My driving licence expired at 00:01 on the 15th of March, when I was offically 70 years old. Regular readers will know that my online application to renew it, submitted on the 8th of February, has stalled. No new licence has arrived, and a recent enquiry with the authorities returned the answer that they will not investigate anything until 10 weeks have passed.
A friend sent me a link that you can use to check your licence status, and mine showed as ‘Expired’. I could carry on driving on the basis that my renewal has been applied for, but that would mean taking the chance of not being stopped by the police, or being involved in an accident. Sticking to the letter of the law, an expired licence means I would not be driving legally, so my car insurance would be invalid too. That would potentially allow the police to seize my car and impound it.
Not worth the risk.
After 53 years, it feels strange. Strange not to be able to say something like “Just popping down to the shops for some bread”. Strange not to be able to take Ollie to the Vet unless Julie is at home to drive the car.
Just completely strange.
I am lucky. Julie can drive either car, and she only works part-time. But what of single people, or widows and widowers? Anyone reliant on a car in a small place like Beetley who falls victim to the administrative delays of the driving licence authority is sure to be stuck. A four-mile walk to the nearest town on country roads? No thank you. The buses that only run three times a day might be an option, but make sure you don’t miss the last one back in the afternoon.
A taxi each way? At £10 pounds per trip, paying £20 to go into town to buy a £1.60 loaf of bread seems harsh.
Many people live happily without never driving. But in a country village not having access to a car makes life difficult, especially in bad weather.
Looks like I am going to have to completely readjust my thinking for a while.