Monday, May 08, 2006

The Old Ford

Old Ford's a place not far from where I grew up in Stratford, but it isn't the Old Ford I'm going to be talking about here.

The Old Ford I'm talking about is a car my dad used to own. I haven't a clue what model it was because cars have never held any interest for me and I can't actually remember Dad ever calling it anything other than 'The Old Girl'.

This must have been in about 1968, and it was probably the oldest and ugliest car in the street. Hold on... correction: it was the ugliest car in the street! It was black and sort of upright in design with a gaping hole where the grill should have been and a crank handle to start it with. Whether or not there was a key, I really couldn't tell you.

I'm sure there are plenty of people who'd give their big toe and more to own one of those cars now -- it had red leather upholstery and a real wood and chrome steering wheel -- but when one friend's dad was driving a Hillman and another had a Rover, I felt deeply ashamed of the ugly black motor with the gaping hole at the front. Luckily, my friends knew nothing of the crank handle!

I remember having this particular car when we went away on holiday with Aunt Emm, Uncle Frank and their five kids. I can't remember which car they had but what I do remember is the engine of our car stalling every time we stopped at traffic lights. I'd have to get out and crank the handle, jump back in and off we'd go - until the next set of lights. We were somewhere in South London when I jumped quickly back into the car, other cars were tooting us left, right and centre, and forgot to remove the handle. Nobody gave it a thought until we were at the next set of lights and it couldn't be found. Dad, needless to say, wasn't impressed!

Looking back I suppose I ought to have been grateful that we had a car at all. Dad had been made redundant and times must have been hard.

Eventually we moved on to better cars, amongst others an Austin Maxi that I clearly remember Dad being very proud of. But that caught fire. Nan, bless her, thought she could put it out with a cup of water, much to Dad's vexation. A bucket, he'd said, not a bloody cup!

Several Cortinas followed, most of which were eventually stolen. But that's another story.



At 3:32 pm, May 10, 2006, Blogger Carol said...

Ha my Dad had a Morris Minor, when he used to indicate there would be a clunk and then this thing came jutting out of the side of the car depending on which way he was turning.

At 5:48 pm, May 10, 2006, Anonymous Sharon J said...

The black Ford had those, too! Times sure have changed!


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