I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Leaving cramped knees behind

Fifty years ago (give or take a week or two) VR was staying with her parents in Folkestone and I sent her my second and last Valentine card, saying I'd passed my driving test. Two days later, more formally, I revealed I'd been made redundant from MotorCycling magazine - a story that will keep for the moment.

A driving (US: driver's) licence is a passport to good and bad. Here's a chronological pick 'n' mix.

Plunging into the five-lane maelstrom at Hyde Park Corner, London, confident others would give way.

Leaving Padua, Italy, at dawn, with a huge hangover, the sun directly in my eyes, the Paduan workforce, on bicycles, streaming into the town on either side of my car.

Fearful my rented Dodge Charger would run out of gas in the Californian redwood forest.

Turning right at 5 mph in car park in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania, smashing into anonymous US car, destroying the front end of my VW Squareback (called a Variant in the UK).

Disembarking from the SS France luxury liner at Southampton, getting into the left-hand drive VW Squareback which had accompanied us from the US, and driving to Folkestone.

Crossing on Dover - Calais ferry en route to rented villa in Concarneau, Brittany, shared with Joe and family.

Touring major French vineyards in the first car I bought as an indulgence and not for utilitarian reasons.

Crossing Col d'Iseran (2770 m) above Val d'Isère (pictured).

Hit in rear of my company car coming home (Kingston-upon-Thames) from French lesson in Sutton; next morning hitting another car squeezing out of traffic jam 20 m from my KuT front door.

En route for albatross colony on the Otago Peninsula, NZ.

Discovering the most delightful road in mid-Wales: Llanidloes to Machynlleth.


  1. For me a passport to The Upside Down Club racing some Daddy’s son in his Jaguar back from the pub in 1965. And thanks for the memory of WALKING over the Col de l’Iseran in 2004 at right angles to your direction of travel. It was foul weather, and I refueled in the café on the top and had much good humour with a group of dripping wet, elderly French cyclists who arrived, having conquered this classic pass on their bikes.

  2. I can relate only to the last two on your list, RR.

    So...you were a staffman on the "Green 'Un" (Motorcycling) - I always took the "Blue 'Un" (The Motor Cycle) myself, which was less sport orientated. Incidently my back bedroom wall has shelves containing a full set of the latter from 1942 to demise in the late '60s.

  3. When I was young Valentine cards were supposed to be anonymous declarations, intended to cause the recipient to speculate about their provenance.

  4. Sir Hugh: And enjoying the moral superiority that one hadn't arrived there by car. There's a smugness in those capital letters.

    Avus: Never driven through central London? For shame - one of the great transportational stimulants.

    Joe: Yes but the unresolved anxiety of the sender needed containing. I was thanked - quite formally - by the prettiest and liveliest girl in Heaton (a Bradford suburb) for the card I had sent her in my early teens. It didn't get any further but it was something.

  5. I was waiting for an addendum. No snow story?

  6. Ellena: If I had weather like yours I might write about it. As it is I don't believe British weather is worth consideration.

  7. Central London? Of course. In my salad days Saturday afternoons were taken up visiting all the motorcycle outlets, "playing with the traffic", my brother-in-law and I on respective motorcycles. Great fun then - now I avoid the "Great Wen" like the plague.