A diary of one man's utter failure, depression, frustration, cock-ups, depression and impecuniousness, starting in August 1947
A bunch of lads from the RAOB lodge, had arranged a charity football match in aid of a couple of Children's Charities, all proper like.
Hired a patch of the Forest Recreation ground to use as a pitch, hired the changing rooms, printed the advertisements, got lots of interest and prospective spectators to get some money out of, and the morning of the match, was sunny.
Oh, did I not mention… it was a 'Fancy Dress Football Match!
I was due to be a linesman on the day. We soon realised that not enough players had turned up on the day, and I was elected to play... in my bath towel wrapped like a nappy, with a giant safety pin, heavens knows where my mate had got that from. I think he might have made it out of wire coat hangers?
Many supporters were awaiting our turning out from the dressing room, the local paper even had a photographer there... and the rain came down!
We made a quick decision to play only twenty minutes each way.
During the match, I didn't actually get to touch the football at all, (none of the lads deemed it advisable to pass me the ball, I even tackled my own team-mates in an effort to get the ball, but being as my footballing skills were notoriously pathetic, I failed) as the rain made the towel heavier and heavier, I was soon glad I had my underpants on underneath, as the inevitable happened and the towel sagged and drooped, then fell to the ground.
Still we made about £80 on the day for the NSPCC.
I started as so many did on the motorbikes, eventually treating myself to a 3 wheeled Raleigh safety seven, deadly! Then a Robin Reliant, then getting newer ones. Then a Skoda Estelle, then an Austin Maxi.
Then to a Ford Consul Classic, 4 door twin headlights, maroon and cream, boy did get the birds going - it ran like a heap of junk, rusty, slow, bad gear-change, leaking back window, but boy the dolly's wanted a lift home in my American looking car - haha! (Oh dear I mustn't get myself too excited)
A Bedford CA van, split windscreen. Now as bad as it was to drive, it amazed me how good the fuel consumption was at first, until a realised the fuel gauge had been tampered with after I ran out of petrol between Matlock and Bakewell.
Then a Renault 21; After buying the good looking car, my mate did a check on the engine, did something to the valves, bit of tuning, and returned the car to me, saying it was alright!
I got in the car, and drove off, pulling up at a mates shop to show it off - as I pulled onto his forecourt, the engine dropped out to the floor amidst a cloud of mist, dust, rust, and sparks!
It cost me £35 to have it towed away and destroyed. That has to be the shortest time I've owned a car.
It must say something about me, but I loved the Austin Allegro's.
I'd got a mark 1 estate, and loved it to bits, but as soon as the suspension caused problems, I knew she had to go.
I saw an advertisement for an Allegro 1750 Equipe that was going cheap, and visited the owner. Within two minutes of driving her, I'd decided to buy her; she went like a bat out of hell!
Unfortunately, so did the rust and fuel gauge!
Standard Vanguard was next, bench seats, column gears, and terrible vision - I loved it. Shame about the rust again.
Later I purchased a newer Allegro mark3, four door, twin headlights, new A-plus engine, and the usual rampant rust. She was faster than the Equipe! and was so good on fuel.
Of course, as you could and did in those days, I took her on the motorway to find out what her top speed was. I got 105mph out of her, and was well pleased.
I got a well paid job in Carter's pop factory, started fishing again, and decided to buy a 4x4 to replace the mark 3.
Needing a deposit, I stuck to my guns in asking for £800 for her, and my boss at the time said; "If it really can do 100 mph, pick me up in the morning, and if it does, I'll pay the £800 for it!"
So I picked him up, got on the motorway, proved she could, and he agreed to pay the £800 - just before the police Ford Granada caught up with us, and indicated for me to pull in!
When I got my licence back, I did buy a Panda Sisley 4x4.
The sunroof leaked, it was as slow as anything I'd driven before, the engine was noisy, the gears were crunchy, bits started to and kept on falling off of it... but in 4 wheel drive, she was great off-road.
I part-exchanged her, for a Subaru Justy 4x4 saloon. What a car, only let me down once, when the fuel filter got clogged. I regretted getting rid of her.
I got a Daihatsu Fourtrack. Another great performer, and she was good on fuel. I'd have kept her longer but she got nicked and trashed by a gang of druggies.
A nice Triumph Dolomite Sprint next. Air conditioning through the holes in the floor-pan.
I got a Ford Escort van, which fell to pieces.
Then a Ford Fiesta diesel, that was noisy but good, another one I should have hung onto.
Then a BMC J4 van (well I part owned it really, we used it for going fishing).
A Ford Fiesta, which burst into flames on the A453.
A Vauxhall Royale, that's engine passed away rather quickly.
Another Fiesta, that a nurse drove her Golf into while I was stationary at the traffic lights.
An Fiat Cinquecento, that thank heavens was stolen from the works car park, never to be seen again.
Another Fiesta, so reliable, so economical, so it was a shame when my medical conditions called for me to stop driving.