Monday, 31 January 2011

A New Car

Today the farmer has taken delivery of a new car. We have driven to Northallerton, our nearest town of any size, to collect it. Nice to be in a shiny new car which also smells new and purrs along. But there the excitement ends. We last had a new car three years ago and three years before that another one. In other words, it has become a natural thing to do - change the car every three years.

Coming home I was thinking about the first car my first husband and I ever owned - about the excitement of getting it, the worry of whether we could really afford it, the first ride out in it. So I thought I would tell you about it. I must say that it reads like something out of a very old story, although the events which I am about to unfold actually happened in 1960 - a mere fifty years ago.

We lived in a small village in very rural Lincolnshire. Someone in the village had a Reliant Three-wheeler van for sale. It was like a little green box on two wheels with a third wheel sticking out of the front on a kind of spring. Although the windscreen was made of glass, the door windows were made of mica and had a little hinged triangle in the corner, so that you could stick your hand out to give a hand signal. Get the picture so far? In addition to that, if you got a device to block off the reverse gear, you could drive it on a motor cycle licence, which my husband already had.

The man wanted £50 for it - and how we wanted it. So we emptied piggy banks, trouser pockets, housekeeping accounts, savings banks (we had very little money and Dominic was a very small child) and scraped together enough to buy it.

I can still remember our first ride out in it - the thrill of owning our own car and being able to go for trips out in it. We had some adventures in it. Once, going to the seaside, which was about thirty miles away, we stalled the engine on a hill (about the only hill in Lincolnshire!) and ran the car back down the hill. It rose up along a bank at the side of the road and was in danger of tipping over until four strong young men on motor bikes literally lifted us back on to the road.

Its final demise came one day when my husband was driving behind a bus and the bus suddenly stopped and began to reverse. He had not seen our little van and as we had no reverse we could not get out of the way and the poor little van was crushed to oblivion.

By that time we had saved a little money and after adding the insurance money we were able to buy a better car. But nothing - ever - has equalled the joy of that first little boxy van.

What was your first car?

##By popular request (well just Tom actually) - the farmer is not a car person - more of a tractor man - so our new car is a quite boring Vauxhall Astra - and as I am a woman and interested in such things, I will also tell you it is black.

14 comments:

jeanette from everton terrace said...

A yellow VW bug that was painted blue not long after I got it. Had it for years and often wish I still did - even though often the heater wouldn't stop running which can be a nightmare in Phoenix during the summer :). Thank goodness you weren't injured in the bus reverse accident!

Rare Lesser Spotted said...

I remember my first car which I got after passing my second driving test around 1975 ish - a 1960 Ford Popular - three forward gears and windscreen wipers that went slower the faster you went! Cost me all of £30 - well actually - cost my dad.
X

Hildred and Charles said...

Our first car was a 1932 yellow Chev roadster with a rumble seat and wire wheels, - I have posted about this precious car before, it is the one that Charles attached a locomotive whistle to on VJ day - I wish we still had it!!! After we sold it (why did we ever do that...)we bought a Model T Ford.

Tom Stephenson said...

Come on! Tell us what your new car is! (love, Jeremy Clarkson).

Heather said...

What a lovely story Pat. We bought our first car for £35 back in the early 6o's. I think it was a Riley and looked like one of those police cars in old black and white films. It was the most luxurious car we have ever had with it's leather upholstery and walnut dashboard - wasted on us as we filled it with carrycots, babies, nappies and dogs!

Eryl said...

I love Reliant Robins, they're so cool and the people who drive them always look friendly. I can't remember what our first car was, some sort of Ford, but I do remember that it was in such a state the police stopped us coming up the M6 and took it to the skip. We had to get a taxi the rest of the way home which cost more than the car had!

steven said...

weaver i've never owned a car but my dad's first car was a beautiful 1939 armstrong-siddeley. it was ridiculous - we had no money - not even a regular sixpence for the gas meter but there was this luxurious beast in the back. nowadays, i walk, ride my high-end carbon fibre bicycles and cadge lifts off my wife and friends!!!! steven

Pondside said...

It was a 1962 VW bug, already well-used by the time I got it in 1972. Nothing since has rivaled it!

EB said...

I've never had a car in my own name, which is something I'm slightly proud of, although granted for no good reason. I learned to drive in a Wolseley Hornet (imagine a Mini in a tweed cap), but that was a "classic car" (ie it was old) at the time. The first car I drove regularly was a Citroen AX called Katy. She was red. We currently have a Seat Alhambra called Percy. He's blue. We've had him for about 5 years and will keep him until he's too old to repair - another 5 years or so, since he's diesel. The only petrol car I've ever driven was Willy Wolseley.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Ah what a lovely collection of old cars is massing on my blog. They don't make them like that any more do they?
Reading EB's comment about a Wolseley Hornet - oddly enough on our way to collect our new car we met one, driven by an old lady = my husband thought it was a good sixty years old - we wondered if she had had it from new!

mrsnesbitt said...

The very first car I owned was a ford escort caspian blue metallic registration YHN 519Y. The first experience I had in a car was an Austin A30 - my Uncle's. Would you believe Jon's first car was a robin reliant? He could drive it using his bike license. On one occasion when it started rolling down a hill he opened the door and stuck his foot on the road! lol! Typical biker eh! Having sais that Pat I was pleased to read it was bikers who came to your aid! Look for ward to meeting up soon. Dxx

Titus said...

Lovely post Weaver!
The first I drove was my mother's 3.5litre Rover, which I crashed running a red light in London outside Olympia about four months after my test. I can still remember the registration number, EBJ 853T.

My own first car was a very basic goldy-bronze Ford Escort, but I bought it with my own money and was enormously fond of it. It rusted away to be replaced by a Cavalier, which I also crashed. Hmmm...

Dave King said...

Mmm, we change our car every third year, and you're right: the regularity does rob the event of some of its excitement.

(And my dad was stationed in Northalerton during the war - I keep picking up echoes from your blog. It's uncanny at times!

Golden West said...

My first car was a 1961 VW bug, purchased on my 16th birthday with money I'd earned and saved. I've been driving a 1986 Ford pickup for the last 25 years - still going strong - it's a great vehicle!