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The Big L

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Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty.” – Henry Ford

L is for...L is for… lenses, licence, L-plates, and… learning. I must admit I’ve never been particularly keen to learn to drive. In fact, I’m not sure there is any mode of transport I enjoy more than my own two protractile propulsion agents. But.. driving is a pretty handy thing to know how to do, and besides, I’ve found I’m addicted to the process of learning. So I had my first driving lesson on Monday. In contrast to my driving habits, I like to learn as quickly and obsessively as possible, so I’m doing an intensive course. Steering down that rather busy, rather narrow road was probably the scariest thing I’ve done since I saved the cottage from burning down. Clearly I need to do more scary things.

It was a relief when I could dismount (if that is what one does?) and have a nice slow, ambling, pedestrian walk by the river Severn.

My L-plates remind me of this sweet illustration in Mary Thomas’s Knitting Book. I think if we had to wear a great big ‘L’ on our back whenever we were new to something, we’d learn pretty quickly. Still, I would have preferred D-plates.* D for Derya! D for daring, dexterous, and delightful. D for dangerous, like knitting (#100)!

'Learner' Illustration by Margaret Agutter

Learning is a dangerous business. You face your fear of one of the worst Ls: looking like a Loser. But there’s a very easy solution to that, which also begins with ‘L’: Laughter. Laughing at yourself and the silly circumstances is the best thing to do when you trip up. In fact, it’s the only way forward! If there’s something you’ve always dismissed off-hand as unworthy of learning, whether it’s how to neaten your selvedges, or how to write poetry, make some time to try it. Learning Leads to many happy discoveries. Don’t grow old!

I’m off to have lunch now, and practice steering with my plate. Vroom vroom…

P.S. I wanted to thank the Simply Knitting Blog for featuring Laylock. SK was the first magazine I bought when I was learning, and I still have the first issue. :)

* D-plates are used in Wales instead of L-plates. D stands for ‘dysgwr’, which I cannot pronounce.

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16th September, 2009  // Life // tags: , , , , .

3 Comments

  1. Congratulations on the SK mention! Good luck with the driving thing. I didn’t learn until I was 32/33 years old and it was the scariest thing I ever did (well the first two lessons anyway). It soon began to click though, and I’m sure it will for you too.

  2. Lisbeth Whitney says:

    Learning to drive certainly was scary…. for my Mom who had, for many years, a peculiar curl to her fingers obtained from clutching the door handle while teaching her 6 daughters how to handle an old 1960’s VW van on windy highways. I found it exhilarating. She also taught me to knit when I was 8. She felt I should learn by knitting Christmas stockings with bulky yarn, with at least 2 colors, on 3 needles for all 5 sisters and I did. That was scary but I was so proud when finished! ASKIK, the stockings are still being used many decades years later.

    Lisbeth
    Camden, Maine USA

  3. juniperjune says:

    I love that picture of the knitter with the “learner’s permit;” it even sort of looks like she’s holding her needles awkwardly. And hello! I came here through the Twist Collective’s blog & have been lurking a few weeks.


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