Wheels: Times Past


© irene waters 2016

Welcome back to Times Past in 2017. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year. It seems like such a long time ago, now that we are already into our second month of 2017 and the world order seems as though it has subtly (or not so subtly) changed. Here, however, we are not looking at the future but rather delving into our past or that of someone that we knew/know well. We are looking at whether there is a generational difference and whether the geographical place we grew up creates differences between different generations and those that are the same. Go here for full information on the challenge. Remember though when posting to include what generation you belong to and whether you lived in the city or rural area of what country. If you have any subject prompts or would like to do the challenge as a guest prompter I’d love to hear from you.

This month the topic is Wheels. Automobiles played a large part in my life as they probably did in yours. I didn’t appreciate them for themselves however, but rather for where they might take me. Where did cars fit into your life?

The Mclaren car was not a part of my youth but for my husband’s (Silent Generation, Rural city England), seeing this car parked in our street memories came flooding back of his time at Shoreham where he worked for BMW as an importer/exporter (customs agent). A Mclaren racing car had come across and he had to deal with its import. Already tempers were flared by the team as the racing season had started before the car’s arrival and they had commenced with another car. My husband’s boss wanted to try the car out that they had sitting on the wharves and he took it for a spin. The power was incredible and disastrous. He put a rod through the side of the car leaving a gaping hole. One of the conditions of entry to the country was that the car would never be driven on the road. It now obviously had and during the customs inspection Roger had to drape himself over the car covering the blemish so that the inspector would not realise. They got away with it but I bet there were some irate people when the car was finally delivered.

For myself (Baby Boomer, Rural Australia) one of my first memories was of a car trip which terrified me. We had been picked up by one of my Father’s new congregation from the New England Tableland for the trip down to our new home in Casino.


© irene waters 2017

This trip on the winding dirt road left me neurotically fearful of such roads for the rest of my life. The family’s first car came with the job as did all his cars until he left the parish. Not only would it be used for home visits and to get to the Sunday Services held in the remote churches in the farming area but we would go on holiday. On these occasions my Father accentuated my fear by pretending to be close to the edge and about to drive off into the ravine below.


© irene waters 2017

Not only did cars take me places but they also supplemented my meagre income.


© irene waters 2017

I learnt to drive as soon as I was the minimum age allowed to get a learner’s permit (16  years). My mother taught me and her fears were as great am my own. On our first day kangaroo hopping down the street and stalling had her yelling at me. When I did finally get going and I needed to stop I realised she hadn’t told me how to and a tree proved a convenient method. Luckily I was going very slowly. From there I progressed into the car park until she felt I was safe only to have me go into another tree. Back to the car park and when back on the road her scream of terror “Watch the car coming the other way” saw me apply the brakes with such force, thinking I was about to hit something, that I spun the car around. The car, when I saw it, was so far away that I needed a telescope to see it. Finally, however, I successfully passed my license test. For my entire P (provisional license) plate year I did not drive. I went nursing and had no need of a car.

It was not until I was part way through 2nd year that I decided to buy a car. I was told Donny, a wardsman at the hospital, was the person to see to help buy me a good second hand car. This I did and I was so proud when he turned up with an old Valiant for me. He parked it in the nurses car park and when next I went to drive it I found it would not start.There it sat being used as a motel for nurses who had missed curfew and could not get back into the home without having the wrath of the home sister fall on their head.

I didn’t drive again for ten years as I took up motorcycle riding but that is another story.

I’d love to hear how important cars or anything with wheels was to you in your younger days or even currently. Do a post and link it back here or put your response in the comments section here. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Baby Boomer Australia City


Baby Boomer England Rural

Rattled #flash fiction #carrotranch




Baby Boomer England whilst travelling in Asia


Gen X  Rural California USA

Times Past: 4-Wheeling the West

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
This entry was posted in Memoir, Past Challenge, photography, story telling, Times Past and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Wheels: Times Past

  1. Charli Mills says:

    Happy to see this fascinating prompt return after the holidays. I definitely have what I think will be rural-specific to the American West, though you’d not like the roads I grew up on!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Motorcycle riding – oh my. One of my sons rides a motorcycle, and I have to say, I’m not thrilled. trust him to be a careful driver – I don’t trust anyone else on the road. I hope you had a safe motorcycle history, Irene.

    For myself, baby boomer that I am, I have to say I intensely dislike traffic and distracted drivers. I’d rather be in an museum, looking at beautiful art than driving in a city. No cars particularly attract my attention. I once mixed up a Mercedes for a Honda.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Love it Sharon. I bet the Mercedes driver would have been a bit upset had he known.I agree with driving in the city. If you don’t have to don’t. Walking keeps you healthy anyway. I can understand your unhappiness that your son rides. My mother felt the same. I too would feel the same if I had a son. To tell you the truth I have no idea where I found the courage. Luckily I had no major spills.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Eleazar says:

    Lovely stories about past times.
    Myself I don’t have much experience with cars cause I only got my car license last year, and nowadays don’t use the car at all.
    But anyways I enjoyed reading your post.
    Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Annecdotist says:

    Oh gosh, this one should bring out a lot of different memories!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. TanGental says:

    here’s a recollection of my parents/family cars that Charli prompt brought up. https://geofflepard.com/2017/01/09/rattled-flash-fiction-carrotranch/ For me, I didn’t learn to drive until 28 so could afford a decent car even if my first was a pretentious MG Metro – a basic Mini Metro with souped up engine, MG badge and stickers – followed by a Peugeot 209 in bright red with a gti badge to make it something it wasn’t. Then it was children and a series of Saabs until that company collapsed into administration and now it’s a VW and very comfortable and very dull. All I ever wanted out of a car was that it went. No ifs, no buts.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for joining in Geoff. Enjoyed seeing the cars of your childhood and being reminded of the rattle. We still have a Saab which is proving very difficult to get parts for. Luckily it is mechanically A1 but we needed to replace a part in the demister known as a toilet roll holder. This started in November and finally got one from the States end January. The stupid thing is that all we want to do is sell the car but govt regulations won’t let us without a working demister. Not something we use often here.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Pingback: Times Past: Wheels | Musings of a Retiring Person

  7. macmsue says:

    As usual I enjoyed reading your post. Like you, I remember being terrified travelling through narrow winding roads. I now reassure my grandson when he shudders, “Oh no! I’m of the drop-off side”. My submission is here: http://wp.me/p4d8rD-jm

    Liked by 2 people

  8. trina59 says:

    Hi, found your monthly challenge and even though there is not much I have to say about wheels I would like to join in. Is it enough to just send you the link to my blog or is there something else I have to do?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: Times Past: 4-Wheeling the West « Carrot Ranch Communications

  10. Sherri says:

    Hello dear Irene, it’s so good to see you up and blogging again, I’ve missed you greatly, although I am sorry I haved missed your posts since your return. I turned off all my blog notifications last year and haven’t turned them on again, as I can’t keep up, but I’m so glad that I now know you’re back to your Time’s Past posts, thanks to Charli’s link that I read today. I wish I could participate for this month, I will try and see what I can do in the coming weeks. Loved your wheeling memories, scary and funny! My first ever car was my little black, rust-heap of a Mini. I saved up my money from my job at the Post Office and loved it. Passing my test (second time, was devasated at failing the first time) gave me the freedom I craved. I didn’t care that my feet got soaking wet everytime it rained, I adored that car and felt rich when I could afford to put a pound note’s worth of petrol in it! I even learned how to change a tyre myself and do an oil change. But one day, putting the jack up to fix a puncture, the sills were so rusty, that the jack went right through the bottom of the car leaving a gaping hole! Oh the joys of young car ownership. I can see why you are still afraid of those windy roads after your first early experience, that sounded truly terrifying. And I did laugh about the kangaroo incident (thank goodness you were okay with that tree in the way, yikes!) and your future car being used as a nurse motel. Oh Irene, I do love reading about your adventures, and I definitely want to know about your motorcycle days, sounds amazing! Always love your family pics, the one of you helping wash the car is priceless. Great to read you again my friend 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lovely to see you Sherri. Don’t worry about not making a specific post. Just your remembrances in the comments are rich in how it was for you. Did you still drive your car with the hole through the floor. I can just see you wearing your gum boots to wherever you were driving to in order to stop getting your feet wet. I know how difficult it is to keep up with everything but will enjoy seeing you when you can and I’ll see you on FB. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sherri says:

        Ahh…thanks Irene, I appreciate your understanding so much. You know I love to visit you as much as I can, and I’ll do that with my comments until I can post more again on my blog. It’s great fun reminiscing with you through your wonderful memoir prompts. Haha…yes, I did drive with the hole, as it was so rusty underneath, it couldn’t be fixed! I drove it until I could afford a better, newer model sans holes in the floor, thanks to a small loan from a family friend who I paid off each month. I sold that car when I moved to America a few months later and paid it off. I didn’t like it as much anyway, it was mustard colour! But at least my feet didn’t get wet everytime I drove in the rain! 😀 Yes…see you on FB and I’ll be back here in the week…<3 xxx


      • Haha. Funny the things we love about a car. Roger was almost in tears yesterday after we sold his 1996 Saab convertible for less than we paid for a new bed. I never found his car that comfy where I hope the bed will be but he just loved that car and he never will the bed.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh no…poor Roger, but happy you with your new bed! Mike is just the same with his cars…I don’t get it personally, like you, would much rather have the comfy bed!! 🙂 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hopefully once he is in it he will change his mind and realise its worth. Otherwise he will have to commiserate with Mike if we ever get to meet and have that chin wag.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I hope so too Irene…or as you say…I can see them both now!! But we’ll be talking about other things while we head out on a very long walk 😉 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Annecdotist says:

    I had a bike from the age of five and, once the stabilisers came off, I was away! I was never a competitive cyclist but used it for years as a mode of transport. When I lived in a city and worked at a psychiatric hospital but also went out “into the community”, I used it when I could for appointments – and this was in rainy England – and even claimed mileage allowance (obviously much lower than for cars). The longstay patients, most of whom had never had cars themselves, were amazed that I chose to cycle when I had a car.
    My first car, which was actually my boyfriend’s, was a rusting white Ford Escort called Jimmy. We were in our early 20s and tried to do all the maintenance ourselves – fortunately he had a knowledgeable friend who supervised/took over, or I probably wouldn’t be here today!
    I haven’t been able to fit in a post on your wheels theme but I’ve been reminiscing about my travels in today’s post
    which refers to a range of wheeled transport that took me into Bangladesh. Not mentioned in the post, but inscribed in my diary from the time, is that I took in the sights of Dhaka on the back of a motorbike. It’s strange though I have no memory of this – although it is thirty odd years ago – since many of my experiences of motorbikes have been too traumatic to forget (sadly).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for joining in Anne. Interesting that you cannot remember your motorbike travelling in Dakha. Perhaps that was the most common thing amongst experiences that were totally new and foreign and it was these that you focused on. Or perhaps it was so terrifying that you have repressed it totally. You would know more about that than I but I am glad you shared some of your experiences with us.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Pingback: #Weekend Coffee Share 25th February 2017 | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s