Today, I received a text message from my friend Bally. It read simply, "Ahh, memories," and came with this photo.
Ain't she a beauty?
This is a photo of the back view of a Vauxhall Nova Saloon. Oh yes!
When I passed my driving test, my Mum had a black Nova, just like this one. A21 PKR. Occasionally called "Parker," but really just called "the car". It was too simple a car to warrant anything as fancy as a name. It had two doors, and drop-down seats to get in the back seats, where the windows didn't open. It had a medium wave radio, so you couldn't listen to the charts, but you could listen to French cricket commentary. It had a one litre engine. Well, almost. 993 cc's raw horse power. C'mon!
After a while, we traded it in for a maroon one, JUST like the lovely little number in the photo. The NEW Nova (as it is still referred) had a 1.2l engine though. I know. Wild. And we bought a cassette player for it in Argos. We knew how to live the crazy life, my mother and I!
Like most late-teenagers, I was one of a group of friends, genetically incapable of going anywhere in anything less than a small tribe. If we went anywhere, we went mob-handed. Invariably it would require us to take two cars, and both cars would be packed full.
Two of our favourite venues were on the other side of hills. This was never a problem when we were going. Down hill, three six foot tall lads in the back, with a tail wind, that car would really shift! Coming home though, was troublesome.
The Hook and Hatchet pub, in a village pleasingly called Hucking, was remote. Really remote. The Hook and Hatchet is in a place where, when it's dark, it's REALLY dark. The Hook and Hatchet is in a place where you don't want to break down. Leaving the Hook and Hatchet with a car full meant that there just wasn't enough time to build up a head of steam to get up the hill, so instead, I would stop at the bottom of the hill to let out all my passengers, drive up the hill slowly in first gear, high revs, faint smell of burning, then stop at the top to let them all back in again.
Henry's Table was more trouble. It's on the other side of Detling Hill, which is about two miles of twisting dual carriageway steepness. It's scary, man! On one occasion, coming home from the weekly Henry's Table pub quiz, I had to drive two passengers up the hill, leave them in the Happy Eater car park at the top of the hill, go back down to get the other two and collect the loiterers on the way past to head home.
Aw, that little car! I wonder where it is now. (Scrap heap? Bottom of the Medway? Stock Car Heaven?) It was, if we're honest, not a good car. But thinking about it has brought back lots of happy memories.
Thanks Bally! Now I wonder if I can snap a brown mini to send you?
late season camping
2 weeks ago