It was uncommon, when I was young, for working class people to have a car, but my uncle Adam had one. My Dad and his brother (Adam) went into business together and a couple of years on the business must have been doing well because Uncle Adam and Aunty Peggy bought a car. Uncle and Aunty had no children, just a Scottie dog called Morag, so they could afford a lot more luxuries than Mum and Dad, who had myself (8) and my brother (3) to provide for.
I thought the car was wonderful. I think it was a Ford Anglia, off white with a Salmon Pink roof, Aunty made a point of telling everyone the colour of the roof as though it was really important. To me the car was the height of luxury and Uncle and Aunty used to take us all out for a ride often, and as they paid for the petrol it meant that we had more outings than if we'd had to do the outings on the coach. I don’t think it was a big car but we managed quite well, Dad used to sit in the front with Uncle, Mum would sit in the back with brother on her knee, Aunty would also be in the back with Morag on her knee and I sat on a little stool in the back too. Of course there were no seat belts in cars in then and no thoughts regarding health and safety either!
I loved the outings in the car, we’d go to Blackpool or the Lake District, or just a drive in the country. We used to sing songs whilst riding along like ‘Ten Green Bottles’ and ‘There were 10 in the bed and the little one said, Roll Over, Roll Over’ or ‘We’re off, we’re off, we’re off in a motor car’. Uncle Adam was so much fun I adored him. I remember one particular time we had gone on a little jaunt and had to park the cark in a multi storey car park. As we were driving up the ramps into the car park Uncle said “you’ll all have to lean forward going up here so we don’t roll back!” Well of course we all leant forward, except my Dad who was laughing his head off. We always took a picnic which Mum and Aunty had lovingly prepared and I think that’s where my love of eating ‘al fresco’ originated.
I used to like dogs until Morag bit me! I was dancing with Uncle Adam one time when Morag jumped up and took a chunk out of my leg. It scared the living bejebus out of me and I was hysterical, I have been wary of dogs ever since, except our own lovely crossbred Guinness. So, as you can imagine, I really didn’t like sharing the back of the car with Morag on our trips. Morag and I would sit eyeing each other up and sometimes she used to bear her teeth at me and growl lowly if she thought I was having too much fun, she knew I was scared of her. Eventually Morag and I called a truce and she would even sit on my knee and let me stroke her head, but I still didn’t trust or like her very much! Anyway it was a small price to pay for being able to go out in the car.
I have such happy memories of our family trips in the car but once brother number 2 arrived a couple of years later there wasn’t enough room in the car for all of us, so the trips came to an end, well until a few years later when Dad passed his driving test and we got our very own family car. Now our grandchildren are so used to being ferried about in cars that if they go on a bus or a train it's a big thrill for them.
Oh happy Days!