Car Troubles

When I was pregnant with my son, my Father in Law bought me a car.  This was way back in 1962 and I thought I was the ‘bee’s knees’.   The only set back was that I didn’t have a driving licence.

I have gone on and on about the three driving tests I took and this was the first.  I passed and I don’t know who was the most pleased to return to the driving centre, me or the tester.

Austin A40

This photo sent to me by a friend. My A40 was white.

Anyway, this was a 2-year-old Austin A40.  Thoroughly checked out and deemed suitable, particularly as it had been previously owned by the Sheriff of the county.  This was Scotland and they have different names for different positions.

Now fast forward two years.  My Father-in-Law decided to upgrade my car and purchased a brand new A40 for me.  How proud I was of that car.  Nobody in my family had ever owned a new car and I suppose I was a little above myself over this

The car ran beautifully (mostly) but on one memorable occasion driving to London to visit my parents – some 400 miles – the gas tank sprang a leak.  Apparently, a stone had been thrown up and caused a hole.  Well, it was late at night and of course no chance of getting it fixed so my husband had this great idea.  We were all, children included, given a pack of gum and told to chew it so that it could be made into a wad to seal the hole.  The children had never been given gum before and thought it was a great hoot.  The gum held until we arrived at my parents and the next day the hole was repaired.  Or maybe the gas tank was replaced it was a long time ago and that part of the story is lost in the mist of time.

Of rather more concern was the tendency to suddenly stop.  Not being mechanically minded then or even now, I didn’t know what caused this.  The garage told me that when it happened I should get out of the car and give a certain part of the engine (well, I am blonde so what do I know) a thump with the heel of my shoe and the airlock, blockage or whatever would move.  And it worked every time.

At that time in the winter months, my husband used to get the train to Edinburgh each morning, some 45 miles away.  I used to drive him to the station for an early morning train and most morning simply did so in my robe, with the children in their nightwear in the back of the car.

Alas, one cold, winter morning, almost before the sun was up, on the way back from the station the car stopped.  Well, here I was in a quandary.  I had to get out of the car to hit the thing and I was in my nightwear.  To make matters worse I had stopped outside the local Police Station and the shift changeover was happening.  I duly got out of the car to do my thing and was immediately surrounded by a group of policemen all offering to help.  I explained what had to be done and they duly did it for me.  Then I drove home but I imagine several of them dined out on the story of this young blonde in her nightie outside the police station.  And I was on first name terms with most of the local police force for the rest of the time that we lived there.

Shortly after that, the car was sold.

And I should like to thank my blogging buddy at counting ducks once again for the inspiration for today’s blog.

The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we ALL believe that we are above average drivers.  ~
Dave Barry, – “Things That It Took Me 50 Years to Learn”










27 responses to “Car Troubles

  1. Loved reading about your predicaments! Your writing put a smile on my face 😉


  2. This is such a cute little story. I hope you’ve written down many little accounts of life for your children and grandchildren, what a treasure to future generations!


  3. What a great story, Judith. That’s a hoot about thumping the car at the police station in your robe! I love to read Dave Barry, he’d have had a blast telling your story. 🙂


  4. Sometimes breaking down outside the police station can be a good thing. I am glad you got home safely, and without too much embarrasement


  5. What a beautiful memory. It couldn’t have happened at a better place, right in front of the police station.
    Wonder if bubble gum would work on any of today’s cars?


  6. Cars: Can’t live with them, can’t live without them.

    Yes, you’re still probably the talk of the table with some of those policemen!


  7. Isn’t it interesting how something seems so unfortunate or embarrassing in the moment, only to be laughed at years later?
    This is a nice memory to enjoy in laughter, though in the cold of winter while only wearing a nightie – I’m sure that was not the case.


  8. too funny. but hey a woman’s gotta do what a woman’s gotta do!!


  9. A fun post. I got a giggle at the end. A young blond in her nighties. I can just imagine how many policemen were eager to help. 🙂

    My first car was a “54 Ford. Blue. It was old but I was young and I loved it.


  10. There’s a good way to get roadside assistance 🙂 Can’t say I’ve tried that before, but I’m afraid I’ve passed the age where it would work!

    I hope your next car didn’t require the banging with the shoe to keep going.


  11. I have taken the boys to school in my pj’s – just dropping them off. And have hoped and prayed for no break downs or other parents wanting to talk to me while I am stopped in the parking lot.
    I enjoyed your memory!


    • Thanks Jenny. As I tell my clients – Nobody can ever take away your precious memories, so make time to make memories every day. You will have plenty from those three delightful boys of yours.


  12. Great !
    This reminds me of one time as kids, out in my parents car. The exhaust fell off, I guess it was just one end because my mum had to give over her pair of tights (pantyhose) for my dad to tie the exhaust back on for the rest of the journey home. 😀


  13. Oops, just re read my response. Obviously ‘who’s’ should have read ‘whose’. Blame it on the flu. 🙂


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