Heart attack

My Heart Attack

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Cars I've Owned- Part 2

That little Ford Anglia lasted around three years. I drove all the way to Liverpool in it when I got the job as A.S.M. This was before the opening of what has been called 'Spaghetti Junction' which joined the various bits of motorway together so that when you drove north you went from the M1 and then onto the M6. But in those days the only way you could get from the M1 to the M6 was by driving through the middle of Birmingham.

One evening me and one of my brothers went to the cinema in Bedford. I have an idea it might have been to see '2001: A Space Odessy" so it gives you some sort of idea when it was, possibly about 1971. On taking one of my cousins home in my car, seeing how it was late and dark I couldn't see to reverse and put on a reversing light which turned on from a switch inside the car. Some previous owner of the car had installed it and, thinking about it now, it was quite a good idea to have an extra light to see by when you reverse. Unfortunately there was an almighty flash and 'pop' (not exactly a bang, but quite dramatic, nevertheless.) I think the car ran perfectly well for a while then it stopped dead. Apparently the 'flash bang' had burnt out something do with the car's electric circuits and it had to be repaired. I drove the car to several more of the places I worked, Colchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, until it died as all ancient cars do.

I bought a car from my brother James. A Triumph Herald. It was green, had a sort of leather-effect on it's roof. I drove it up and down the Motorway when I worked at the Phoenix Theatre in Leicester. When I went to work at Century Theatre in Keswick I had a problem with the driver's side door which wouldn't shut properly. I used a piece of string which I tied to the inside door handle and the other end to the steering wheel column. As I drived up the M1, the door kept swinging open and this got worse when I drove off the motorway and had to negotiate roundabouts, so the string-method of preventing it opening of it's own accord was come up with to keep it closed. I can't believe it did this and I got away with it. I could easily have fallen out onto the road, but fortunately I didn't. On another occasion I was on my way to work when one of the windscreen wipers flew off when it was raining. A rather strange occurrence, worthy of a few smiles, but probably not so amusing at the time, as it can be difficult to see where you are going if you can't keep the windscreen free of rain which is running down the glass and obscuring the view.

I worked for DaSilva's puppets during the early 1970's. I went on tour with them with their production of "Snowhite." We had a week of performances somewhere in the North of England. I think it was Burnley or Blackburn, but I'm not so sure as my memory isn't as good as it should have been. Most of the company went off in the Landcover, which towed the large trailer which had the entire show in, but I went off with someone else in my car. Unfortunately I took a wrong turning on the M1 and landed up almost in Yorkshire. I think I was supposed to take the left turn onto the M6 which meant we didn't catch up with the Land Rover as we were supposed to. We did get onto the M6 eventually, but then we hit a really thick bank of fog, so thick in fact you could barely see a few yards in front of you and the police had to use lighted beacons along the side of the Motorway and traffic had to leave because it was so bad. We must have come off the Motorway near Preston or Accrington or somewhere. We decided that we'd have to find somewhere at the side of the road and spend the night there. I pulled off the road and we settled down for the night and could see a vehicle in the lay-by ahead of us. Amazingly, it was the rest of the crew from DaSilva's and they had done what we had and were settling down to spend the night at the side of the road. It was not easy trying to sleep in the Triumph Herald and it was quite cold as the heater wasn't particularly efficient. I must say, I don't think I've seen such thick fog and I never have liked having to drive in fog.

My younger brother, Sandy, was always messing around with cars. He had several vehicles when he'd first got his driving licence. One he had was a Messerschmitt. I believe it was a kKR-175. It was very basic, to say the least. Actually no more than a sort of three-wheeled motorbike. It had a very small engine, not much more than a lawnmower engine in a sort of motor bike with a sidecar or some sort of bubble car. I was taken out in it for a ride, and you had to sit directly behind the driver, rather like riding pillion on a motor bike. It had a lid which lifted up so you could get in and when you were moving you were extremely low to the ground. So much so that, if you were following a large vehicle, such as a H.G.V (Heavy Goods Vehicle) you were so low to the ground, I swear the thing would fit underneath the lorry. Not a nice feeling, I can tell you. It tended to break down frequently and on one occasion it broke down on the road between Ampthill and Woburn. My mother or father had to go and collect him and the vehicle was manhandled into the horse box my mother had which was towed by the Land Rover. I suppose because it was so small it could be put inside the horse box. He later had a Morris Minor, and it was in something of a rough state. If you sat in the front passenger seat, which I did occasionally, and lifted the piece of matting from beneath your feet, there were a hole which meant you could see the road moving past as you drove along.
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