years. I came back to Wales in the summer of 2003 with my family and am working at the University of Wales as e-learning developer, and coming to terms with life in Wales.

What's your story about?
The horrors I'm having learning to drive, which is proving to be more difficult than I'd imagined. I think it's an experience that a lot of people could identify and sympathise with.

What did you enjoy about the workshop?
The great humour of the team; the clear instruction given; the friendliness of the participants and the generous food vouchers.

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