Back in 1967, the Vietnam war was underway, Concorde was introduced to the world, Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band became the official anthem of the ‘summer of love’, and my father-in-law bought himself a Morris Traveller. Perhaps that was the start of HN’s obsession with green metal (see ‘Boys and toys’). It certainly wasn’t the beginning of a Toad-like obsession with speed. In fact the car once made such slow progress up a hill that HN was approached by a hopeful working girl as he passed….
Back in its heyday, however, the Morris trundled around the lanes of Sussex in a cloud of petrol fumes and pipe smoke, occasionally stopping outside taverns for refuelling. It spent many happy summers driving onto the little car ferry that runs between Lymington and the Isle of Wight, and then, filled with sand and picnics, sitting proudly overlooking the sea and waiting until the boys clambered back on board. It has been parked at many cricket matches, recording the runs as the batsmen grew from small boys to adulthood; moved countless cardboard boxes and carried quantities of friends and beer. The Morris doesn’t like women very much: once embedding itself on a beach when particularly annoyed with the driver: (it doesn’t have to argue with me as I am Not Trusted).
I first met the Morris, when in the stupor of infatuation I accepted a date with HN. An agreeably throaty roar signalled his arrival, and while the car perhaps lacked the elegance of an MG I was sufficiently attracted to jump into the passenger seat. The bubble burst when my handsome escort leaned across my seat and picked up a crank handle. Dear Reader, the sum of my marriage can be found in that symbolic act.
Despite my best efforts to shake it off, the Morris has continued to dog HN’s footsteps, like an aged retainer, or a faithful hound that I can’t quite bring myself to shoot. It has been tolerant of infant scramblings –
and participates far too readily in the hopes and dreams of the next generation.
Now, Henry is to be granted the privileged status of Insured Driver. This means that it has spent yet another lengthy spell in the mechanical equivalent of a large private hospital, having unmentionable remedial work to plumbing and suspension. No jokes, please.
It arrived back today, by private ambulance. It’s looking well, all things considered. When I suggested to Steve, the mechanic, that HN paid the damn thing more attention than he does me, the response was a mild ‘well, but she’s worth it’. A frosty look soon sorted that mistake out.
It’s back. Safe and sound, tucked up in its own purpose built oak framed boudoir. He’s probably given it a blanket. It dreams of ice creams, and cricket, and sandcastles. Of weaving tapestries from memories. Of defeating women drivers. There is nothing I can do. And why?
Reader, I married him. 🙂