Saturday, 16 April 2011

Driving Miss Daisy

I passed my driving test six weeks after my 17th birthday. I think I first drove a car on my 16th birthday – just forwards and backwards on my parents’ (very short) drive. Then my brother occasionally took me driving on an abandoned airfield before it was legal for me to be on a public road as a learner driver. As a teenager, driving represented freedom to me. It still does.

I was so determined to pass that driving test and was fortunate to have a good driving instructor. He not only taught me how to drive, he taught me how to pass the test. These two things might be the same but sometimes, looking at other road users, I do wonder.

So I have had a full driving licence for many more years than I didn’t have one. With dx I found out lots of legal stuff including that I had to notify DVLA of my condition. I dutifully did so and was hugely upset to receive a letter saying my licence was being withdrawn. It barely softened the blow to know it would be replaced with a short period driving licence which runs for 3 years.

There are two awful things about this short period licence. Firstly, I hate the fact that, along with the new paper licence, they have provided me with a new photocard but kept the same very old photo. I don’t look like that person any more. I have current photos on my Blue Badge card, on my bus pass, even on my Cinema Exhibitors’ Association card – this latter is fantastic and enables me and a friend to see a film and only have to pay for one ticket, the friend does have to carry my popcorn though.

Secondly, and worse, my short period driving licence expires in exactly 18 months time. According to their letter, DVLA will send me forms to reapply for my driving licence three months before it expires. I see no reason why it won’t be renewed and am resigned to the probability of getting another short period licence. I really hope I can persuade them to let me have an updated photo though.

Anyway, I was looking at the licence today because it fell out of my bag. The thought of having to apply to renew it every three years for the rest of my life reminded me of something.

Long bdx, several years ago, I was asked about my health in an audition. It was for a very physical show and the company needed to know whether an actor was suddenly going to announce or suffer from a back or other problem that might limit their ability to do the job. I declared that I was incredibly healthy and virtually never ill. It was true at the time.

Things have changed. As I looked at myself hooked up to a 24hr ECG monitor as part of my screening to go onto a new drug trial study, I thought I will never be able to say that again.

Then the idea popped into my head that there might be a cure for MS in the future. I could be a spritely old lady leaping around on stage. I don't want to be a Miss Daisy being driven around because no insurance company will touch me, DVLA won't give me a licence or MS takes away my freedom.  I've been a driving force most of my life. I intend to continue to be one.


  1. I think its wonderful that you are writing a blog Toots. In fact, I think you are wonderful too. Keep at it and keep fighting. Much love xx

  2. I agree with La Chat Noir ... you are wonderful! Your blog is gently insightful. You are an inspiration Toots :-) x

  3. Thank you both. I am blushing *red as beetroot*


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