By now it was too late to change the date of the test so I kept going with Steve. He made no notes, gave me no paperwork, no booking card, no complaints procedure, no information on cancellations etc. he had no resources, no alternative ways of explaining things to me.
Two more days of 5.5 hours (I was allowed one break on the Monday, lucky me), more loops around Colchester, one more hour in total of manoevre practice.
My test was booked on the Tuesday. Steve turned up the hour before and we drove straight to the test centre (ten minutes away) where we parked on the road outside the centre until my test ( about forty minutes of staring at the centre and discussing which were the horrible examiners). I bay parked, badly and with Steve having to use the dual control brake twice and went in. I was lucky, I got a test route by my house and on Steve's loop. I failed on lane changing. Probably because my left hand wing mirror was pointing towards the car and I was so nervous about all the stuff I just knew I didn't know.
Wailing, gnashing of teeth. Never mind said Steve, book another test as soon as possible, you are a brilliant driver you will pass next time. Test booked 23rd June, major stress, major pressure, more loops of Colchester, more gossip. By this time I was so stressed I could barely think straight.
Failed. On moving off (funny the two times I had done this with Steve wasn't enough) and meeting other cars ('just push on through,'said Steve, 'its a small car'. I had no idea who had right of way and the examiner called me dangerous). Please can I have some more practice on that, I beg, 'sure', 'whoops, I forgot, maybe next time, just remind me' etc. Third test booked, 9th July. 56 hours of tuition in total. Why don't you try Clacton said Steve every lesson. So I tried it for two lessons, but as it took forty minutes to get there and back, a two hour lesson was quickly eaten up. Switched back to Colchester.
Failed again. Went down a road I had never been before (we had only done about forty percent of colchester), obscured speed signs- failed on changes of speed. Also approached a roundabout where the straight on exit was slightly to the right of 12oclock. Steve said any roundabout where the exit was past 12 needed to be taken in the right lane. On this roundabout everyone goes in the left lane to go straight on, so I automatically did that. Then I remembered what Steve had said about being in the right hand lane and switched back. Fail on that roundabout, serious fault.
Plus I got told off for continually going too slowly (if there is one line of parked cars then you need to go at 20mph said Steve, two lines then you need to go at 10mph. Except on wide roads where there is loads of space and everyone else is going at 30mph of course, but that is the bit he failed to mention, even when taking me on those roads, too busy gossiping and bitching about his pupils, including a 'poof' that he had taught a few years back).
My husband then started taking me out in our own car and he was shocked by how little I knew and how dangerous I was. Flustered, easily confused, filled with all those wrong teachings so he started agitating to change instructor.
I found a lovely lady who was happy to teach me in my own car. She turned up with a huge book of laminated roundabouts, paper to take notes, a booking card etc, she constantly offered feedback and explanations to me. Every lesson I felt like I was learning something and she worked with me to find all the holes in my knowledge and fill them. I already had another test booked and was feeling much more confident after eight hours with her. She helped me get the mirror signal manoevre routine (yep, hadn't been taught that either, explained where I had to look when I was going around roundabouts, helped me stop coming to a complete stop at all give way lines, even if the road ahead was empty.