Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Dashed hopes

My dad never passed a driving test. When he began to drive it was enough to stay alive on the road with provisional licences long enough to claim the full driving licence. He was very angry when, in one of the periodic updates of the licencing system, his right to ride motorbikes and drive steam rollers was taken away from him. He sent a letter to, what was then, the Ministry of Transport. His argument was simple.  He wrote: I never passed a test to drive anything so, if I'm allowed to drive anything I should be allowed to drive everything. The Ministry took no notice of his flawless logic.

Eight months ago I began the process of swapping my UK driving licence for a Spanish one. I used a local driving school as the intermediary. Three weeks ago the school phoned to say they needed my UK driving licence in a hurry. Yesterday they telephoned me again. "Is my licence ready?" I asked. "Pop by the office to pick it up" was the answer.

As I drove to their office today I became wistful. I've had a UK driving licence since I was 16*, well over 40 years. From red covered booklets to the current plastic cards. Not having a UK licence would be odd. I also knew the Spanish would have taken away my right to drive minibuses. We old Brits got to drive minibuses as a Brussels concession. It's not that I'm keen to drive minibuses but losing rights is never a good thing.

In the end I was mightily disappointed. All I got was a piece of card. A temporary substitute for my UK licence. The real one, the new Spanish one, should be available by mid April.


*When I was 16 it was possible to get a licence to drive a three wheeler. My father was keen that I didn't die on a motorbike so I became the proud owner of a Reliant Regal similar to the one in the photo.

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