On Sunday, I took the plunge and, following garage number 2's advice, took my car out for a long drive. Driving for more than half an hour meant going out of my comfort zone, away from the routes I know well enough to predict which lane to be in and even, for the first time, on to the motorway. Actually, it wasn't the first time. I drove on the motorway once before when the lane I was driving in suddenly turned into a slip road, but was able to get off it at the next exit before panic set in. But this was the first time I had intentionally driven on the motorway, so I armed myself with my trusty TomTom and a trusted friend and on the whole, it went pretty well. We did get a bit lost once and the TomTom did try to send us in the wrong direction at one point (one thing I've learned about these things is that when the voice and the picture contradict each other, you should always trust the picture), but my passenger's comment at the end was, "It wasn't as bad as I expected," so I count that as a success.
We visited the town of Chevreuse, not far from Versailles. The Vallée de la Chevreuse was gorgeous, with the streaks of sunlight streaming through the autumn leaves, and Chevreuse itself is very pretty. We walked past the lavoirs (old wash houses) and climbed the hill to the château, where there was a Breton fête going on to raise money for charity, then had lunch in an old-fashioned crêperie before getting back in the car to brave the journey home. I definitely still find driving stressful, but at least on days like this, the stress is balanced out by a relaxing afternoon somewhere beautiful!