I had a letter from the Kent Police yesterday, offering me a chance to take a Speed Awareness Course instead of having my licence endorsed with three penalty points and paying a £100 fine - or the formal option of a court hearing. Their words: If you successfully complete the course you will NOT have 3 penalty points endorsed on your driving licence.
Well! Whether this was their standard policy (and the outcome I should have expected all along), or whether the letter I sent them on 8 February (see my post A tactical mistake on 20 February) had had a good effect, I was being given a chance to go back to school, pay attention, and learn to be a better driver.
I felt so relieved. I'd been worrying about what the Kent Police might actually decide to do with me. Now that worry has been wiped away.
The prospect of a £100 fine had been unwelcome, but the chief financial concern was what my insurance company would think, if the speeding conviction were confirmed. I'd checked my insurance documents. Oh yes, they would most certainly have wanted to know about any such conviction. They'd purse their lips, shake their head sadly - or more likely sternly - and with a scratching noise from their quill pen increase my car insurance premium. Not savagely perhaps, but enough to upset me, to blight my life, to make me join the French Foreign Legion (assuming women can) and Try To Forget. Sacré bleu! It was bad enough to be the Convicted Felon Melford, with three points on my licence written in blood, damning me as a Social Outcast. It was almost the last straw to be reviled as a Bad Insurance Risk as well.
But now there would be no conviction, no transportation for life, and my licence would remain unsullied, a licence as pure as snow, the licence of a woman who had briefly fallen, had been seduced by Villain Speed, but had then stood before her captors - her rescuers - in humility and repentance, and had been rewarded with a chance to redeem herself, to accept corrective re-education, to expiate her sins and spend her remaining days as St Lucy. She would not be burned at the stake as a witch.
What else did the Police letter say? I am of the opinion that your attendance at a Speed Awareness Course will be beneficial to you, which is why this option has been offered. I must emphasise that not all drivers caught speeding are offered this opportunity. Oh thank you, thank you! But there was a warning note: In order to successfully complete your course you MUST show a positive and willing attitude to the course and take part and contribute to the whole course (theory and any practical sessions). If the instructors are not satisfied that you are displaying an appropriate attitude...[your file] will be returned to the Police and they will decide what action to take. So they'd have a fat dossier on me. And if I fell short, if I showed flippancy or arrogance, I'd be in the dock, on trial for my life. And no demure behaviour in court, no fragrant perfume, no sexy wink at the judge would get me off. So I must satisfy the instructors. That's clear.
But I had to get on the course first. The Police had imposed a time limit for booking. I had until 15 March to do it. And I had to complete the course to the instructors' satisfaction by 5 July. I bent the Melford Mind to it. They wanted you to book online, but it wasn't easy. There were glitches. One website didn't agree with another. It was a test of resolve. I had to phone Kent County Council and speak to someone. But now I'm pleased to announce that one sunny afternoon in April I'll be making a grand entrance at a Maidstone conference/wedding venue, Oakwood House.
I will show great attention. I will be a model pupil. I will participate fully. I'll show so much good attitude that there will be declarations of love and offers of marriage. My dossier will be sent to The Palace for a special New Year Honour. I will be the next presenter of Crimewatch UK on TV. Who knows how my good behaviour will be rewarded.
A sunny day in April, in the Garden County of England. A classroom situation. Now what shall I wear?
A lovely flowing dress and wide-brimmed hat? So chic.
The schoolgirl outfit worn by Britney Spears in her video for Hit Me Baby One More Time? Racy.
A Top Gear tee shirt? Ah, perhaps best not.