Thursday, August 30, 2012
With a Little Help From Our Friends
Our friends Nigel and Barbara heard through the grapevine that we were looking for transportation this summer. We had told a few folks we were looking for a car to rent or buy and we expected to spend our first few weeks here, driving around in a rental car and looking at "beaters". They offered to let us use "Lily of Laguna" for the next several weeks, free of charge except that I must buy them a pint of beer when I see them next. Well, folks, that's generous beyond words and I express my thanks to them for this kind offer.
There is one small hitch, however. I needed to customize myself to driving a car with right hand drive. In the photo you can see the steering wheel is situated where it's not supposed to be. Some sort of strange mix up must have occurred at he Renault factory.
It's not as hard to drive as you might expect. Soon enough one gets used to steering from the passenger seat. The clutch and gas pedal and brake are all in their proper places, thank you very much. But the gearshift lever is on the wrong side, by that I mean it's not attached to the door where I can use my right arm and hand to shift. The transmission is in the center of the vehicle, just like the American and French cars you are used to, but the driver is sitting on the other side. I am getting used to being ambidextrous, but it requires a certain amount of thought and planning. I'm taking it slow, driving on country roads, not venturing into the big cities, getting use to the whole idea.
We do enjoy driving around pretending to be British, and the French trapped behind me and waiting in line to pass, are cursing the English, not us Yankees. We wave and shout "Cheerio" and "Bloody good, old boy" just to keep up appearances. To Nigel and Barbara, we say "Frightfully kind of you, old chap".