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Car wars

June 17, 2013

Fathers Day gave my siblings a chance to humiliate me in front of my Sprogs. It is true that I was once the proud owner of a Wolseley 1500 which was held together with papier mâché because I could not afford filler, and true also that I painted it every colour of paint that my father had stored in the garage. What I did not know until yesterday was that pictures of this magnificent machine had survived from over 40 years ago.

One’s authority tends to be undermined when presented with this sort of situation. One cannot claim such an air of superiority and command when aiming to set an example to one’s Sprogs if they have seen pictures of their father driving a car with mottled purple front wings, yellow doors and white stripes over black bonnet. Each panel was a fashion disaster. Did I mention the bitumen?

pPicture of multi coloured car

Probably the best looking Wolseley 1500 in 1973

Amongst the pots of paint in the garage at the time was a tin of bitumen which my father had for preserving the garden fence. As there was quite a bit left over, I used some for the bonnet but it never properly dried. This fact was made evident when a girlfriend at the time leaned on it at a pop festival with fairly unpleasant results. It really is not very good when it comes into contact with white trousers, as was pointed out to me at the time, rather rudely I thought.

With two brothers together in the same room with me for the first time in a number of years, and with all their respective Sprogs also present for a Fathers Day lunch at The Bay Tree in Arundel, it was perhaps asking too much for early family embarrassments to remain secret. So with the revelations about my first car, I felt it was important to remind both of my brothers about events in their early lives which may similarly have escaped the attention of their offspring.

I admit that in the continuing flurry of stories from our respective youths, all thoughts about the benefits if opening a foreign exchange account with Currencies Direct fell by the wayside.

The day had started with That Nice Lady Decorator trying out her new Pimms container, a large bowl shaped container fitted with a tap, which proved so popular that I was sent across the road to the Co-op to buy a second bottle within 30 minutes of the first luncheon arrivals. Those of us who eschewed this particular tipple took advantage of an arrangement I have with The White Hart, the garden of which can be accessed via a gate from our garden, to purchase a few pints of Harvey’s for consumption at ours. Thus, liberally oiled, as it were, we eventually headed out for that late lunch.

One might be forgiven for assuming, as I did, that after a very long build up to lunch and the consumption of an obscene number of bottles of wine at that lunch, that a quiet evening contemplating the events of the day might be welcomed. Not a bit of it, which is why we eventually ended up at the Eagle for Open Mic Night. My only excuse is that it was not my idea and I was an unwilling participant. It was lucky that I was there however, otherwise I would not have been able to intercept the Dancing On Tables Operative from living up to her name in spectacular fashion. Oh, and don’t ask how Sprog 1 came to lose his keys to his car and houses in the river at midnight.

Chris France

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Rev. Jeff permalink
    June 17, 2013 12:46 pm

    Happy memories !!

    My favourite car was the one with no brakes. Was it the Wolsey ? I can vividly recall P.B. and me leaping out and hauling the car back at approaching junctions. I’d be horrified if my kids did something so reckless but at the time it seemed enormous fun.


    • June 17, 2013 1:00 pm

      That was my second car, the Austin A40. Do you remember driving it to that factory job in Aston Clinton with no brakes, and picking the right time to turn off the A41? then, relieved at actually getting there, promptly reversed into a parking space, forgot we had no brakes and ended up in a stream? or was that with PB? I think it was, I think he took the bus after that…


  2. Rev. Jeff permalink
    June 18, 2013 11:12 am

    Can’t remember if I was there or not so I suspect I wasn’t. I do remember the car you bought off the golf pro at Ivinghoe. Was that the one we drove back from an Otway gig in thick fog and whoever was navigating had to stick their head up through the sunshine roof in order to see anything ?


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