Arabella turned 17 last September and so became eligible to sit for her driver’s licence. But as she hadn’t completed the 120 hours of driving under supervision, she couldn’t book in for the test.
And six months later she still can’t because we’re only up to 102 hours. Eighteen hours to go and half of them have to be night hours.
She’s bored with the process and annoyed because all her friends seem to have had no trouble clocking up the required number of hours and are now flinging their newly acquired independence in her face by making it very obvious they have their licence – nothing sinister, she’s just feeling left out. And so she’s nagging me all the time to take her driving.
I wish I could say I was willing. But I’m not enjoying this process and neither is Carl. It’s a great source of marital tension as to whose turn it is to take her driving. That’s because she cannot take criticism. She’ll swerve towards a car almost colliding with it and I’ll gently but vocally yell, ‘Too close, move over.’ And she’ll scream back at me, ‘You can’t do that to me mum. Don’t you know I’m stressed enough as it is? Can’t you speak to me in a normal voice?’
‘I would Arabella but you’re making it difficult. Alfie’s in this car too you know and he’s precious cargo.’
‘Well I wish he wasn’t. I don’t like him being in the car because he’s annoying.’
‘He is not and he’s not doing anything to you.’
‘That’s hardly a crime Arabella and you were the most offending whistler of everyone in this family. You wouldn’t stop not even if we begged.’
‘Well it’s distracting.’
‘Yes, and they’ll be plenty to distract you every time you get behind the wheel so you’d better get used to it.’ And then we continue on in silence with just a little mellow whistling coming from the back seat but then I yell, (forgetting her plea to keep my tone moderated, ‘What are you doing?’
‘What?’ she screams back.
‘Where do you think you’re going? You should have turned right back there.’
‘You should have told me mum. How am I supposed to know where I’m going.’
‘We’re going over the harbour bridge. You follow the signs that say, ‘bridge’.’
‘Dad gives me 300 metres notice before I have to turn and you never give me any warning. You just sit there screaming at me once I’ve gone past the turn.’
‘You’ve been in Sydney all your life. You know where we’re going. You need to concentrate. Pull over here and we’ll have to turn around.’
‘I can’t do it. I can’t drive with you in the car. You get me so stressed.’
‘Arabella, without a licence you have to have me in the car.’
‘Well I’d rather be with dad. He doesn’t yell at me and he tells me where I’m going.’
‘Well I’d like him to trade places with me too.’
‘I’d just rather drive with dad and not have Alfie either.’
‘Fine. Wait until your father has time to take you driving and let’s see how long it takes you to complete your log book.’ And we continue on in silence until my next outburst.
Carl and I have come to a decision. We’re bringing in a third party. Arabella’s final 18 hours will be supervised by a professional.
When you come in from an afternoon of supervising Arabella’s driving, you don’t need to be preparing a challenging meal. Here is a family meal that can be made quickly, simply and cheaply using just a few ingredients. It’s called Puttanesca and is made with tomatoes, olives and capers. Originally it was called ‘Working Girl’s Pasta’ or ‘Whore’s Pasta’ and no one is really sure why. Traditionally it is served with spaghetti.
Spaghetti with Puttanesca Sauce:
Degree of Difficulty: 2/5
- 2 tbspns olive oil
- 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 cup pitted and stuffed green olives, sliced
- 1 cup semi-dried tomatoes, sliced
- 2 tbspns salted capers, rinsed and drained
- 800g tinned tomatoes
- 1 cup basil leaves
- 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 400gm spaghetti
- freshly grated parmesan cheese to serve
Heat a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and the garlic, being careful not to let the garlic burn. When the garlic becomes fragrant add the olives, semi-dried tomatoes and capers. Stir until fragrant then add the tinned tomatoes. Simmer for 20 minutes then add the basil and pasley and stir until softened.
Meanwhile, heat a large saucepan of water over high heat. When boiling add 1 tsp salt and the pasta. Cook until al dente.
Serve pasta in warmed bowls topped with sauce and finished off with some parmesan cheese.
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