YOU’RE going where to sit your driving theory test? Inverness?!!!! But that’s miles away. Surely there is one closer. Nope, our son assured us. Not this side of winter. He’d only secured this one through sheer luck and he wasn’t going to miss it, even though it meant three hours each way on the train and an overnight stay in a hostel with a talkative Australian girl in the bunk above.

Despite the easing of Covid restrictions, theory tests are like hen’s teeth made of gold dust and only available when blue moons shine.

Thankfully, he passed it. But the next stage of his motoring journey looks like it’s going to be no less bumpy. There aren’t enough driving instructors to keep up with demand. If he is lucky enough to find lessons, practical tests are fully booked into December.

Parental driving instruction is not an option. We’ve tried that before and let’s just say it never ended amicably. What could Mum possibly know after 35 years behind the wheel?

I admit, the motoring landscape has changed somewhat in those 35 years.

My mum regarded my 17th birthday as a well earned opportunity to relinquish the wheel and enjoy being driven around. She always had the handbrake in her sights, but really our new motoring set-up went pretty smoothly, although we did forget one day that I wasn’t meant to be on the motorway.

One slight issue was that I was learning in a huge old Volvo, one of those big, square tanks that were the size of a small cottage.

It was not the best vehicle in which to sit a test. Apart from the size, the brakes had a nasty habit of locking. Not ideal for emergency stops.

So I saved for some driving lessons and booked in with Jimmy, swapping the tank for a Ford Fiesta.

Jimmy and I got on just swell, although I was always puzzled that he often needed to go to the toilet when we passed a bookie’s.

After a couple of lessons, Jimmy suggested I apply for a cancellation as the original test I had booked was ages away. So I did … and got one for the following week!

This was not part of the plan.

I’d only had four lessons … number five was on the morning of the test. We resolved to look on it as a learning opportunity.

And lots went wrong. I sat for what seemed like an eternity behind a lorry that had its right indicator flashing, before realising the driver was reading the paper and closer inspection would have revealed that the left indicator was jiggered.

Reversing round a corner presented the unusual hazard of a pair of copulating dogs. I didn’t recall mention of this in the Highway Code. Truth be told, I couldn’t recall much about any of the Highway Code.

So it was unsurprising that I struggled when the examiner started showing me signs and symbols. My go-to answer was “stop”. I reckoned that if I could at least persuade him I was a cautious driver, then that would go in my favour.

Soon he was showing me the “men at work sign” and “beware horses”. At last I got some correct.

Perhaps that swung it – I will never know – but I had passed.

I bet Jimmy didn’t have a bet on that.