I read this from Sue Vincent today, and it tweaked a few memories.
I passed my test on February 15th 1978.
I was one of 6 in the bank taking the test that month, and the only one who passed.
It was my first time, and one of a couple of things I have ‘bettered’ my sister at, as she took 2 goes, her eldest daughter 8 and youngest 2, maybe 3, I can’t honestly remember.
However, when I passed, something else was going on (Sis was pregnant with her first and the baby moved), so I kept quiet.
The Ex’s birthday was the 18th, so I kept my pass certificate as a birthday surprise, and presented my Mum and MIL with my L plates, torn in half.
Neither understood the significance.
My first car was a mini, purchased for £100 from ‘a friend’ and it died after about a month.
Not my fault!
My second was a 1966 Ford Anglia, I still remember the number plate JYL 298D, so wonder if she is still on the road.
On reading ‘One Lady Owner’ my Dad joked by saying what about the other twenty?
It was the same if anything was advertised with ‘One Careful Owner’, he always wanted to know about the others.
However, One Lady Owner was correct, as she’d had it from new.
The lady who owned Gladys as I called her, spoilt her rotten.
This car was not only kept spotless and never taken out in the rain, but would be kept in the garage with a blanket over her bonnet and a heater under the engine in cold weather.
When I took over the registration documents, I couldn’t begin to match the love and devotion as our garage was in a block over the way with no electricity.
Gladys took her own revenge, and if it was raining, would not start for me. AT ALL.
If it was damp or muggy, she’d think about it, and nine times out of ten not bother.
Gladys wasn’t a mover, which is just as well as speed has never been my thing (well not until I got my Peugeot 206 when 70 was a nice relaxing speed on the motorway).
Other drivers were forever carving me up, shooting past the ‘old dear’ who eventually caught up at the lights.
Gladys wasn’t nippy either, so I lost out to a number of car parking spaces to the cheeky boy racers who would whizz in just as I was about to reverse.
I wrote a poem which I haven’t got round to re-writing and publishing here yet, but I distinctly remember penning these lines:
‘It’s no good exploding and losing your cool
Or shouting abuse at this ignorant fool’
Nor was she a looker, being the drab greyish brown that was so popular at the time, though I tried to brighten her up a bit with floral cushions on the back seat.
But for all that, she was my instructor, mentor, and guide for those first two years after I passed my test. She gave me independence and confidence, and I treated her with respect, not once denting or scratching her bodywork.
So to Gladys, and all First Cars of newly passed drivers,