Carry on camper van
- 16 May 06, 03:21 PM
LONDON - Hello I'm Paul Fletcher, one half of "Fletch and Ricco" - we'll be the most regular contributors to this World Cup blog.
Our blog starts for real when we leave England for Germany on 7 June, but don’t for a moment think that we haven’t already been busy.
“Ronny,” said Ronny, “has a saying for everything.” And he really wasn’t joking.
“If it's clear grab a gear”, “Brakes to slow, gears to go” and “More paint, more danger”, are just a selection of Mapes' wisdom.
We met at a car park off the A3 south of London early in the morning and for the next few hours learnt how to drive the Ronny way.
Of course, as all instructors who have been round the block a time or two well know, the key to underlining you own skills is best achieved by highlighting the numerous flaws of those you are teaching.
Martin and I each drove for a few miles - I simply wasn’t very good, Martin had a touch of the boy racer about him.
Then Ronny took over - smooth corners, vanishing points and optimum sight lines. Honest, it was a joy to behold.
I’d picked the mobile home up the day before and spent ages looking at it before plucking up the courage to climb in and drive.
The 2.8 litre Fiat Ducato, for those of you in the know, is huge, especially given that we got the last one left. How does this affect the size? Because it is disabled converted and, with its huge shower space at the back, stretches for an impressive 6.3 metres.
Being a mini driver, the motor home seemed huge but Ronny was full of reassuring words and handy clichés that soon put me at ease.
We lunched at another car park, this one over looking the North Downs, and ate our bacon butties surrounded by police driving instructors and people walking their dogs.
Ronny then took us for a spin on the M25, explaining the true art of overtaking and the merits of triangle and diamond formations (don’t ask).
By the time we shook hands and bade our farewells to Ronny in mid-afternoon I felt as though I was well on the way to taming the monster.
Of course, we drive on the left in England. . .