Dragging my carcass out of bed, I walked through the now settled snow to the hotel reception where we met the guys who would be giving is the practical lessons on winter driving. As it happened, both were in my chalet as well, but I walked over early anyway because I’m a swotty student like that.
Our group of five covered things like vehicle checks, how to spot the stuff that hire companies try to cover up, fitting and removing cnow chains and finally a short (20 minutes each, roughly) driving test. The conditions weren’t too bad as the snow blowers and scrapers had been running since morning, but it was still plenty slidey if you weren’t careful – like one of the guys in the other bus who lost a small piece of trim when he sideswiped a snowdrift.
I was the first to drive, and took things perhaps a little slowly but the instructor wasn’t critical. Nat went next as she has come down with an awful flu-ey thing ans just wanted to get done so she could go back to bed. She and Emilia, who went next, both work in Chamonix and are used to driving on the right but not in snow. The final two are new reps who will be working in Val d’Isere and Tignes respectively. Neither had driven on the right before. Or on snow chains. Or in a minibus.
Both did pretty damn well.
It was only three weeks ago that I was dropped into a van with Ian and told to head to Carrefour thirty kilometres away to pick some things up. Now I no longer grapple with the door instead of changing gear and I usually remember to drive on the right. Although I don’t think the course actually taught me anything new, it did help me to pay attention to what I was doing a little more and was definitely worth the time. Besides, I get a certificate and it’s always worth getting those bits of paper!
On the subject of driving, I think most French motorists are latent homosexuals. At least, I’m inferring this from the fact that so many of them are so close to my back end on the roads, they could be giving me colonic irrigation with their radiator fans.