The Drives of my Life (Life’s a Journey Link-Up, Week 26)

family stories

This post is part of a weekly series of ‘link-up’ Posts which reflect on life’s journey, old memories and family stories (see below for more info).

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“It finally happened.  I got the GPS lady so confused, she said, “In one-quarter mile, make a legal stop and ask directions.”  ~Robert Brault

Cars. Some I have loved, some I have loathed. Most just for comedy value because they are the ones my parents drove when I was 8 years old. Enjoy.

FACT: The first car I can remember my family having was the Morris Traveller (above). It came in British Racing Green. It was not a racer.
FACT: I am now so old that I have to search with the term ‘Vintage’ when seeking an image of my family’s first car.
FACT: Our neighbours all had better cars than us. They still do.

Users of SaveEveryStep will know that, with a little imagination, you can preserve the memories of just about anything or anyone who has featured in your life’s journey. So, I thought, why not celebrate the metallic beasts which have been such a part of my life over the years? They have brought me great excitement, they have brought me on occasion more than just a little ‘driving’, and they have most certainly brought me higher insurance premiums.

family storiesTo be honest, all the cars of the 70s now look decidedly naff. I could show you a picture of a Porsche and pass it off as our family ride. But no, once the Traveller had gone to automobile heaven, we took possession of a…Simca! I know you’ve never heard of them. They had a brief shot at stardom c.1975 and then were wisely removed from public view. Here’s one. For some reason we don’t have any photos of our own actual vehicle from that time (I wonder why…?) It was actually this appalling colour too.

This was a time when seatbelts were for wimps. Not all of our cars even had them fitted, from memory. It got in the way of a good chat with your cigarette-smoking, cassette-changing mum leaning through the gap between the front seats. Progress, eh? For some reason, however, this man changed everything. RIP, Jimmy…..

I was, without exception, always violently car-sick, of course. Long journeys on pre-motorway roads became even longer and more putrid in the August heat (who am I kidding, this was Britain!) after I had shed my breakfast somewhere between, well, our house and the end of the road….

But soon came my time to shine. Seventeen! Driving lessons!!!!!

“You never really learn to swear until you learn to drive.”  ~Author Unknown 

family storiesI was not a natural.
I watched my brother pass his driving test first time, then laugh at me as I sobbed uncontrollably after my second fail.
It’s ok, I am safe now.
I blame my Test Instructor’s terrible stammer….p..p..p.p..p..turn L..L..L….RIGHT!!!!! *Screech*
I wished I had had the nerve to tell him that 2 wrongs may not make a right, but that three lefts almost certainly do.

This vintage Renault beauty was my first. It didn’t come with the old ladies – they were my two omnipresent nans.  I smashed her (the car, not my nan) to smithereens in a narrow country lane. NOT my fault.family stories
She was followed by a hand painted (no kidding, Hammerite brush-strokes all over it) Morris Marina. Awful. Only out-awfulled by my next car, a 1960s more-pushing-than-driving VW Beetle. I quickly learned never to park on an incline.

 A true 80s working girl, I managed to earn enough money to haul myself into the land of the car with an engine, and into the subscription of a Roadside Breakdown service. I can almost hear my parents punching the air now.

Sadly, such a lady that she was stolen from under my nose one night whilst I most probably slept off a bottle of wine. By the time I knew she was gone, she was probably half way to France to be disembowelled for spare parts. Grrr.

Although irreplaceable, I replaced her (!) with a slightly unconventional and totally impractical kit car. As you did in the 1980s. The Dutton Melos (red, below) LOOKED the part, and for the 2 weeks in early July when the British weather obeyed, it gained me exceptional kudos about town. Pulling up to a mid-winter netball match in short skirt and frozen convertible, however? Not cool. Way beyond cold, even. BALTIC!

family stories
The pinnacle of my carEER (see what I did there?) came in the form of a well-made German beast of a BMW (not my house in the background incidentally). I stopped short of smoking cigars and owning a race horse, and indeed, followed the prescribed route of smashing it to smithereens in my 30s. There has been a steady decline into dreadfulness ever since. Accompanied, in the main, by whiplash.

As I sit cushioned in middle-age, my car reflects my status. Grey, a bit stinky inside, and sporting an almighty dent in the left flank. I shall spare you the pain of a photo.

Oh, how I have loved and hated these cars! What are your memories of learning to drive, or the cars you owned in your youth?

Write a blog post and link it up! The Linky will stay open for some time yet, so no need to rush. Share your memories with us and tell your friends. You can just join in the comments if you prefer – you don’t have to have a Blog to play! Everyone welcome here. Consider it therapy.

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In next week’s Linky we will take a look back at  our memories of  Sweets! Remember the corner shop where you used to go and buy a full bag of chews for 10p? What were your favourites? Come back here and join in with the Blog Hop next Tuesday…

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More about the Life’s a Journey weekly memories series.

A selection of other posts from this series:-

FIrst day of school memories family storiesWeek 2 – Old School Portrait

family stories best friendsWeek 4 – Bestest Friends

family stories teenage crushWeek 5 – Teenage Crushes

family stories grease movieWeek 6 – First Movie Memories

family stories cinderellaWeek 9 – Favourite Childhood Books

family storiesWeek 19 – Becoming a Parent

family stories

Week 25 – Old Boyfriends

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10 responses to “The Drives of my Life (Life’s a Journey Link-Up, Week 26)

  1. I love these old cars, so much more stylish than modern cars. We had quite a few Princesses (as there were four of us and we could all fit on the back seat pre-seatbelts), I threw up all over my dad’s white leather seats in his Jaguar, but my favourites was my mum’s Austin Allegro Vanda Plas (sp?)

  2. I am SO jealous that you had a Dutton in the 80’s – my first car was a 3 door Escort and I loved it when people mistook it for an XR3. Sad. I’ve only had two really Slendid Cars since then :-) and now have a sensible one. Which is also sad!

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