dumplingview

I am extremely happy to tell you that I have passed my driving test! The process has not been easy and has never felt straightforward, but at last I’ve got there! The main issue is that my spacial awareness is somewhat skewy, and this makes things like road positioning and reverse manoeuvres rather tricky. I’ve failed two tests already (and on both occasions reverse manoeuvres were the issue). But John, my driving instructor, a man of genuine calmness and good humour, has lent me the confidence to stick at it. Meanwhile Mairi, my next door neighbour, has been enormously kind and incredibly encouraging. With the patience of Job, Mairi (who is a completely natural driver) has determinedly sought ways to make reversing make some sort of sense to my messed up brain. Well, we finally cracked it and I managed to get through the test yesterday.

I don’t need to tell you what a massive difference this will make to me. Driving is a really important milestone in my post-stroke return to independence, and just being able to get about on my own means such a lot. After the test yesterday, I got in my wagon, drove a few miles to Gartochan, and took Bruce for a walk up Duncryne (a hill known in these parts as “The Dumpling”). It felt pretty good to see this view.

ONWARD!

147 thoughts on “milestone

  1. Belatedly, congratulations! I’ve chosen not to learn to drive due to my eyesight & for environmental reasons but I fully appreciate how major this is for you, as part of your post-stroke recovery and in view of where you live! Enjoy the practicality of being vehicularly mobile!

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  2. With over 140 responses of congratulations, you don’t need another, necessarily, but I would still like to give it. Your response to your stroke has been inspiring and heartwarming. I believe it helps all of us to believe that we, too, can overcome difficulties. Thank you for sharing with us your guts and your daring, your grit and your determination.

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  3. I originally found your blog some time after your stroke, probably more than a year after. The first post I read gave no clue. As I often do with blogs that seem interesting, I immediately went back and started to read from the beginning. I was enjoying it immensely, and then I reached the event. I was shocked, concerned, and encouraged all at once. I had only read that one post-stroke entry. From that one post I had no idea that anything had happened, that many aspects of your life had fundamentally changed. And yet, I had read a post from after, and so I knew that some things had not changed and that you were still out there knitting and writing. I read through your acute recovery and all the battles large and small that you have shared. Over the years I’ve read along as you have fashioned a different life with new limitations and new freedoms too. I fretted over you getting rid of your lovely shoes that were no longer practical. I’m a scientist/academic so I felt deep sadness when you packed up your office. I realized at some level that my concerns and worries for you were really reflecting my own selfish concerns and worries for myself: what if something similar happened to me? what if I had to leave behind all I’ve worked for? what if I chose to walk away? Still, watching you continue and work and establish a new career gave me courage to continue on. If everything blew up tomorrow, there was still hope that I could find a new way. I didn’t have to live in fear of everything going away. You were finding a way, I could too. I’ve been happy to continue to read your posts and see you continue to recover even though it has been slow and hard at times. I am so happy to have followed you here and on Instagram to meet Bruce and see the new house. And now you have reached this milestone, and not without more patience and hard work. How can I give up on my relatively easy path and bemoan my small hindrances? I admire your writing and designs and I find your honest depiction of your life inspiring. Congratulations and thank you.

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  4. Congratulations! This is a tremendous accomplishment. I am happy for you. Freedom and independence are such gifts-hard earned but gifts nonetheless.
    Enjoy.

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  5. Those of us who have never failed a driving test never think about it until someone like you brings it to our attention. Thanks for the example you set! Stay safe!!!

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  6. Congratulations, your determination brings rewards and progress, I am very impressed because you never give up facing difficult issues. Happy driving, enjoy the freedon, but please take doble care, one has to have in mind that other drivers coul not react as normally, because many people are using their mobile phones while driving and causing a lot of traffic acidents. Perhaps not in Scottland, here in German that is getting a big problem. But it seems that you are living in a calm and beautiful place, no crazy traffic zone. Happy journeys!

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  7. Well well done, Kate! That first drive on your own with Bruce must have been fantastic.
    Thanks for sharing your stroke-related struggles with us as well as your knitting and other work. Every time I hear of someone who has had a stroke, I pass on the most important message from your time in hospital: even when you don’t succeed in making the movement you want (or any movement), the work creating new connections in your brain is going on, so the effort’s not going to waste and it *is* worth keeping trying, from the very first moment onwards.

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  8. Congratulations to you! Having been with you since the stroke, I celebrate each and every victory of your road to recovery (not least of which, of course, is each wonderful day you make). xxx, Kathy

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  9. I also have somewhat wonky spatial awareness and would like to learn to drive, but haven’t plucked up the nerve yet. You give me hope! Congratulations. I bet Bruce is delighted. :)

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  10. What great good news! Bruce looks extremely pleased and who wouldn’t be to be with you and to be in that beautiful landscape. Congratulations!

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  11. Congratulations! Revel in your expanded horizons.

    (I thought of you this past weekend, when an American reality competition television show — “The Amazing Race” — made a stop in Scotland, specifically the Shetland Islands. One of their tasks involved herding some very springy and sprightly sheep! Such a beautiful part of the world you live in.)

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  12. Congratulations! Enjoy your new found freedom. I have to tell you, sometimes I get lost sitting and staring at your photos, daydreaming of having so much beauty surrounding me. I love my little yard, my trees and flowers, but some how it’s just not the same. Maybe some day I’ll get the chance to visit.

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  13. Damn, woman. At the risk of sounding like a fawning fan-girl, you are SUCH an inspiration. You literally make me want to find a mountain so I can climb it. (Just not at this very moment – I have a cup of tea to finish….maybe later.)

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  14. Congratulations! I didn’t get mine until I was 50! Long story- but it was so wonderful as a visual artist to be able to load up all my gear and go! I’ve driven across North America a couple of times and taken the dog! Congratulations! This is major!

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  15. What grand news, Kate!

    Many congratulations to you.

    (Funny thing…I am never sure that you receive the messages I leave here, although I think that I have got myself “registered” with the required details.)

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  16. Well done…drive safely.
    Please use photoshop to hide/remove your number plate from your blog as someone somewhere will use the info to clone your car….sorry I’m such a pessimist but I work in the motor trade.
    Brilliant news, hello freedom!

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  17. Oh Kate, Bravo for you!!!!!! So glad you did not give up. I knew it was just a matter of time before you would share this milestone with us :-)

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  18. This is indeed a milestone for you, Kate. Loss of independence is always terrible no matter what the reason but then to regain it is truly marvelous!! You are so fortunate to have a good neighbor like Mairi to encourage you. .Drive On!!

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  19. That’s wonderful, Kate! Quite the accomplishment and testament to your perseverance . Cheers for your helpful instructor and kind neighbor! What a stupendous view from the Dumpling…

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  20. That’s wonderful news. I know what that independence means. I’ve been without a car for about a year, in an area where everybody drives. We are not set up for walking or biking safely. Now I have enough money for an old frumpy car, and I can’t wait. I’m really glad that you don’t have to wait to be taken where you want to go, and I’ll be thinking of you when I’m getting around on my own again. Yippee!

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  21. Congratulations. I didn’t sleep for 2 nights before my driving test – I was so nervous. It doesn’t matter how competent a driver you are – it’s still possible to fail the test on the day. But it’s such a great feeling when you pass. Well done.

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  22. Congratulations! Took me two attempts back in the day. Reversing and speeding. My spacial awareness still lets me down, as the caved in side of my car will attest. You are remarkable!

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  23. congratulations it will make things so much easier for you and make you feel so much better if you are like me you wont go far to start with, then i got a job that i had to deliver the rural mail so had to drive every couple of days till I got confidence. take it at your own pace and enjoy

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  24. Hey Bruce, I thought for a moment Kate meant that you had passed your driving test! I am pleased she is using her new found skill for the proper purpose of going for walks with you. :)

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  25. Wonderful news! When I got my license and drove around the city for the first time I cranked the radio and sobbed with relief and joy at the freedom now afforded me. I can only imagine that you felt similarly.

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  26. It’s wonderful news to hear that you have passed the driving test milestone. You have certainly worked hard to achieve your goals, and I’m glad you were able to celebrate success with such a gorgeous view!

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  27. Wonderful news! Just knowing you have a bit of indepedence has to feel so good…as good as that photo of Bruce on “the Dumpling”. A milestone indeed.

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  28. Kate when I began reading your blog a while back, I knew immediately that you had tenacity….. look at the patterns you create and develop and you inspire in so many ways but I have added BRAVE AND COURAGE to that. Bravo on obtaining your licence and enjoy, enjoy!!

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  29. Oh Kate, what a change this will bring into your life. Glad you can explore the world around your home on your own terms. I’m challenged to knit with more than one color of yarn and you’ve already knocked that out AND designed your own patterns to boot. Travel in safety, embrace challenges and keep sharing your progress. We’re on the road with you. Congrats!

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  30. Congratulations, it will make a big difference to your life. I have been reading your blog and really enjoy it, I love to observe all the knitting in programs on TV, especially Shetland.
    I love knitting but I’m so slow, I get discouraged. But nothing makes me happier than walking into a wool shop and seeing all the different colours and textures and buying some. So will keep trying.
    Kind wishes
    Wendy

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  31. Congratulations Kate, third time is always the charm. My mum passed her test on her third go too and it made such a difference for her (she was then barely ever at home, always going out for jaunts in her car around the Suffolk countryside) as always you are such an inspiration, when it’s not your knitting it’s your perseverance, and not giving up when things are hard.
    That’s such a great view of The Dumpling, hope you both had a smashing walk x

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  32. that is absolutely fantastic!!! Well done. I took 2 tests in the UK and failed both, only managed to pass in Australia where it’s ridiculously easy (I passed 4 days before giving birth to twins, failed to release the handbrake before setting off on my test….still did it). I have always had spatial awareness issues and consequently had a few reverse parking adventures, not to say interesting rescues at failure to start on hills….. but hey. I drive. And now so do you – congratulations! Flippin marvellous! xxxx

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  33. I am happy for you! You continue to inspire me with your determined nature. When I had multiple leg fractures and a 3/4 year on crutches, I read a lot about your climb uphill. You gave me strength. Congrats and thanks.

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