like I've told you, on the past Sunday had my first "Tank learning day", went over to Juniper Leisure to be instructed and with the help of Ed Francis and The Mighty Jingles have a Vlog type of video as a resume of the day for you:
It was a enriching experience, the Staff at Juniper Leisure are formidable and had plenty of fun as well, breaking my main instructor (a veteran) into smiling while he was trying to keep himself serious for the camera, and when my second instructor hugged me so hard in amazement after I sang to him in Klingon. And Oh my, Oh my... The owner of the place, Robi is such a pool of knowledge! He is a kind and simple men who has packed 30 years of experience on working in this type of vehicles and spent as much time as I could observing him working. Much respect.
I'm being taught the whole "art" and we started with first things first, they took me to drive the FV432s to get familiarized with tracked vehicles, these APCs are the perfect start before jumping into tanks.
At the beginning was a bit unsure, it had been years since I drove anything serious and made a couple mistakes but immediately corrected them as my instructor, Nigel kept pointing them out. When finally got the hang of it and the controls became natural had to keep my tears inside, a mixture of happiness and sadness. As my second instructor kept telling positive words of how flawlessly I was driving through the intercoms, jokingly told him "It pains to know I was born for this but unfortunately got the "wrong" thing between my legs" he, a Royal Navy veteran firmly touched my shoulder and around these words he answered "I've served alongside woman and all of them were as worthy as man, you are no less." That brought some appease.
Apparently was told to Ed Francis I'm a natural at it and a huge level of trust was given, they allowed me to drive on my first day without an instructor. Ed says he never saw this happening before but I don't really understand the magnitude of it. I just drove as was told and trusted my commander completely, if he told me to drive into the ditch I would have done so. And trust me, Nigel tested that! Also was pleasing to see Robi trusting enough to give his back while I approached to park the APC right next to him as he did some minor maintenance on the Abbot.
Will be back on next week, they will evaluate if I have what it takes to become an instructor and will be driving the Chieftain Mk IV!
I 100% recommend everyone to go over Juniper Leisure and experience it yourself!
They have Quads, FV432s, Abbots, Chieftain Mk IV and soon a Stormer for you to drive and a naaffy where the ladies cook and have food and refreshments! :)
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A extra insight about the "tank learning"...
I'm currently being taught how to drive and perform maintenance in tracked vehicles not just because will be driving the "Baroness" FV3805 but because I and a few other people want to prove that it can be done.
Last Saturday I went over to the Friends of The Tank Museum Annual General Meeting, sat with their Trustees, Chairmans, Secretary, Council Members, President Col. (ret'd) J. Longman and museum director, Richard Smith.
And although already meet some of these people previously, Ed Francis wanted also to show them the woman behind the FV3805 to the remaining ones.
We spoke of reports, matters arising and updates and gave them advices/ideas that I've had kept in my mind for some time but just never had the opportunity to tell.
One of the matters arising that we talked about is that currently there is a concerning age gap in tank museums, knowledgeable people on this "department" are mostly a aged breed and there is barely no one to substitute them. People like David Fletcher unfortunately wont be around forever and this is starting to concern the board.
Things would be less problematic if the "Old school" would be more receptive to having the younger generation in their circle and matters become worse if that young-ling is a women. Not saying they are machist but this is the exact same type of mentality I've faced when started producing content for World of Tanks.
I'm the first girl/women that did it and 3 years ago our community mentality wasn't very welcoming, although (and this is the important bit) you were curious about it and allowed me to flourish!
And not bragging but feel like I've opened the door for others. I'm very pleased that nowadays we are matured enough to not have players typing things like "girls are not meant to play tanks, GTFO!" on the new lasses like I had. And from what I've read from the messages some of these girls send me seeking for advice, they are like does in the headlight, inexperienced and wouldn't be able to take it, but I can.
I believe that the "Old School" just needs to be shown that yes, someone younger and yes, a women can do and learn as much or better. I'm extremely focused and passionate about this subject and absorbing everything that is being thrown at by the right people and taking the right steps, that includes getting an education level in the matter. Give time, I will bend and charm them.