Sunday, January 21, 2007


Inevitably I feel quite low, having driven Gran back to her sheltered housing. I hate leaving her there, she's not happy there, but I don't think there is an alternative.

Today she told me about how she learned to drive. When she was in the land army, the first farmer she worked for (who wasn't a nice man, but I didn't ask why, maybe I should next time), told her to get in the car and pointed at the gearstick & pedals and told her to get on with it. So she bumped along the driveway and somehow managed to turn it to drive back again. She then drove around the farm as necessary while she was working in the land army.

After the war, she had some lessons (and took the test) with a Mr Reeve, who she remembers with fondness and respect, saying his teaching stood in her good stead throughout her driving life. It's all about positioning, she says :). She's recently given up her car, as she says it's too expensive and that if she were in an accident, she thinks she would be blamed automatically because of her age. I think someone convinced her, to be honest. I'm not sure how I feel about that, because although she is elderly, I don't think she is dangerous and without the car she is relatively trapped at the sheltered housing. Of course, there are taxis and even mobility chairs, but the latter she seems reluctant even to consider. Without the car, she is dependent on when the taxis can get there, or on her family/friends to take her shopping or anywhere. The housing is on a hill that she simply can't walk.

I reminded her how Granddad had a Robin Reliant for a while, and she remembered that with fondness, although his favourite transport was motorbike. He never took a full driving test, but could legally drive motorbikes and three-wheelers, don't know if that's the case now, but it was then. He had a Norton motorbike, but when Uncle Dickie died they came into a little money, with which she bought a little car for them and a new motorbike for him, but with a smaller engine capacity. She said he had scared her to death on the Norton, with the speed he would do, so when it needed some work doing, they bought the slower but newer bike. It sounds like she "got her way", a bit to me. :D

I remember him jury-rigging the rotivator so it pulled a trailer up the drive of the small-holding, loaded with churns of water to fill the bullocks' water trough. He wore woolly jumpers all the time, over a shirt, and all his working, daily jumpers had holes in them. He would wear several in winter, all with the holes in different places. every Christmas we gave him a new jumper, but those never seemed to become his work jumpers :D. I remember a yellow one with a huge hole at the tummy, particularly well.

I remember he wasn't impressed by my grooming of a pony I was about to ride, and I retorted that it had been too dark in the stable to see. He replied that if I'd done it thoroughly, I wouldn't have needed to see. :D

I remember asking him why the cockerel was chasing the hens, and he told me it was because he felt "so manly". :D

No comments: