The Daily Post – EmbarrassingWe walked out of the Hospital together, after another one of those appointments, which I used to dread. One where it would be suggested that I would try another drug or tablet, which may ease the symptoms of my Endometriosis. Often leaving me reeling from the reactions to it, I would always try their suggestions, for fear that if did not, then my Doctor or the Hospital, might refuse to offer any treatment at all and I might just miss out on the one thing that worked, if they ever found it.
I knew so little about it back then, completely uninformed with a condition that no-one spoke of. I didn’t know anyone who had it who I could ask and this was before the days of the internet, where you could look up so easily and find other people in the same boat, so you just trusted the Dr‘s, after all they must know, (Right?) and got on with it.
It was a sunny day, my boyfriend (who would later become my partner) had come to meet me from the Hospital that day, he wanted to cheer me up. At the time, we travelled by bus, walked a lot and he usually had a car. He suggested that we go for a short walk together and although I was sore from all the prodding and poking, I reluctantly agreed. I needed some air, after being cooped up in there and always needed to clear my head. As we walked along the road, we got talking about cars and when I thought I would learn to drive. It was something that I had wanted to do since getting my provisional licence at seventeen, but kept running out of money as I was due to take the test. But it was still very firmly on my wish list. As we walked arm in arm, he pointed out a pretty Blue Citroen 2 CV, also known as a ‘deux cheveaux’ which was parked in a row of cars, you didn’t see many of those around any more. “What do you think of those?” he said “Oh I’ve never liked those very much, although the pull back roof is nice, I prefer Mini’s” I had always loved the Classic Mini with it’s cute curves and smile. We paused to look at the 2CV. “Oh, that’s a shame he said, I’d better take it back then” I stopped dead in my tracks and quite literally fell about laughing. “You are joking, why on earth would you buy something like that?” I said, “You’d look ridiculous driving it” I feel that I should explain myself at this point, it was a little outspoken of me, but imagining my 15 stone hunk of a man, behind the wheel of this little Citroen made me laugh. I must have been a bit dazed from the hospital, since we clearly were just not on the same level. “No Silly, I wasn’t thinking of it for me, it’s for you” Suddenly I fell in with an almighty splash and regretted hastily voicing my thoughts, ALL CHANGE! HE HAD BOUGHT ME A CAR….
“Thank You, Thank, You, Please don’t take it back” I said. “But you said you didn’t like them” ” Yes, but I’d love THIS one after all, It’s a present!” He has on many occasions shed light on the fact that I can be fickle, sometimes it drives him nuts, but he has got used to it now.
It was not the first car that had been bought for me to use. At seventeen, one had been purchased for me , which needed a whole load of work sat in a friends garden and rotted away since I couldn’t drive it to get it fixed up and was eventually scrapped. A few years later, another boyfriend thought that he would buy the perfect car for me, he put it in his garden along with the other vehicles that he had amassed there over the years and that would be incentive for me to learn to drive, if I passed my test then I would be able to drive it, maybe. Except that he was a control freak and his particular brand of control meant that was never going to happen.
On this particular day, he told me to clamber in and find something to tie my hair back with, the roof was pulled back and we folded the windows open. I was to learn that they had to be properly secured otherwise, they would bang shut if you went over a bump and could trap fingers. But in we got and took the car on it’s maiden voyage. I sat inside, noticed the funny gear change, up on the dashboard known as an umbrella gear stick, since it has a handle just like an old fashioned umbrella handle. “How do you drive one like that?”, I asked. “I will show you, it all” he said. “If you can use this gear change, then you can drive anything” We drove down to the beach, took it round the country roads and it turned out to be fun. “We’ll have to sort out insurance and L Plates then you can drive it.” He didn’t need to ask me twice, I think I did that the very same evening.
And so our adventures began. We covered thousands of miles in that little French Blue, Citroen 2CV. Had lots of fun and I learned to drive, we headed off to Brighton on the coast for regular weekends, on one occasion we broke down, the starter motor packed up and a friendly driver, gave us his wrench to get it started, you had to tap the side of it and then it would fire up. We did this until my next payday when I bought a new starter motor and my Dad fitted it for me, under sufferance. On one occasion when we drove back from Brighton, a lorry driver attempted to run us off the road, at that point my boyfriend decided that when we could we would change the car for something with a little bit more power, since he never wanted that to happen to me when I was out on my own. It was an unpleasant episode. In the time I had it, I only ever had to replace the starter and a couple of spark plugs. If I recall, it only had two, due to it’s very small engine. We kept the car for about 2 years, unfortunately, we bid it a fond farewell after the heels I was wearing went through the floor and I couldn’t find anyone anywhere who wanted to weld it. I was choked to wave goodbye to it, but it would not get through an MOT without the welding.
I saw the car some time later, it had been bought by some rich man for his Au Pair, welded and treated to a new roof to give it a new lease of life, I was pleased to see that it wasn’t scrapped and dismantled after all. I would have loved to have kept it, they are worth a small fortune as a modern classic car these days and have quite a following. They are full of character and are so basic in their design, but are so useful since they sit so high and can travel over awkward terrain with ease. Previous advertising campaigns for the car in their heyday, showed it being driven through a ploughed field with a box of eggs on the front seat, arriving unbroken at the other side. A whole box of Eggs! Well that alone should be enough reason to get one. Ours was able to be parked off road in a field or roadside for an impromptu picnic and life was all the better for it. Ah those were the days…
Unfortunately those were also the days before I had a camera, so I don’t have a photo of the original one. This, photo is one I came across recently which brought the happy memories flooding back and prompted this post.