A series of anecdotes with or without any connection to the running of a restaurant.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

My first car...

At the tender age of 28!!!! A white Ford Cortina. An ex-taxi.

I was working at an Italian restaurant at the time and got to know many of the customers. One of them owned a local taxi firm and I regularly used it for our diners.
Cliff offered to let me have one of the taxis he was replacing, a ten-year old Cortina for a bargain £175! The valeting alone must have cost £30! When I went to pick it up, my beautiful white chariot was gleaming inside and out.
I sat for a few minutes while Cliff explained the controls.
It was a Concorde compared to the tinny tiny Micra in which I had learnt to drive and passed my test.
He then waved me goodbye as I chugged to a shy start.

My first exploratory trip was that same afternoon to a town ten miles away.

My wife sat in the passenger seat. In the back, next to our two-year old son, Adam, sat her aunt who had been invited to go shopping with us.

I set off with a Cheshire cat's smile on my face, looking out for a familiar face to blow the horn at.

A couple of miles down the road we came upon a traffic accident. A policeman was surveying the scene and, as it happened, so was I.

Suddenly my wife let out a chilling scream.

Startled, I looked ahead.
An oncoming car swerved out of the way onto the pavement to avoid me. I had been so captivated by the sight of the two inept drivers who had collided, that I had veered onto the wrong side of the road. I quickly slipped back in the right lane. The aunt's face was as white as a sheet. Adam was screaming. My wife gave me a killer stare that forecast many frosty days ahead.
A few seconds later a flashing blue light appeared in the mirror. I stopped the car and began shaking like a leaf.

The policeman who had been attending to the accident was fuming. So was one of the drivers who had just missed a head-on collision with my Cortina. He had followed the police car to add further oil to the fire and ensure the admonishment was severe.

"Are you here on holiday?" The policeman asked. After all, I had briefly driven on the wrong side of the road.

After sheepishly apologizing and confessing that it was my first sortie in my brand new Cortina he let me go not without a reprimand and a caution to be more careful in future.

A year and a £10-water pump later I sold the Cortina for £225! A net profit of £40!

Come on then, what was your first car?

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Blogger andrea said...

That's a terrific story -- very funny (fortunately). I had a few similar such scrapes in my little yellow bare-bones 4-speed '77 Honda Civic. It didn't even have a radio when I got it!

15/12/07 9:10 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

Your car looks cute! And you sold it for a profit!

My first that was my own was used Pontiac Lemans. I think it was a 76. I replaced the water pump in it myself as I couldn't begin to afford the $500 it was going to cost me. It used to break down on the Capitol Beltway ALL the time.

15/12/07 9:24 PM  
Blogger Cream said...

A Honda Civic, Andrea! Very lucky.
I was also very lucky to get away with a reprimand. Aunty Ena refused to get into my car again.
My Cortina didn't have a radio either.

You are very handy, Mary! I replaced the water pump myself too. Borrowed a manual from a neighbour and just followed the instructions. I remember Pontiacs.

15/12/07 11:07 PM  
Blogger Akelamalu said...

Great story Cream!

I didn't pass my driving test until I was 38 - but I passed first time. The first car I had any say in buying was a Renault 5 Le Car and I loved it!

16/12/07 2:36 PM  
Blogger Squirrel said...

an old comet.

good story here.

16/12/07 7:47 PM  
Blogger Queenie said...

Trust you to make a profit! My first car was a yellowish cream Saab, the window wipers didn't work nor the horn. My friend would place her head out of the window and yell "Meeee Ma Meee Ma" when I needed to sound the horn and use a sponge on a stick to clean my window (told you I had some priceless friends). It died in a scrap yard close to my home a short while after.

16/12/07 9:48 PM  
Blogger Queenie said...

Forgot to ask you Cream I was to busy remembering my poor Broom broom. Would you think me rude if I asked which airline you used to go to Marrakesh?

16/12/07 10:01 PM  
Blogger Hayden said...

Yikes! You almost gave your car more of an "initiation" than would have been healthy!

16/12/07 10:52 PM  
Blogger Cream said...

I passed second time, Akela.
The Renault 5 was a very popular car.

I'm not sure I've ever seen a Comet. Thank, Squirrel.

Q, a Saab for a first car! Wow!
But sounds like it was a bit of heap. Definitely priceless friend!
Ryanair from Luton. There is also BA and Air Maroc from Heathrow and Gatwick.

Hayden, I was very lucky. Nearly a baptism by fire.

17/12/07 12:26 PM  
Blogger ValGalArt said...

what a great story! How old were you when you got married? I didn't get my drivers licenze until i was 19 and my first car was a 64 volkswagon. I loved it dearly. You did good with the cortina, they are really cute cars!

btw you are a party animal and good for you! That makes you forward not backwards...

17/12/07 7:01 PM  
Blogger Cream said...

I was 26 when I got married. I got my licence two years later.
Wolkswagens are so cool, especially the Beetle.
The only problem with the Cortina was that it was to start it on cold, damp mornings.
Hahaha! I'm slowing down a little...

18/12/07 9:35 AM  
Blogger Merisi said...

Are you back on speaking terms with your wife? Gosh, I would have k...ed you. ;-)))

The first car that was sort of mine to use was a FIAT 500 Familiare (that's station wagon). A hillarious little car for a young student to drive through the mad mad traffic of Rome. One fine evening people kept honking at me. I ignored them, you know those Roman ragazzi! Turns out that the back of my car was emitting a cloud of smoke. Someone had left the gas tank open. Now I always check my back if someone honks at me. ;-)

18/12/07 11:25 AM  
Blogger PI said...

Thank goodness it ended happily.
My first was a mid blue Austin seven which had belonged to my huband's Aunt Rose. She had finally given up driving after years of driving other drivers mad by driving in the middle of the road at fifteen miles an hour and yelling 'Road hog!' at anyone who dared to overtake her.
My husband drove me mad by hanging out of the window apologising to all and sundry when I was driving.
Sorry about the preponderance of the verb to drive. Apt though.

18/12/07 4:35 PM  
Blogger Cream said...

Merisi, is that killed or kicked?
I have experienced Rome's traffic and was worried more about the mopeds than the car but no a single Roman Ragazza honk ehr horn at me.
Leaving the tank open happened to me too. After filling up I drove off and sprayed petrol for a few miles before someone pointed at the back of my car.
Now I have one of those caps that don't come off.

PI, I think I've driven behind and been shouted at by your Aunt Rose.
Too many drives? And why not!

18/12/07 5:39 PM  
Blogger homo escapeons said...

This could have all been avoided if you people drove on the RIGHT side of the road.

People go insane in cars...mild mannered pacifists morph into psychotic sociopaths the minute they put the key in the ignition.
That's why I carry this ((CHK CHK)) in the glove box.

Go ahead..make my day.

18/12/07 8:10 PM  
Blogger Guyana-Gyal said...

I never owned a car, I drive our family car.

I'm an excellent back seat driver too. Thanks to me, yes, moi, donkeys have been dodged, pot holes avoided...that sort of thing, though my mother might tell you otherwise.

18/12/07 8:15 PM  
Blogger Queenie said...

Thanks Cream, looking about August time if i can get insurance.

18/12/07 9:58 PM  
Blogger Cream said...

HE, I've noticed that of taxi-drivers. In their own cars, they drive sedately but as soon as they clock in and get into the taxi, they become animals..
I don't believe you carry a Magnum in your glove box...

Excellent back seat driver!!! Hahaha! Gigi, you crack me up!
Happy birthday.

Q, August might be a little too hot. When I was there at the end of July, the temperature hit the top forties!

18/12/07 10:59 PM  
Blogger Merisi said...

Cream, would you've wanted a choice? :-)

I have been thinking about that car episode: It must have been the cover of the oil thingie, what with all that smoke.
As regards Roman traffic, I kinda miss it, almost. Once you get the hang of it, it becomes addictive (never to my father though, he never learned to discern between red traffic lights which you had to obey, and those which left a stop to your own discretion).
Merry Christmas!

19/12/07 2:21 PM  
Blogger Cream said...

I'm not sure which I would've chosen, Merisi.
Smoke is usually caused by oil burning inside the engine.
In Rome I loved watching the mopeds make their way to the front of the traffic at the lights and then, as soon as these go green, one can only laugh at the racket they cause.

19/12/07 6:01 PM  
Blogger Guyana-Gyal said...

Thank you, Cream.

My mother cracks up too, but not in a nice way.

hee hee :-D

19/12/07 6:29 PM  
Blogger Minerva said...

My first car was a Volksvagen. I "inherited" it from my Swedish husband, when he decided to trade up. I was already 32. Before that I lived in communist Poland and worked as a research fellow at a prestigeous "think tank" ... only my income was far from "prestigeous" and would never afford me any car.

19/12/07 9:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bought mine today. It's a vauxhall astra made in 2000 and I love it. When you had that grin on your face - yeah I know what you meant

15/3/08 8:21 PM  
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