I am fond of old vintage vehicles. When we stayed in Geraldine last week, I wandered down the road to revisit the wonderful motor museum. It was destroyed by fire in 1979 but they have rebuilt the complex and restored the vehicles magnificently. Lo and behold, on display was a 1927 Austin - almost identical to the "Old Austin" I grew up with (ours a 1929 Austin 12/4). It had to be closely inspected! I could hear it again - purring as only a vintage car can. Memories flooded back..........the time Dad took me up to the confluence of the Harper and Avoca rivers beyond Lake Coleridge to visit my big brother Barry who was fencing up there during the summer..........and the time Dad drove Mum, my sister Katie and I down to Queenstown in the middle of the night for a holiday. I saw my first aurora that night as we froze in the car as it 'purred' along at ~40mph. It was many years later that Mum told me that we drove there and back at night because 'Old Austin' had no warrant of fitness or registration! Typical Dad.
Old Austin was sold when I was ~18 years old. Dad no longer used it but refused to let it stay in the family. He only wanted 15 quid for it. So my brother and I worked on it (I had just bought my first car - 1939 Austin which had an identical battery arrangement (2x6volt batteries). We temporarily transferred the batteries, hand cranked it a few times (it hadn't been started for many years by this time), then fired it up. The old girl started immediately - smoke billowed out, birds flew out of nests, mice scampered, and spiders stirred (I exaggerate). We sold it for 30 quid, gave Dad his 15 quid, and pocketed 7.5 quid each! I shudder to think what the old car might be worth today.
And then I went through to view the trucks. Here was Dad's last work truck. This was the model he last had when working as an electrician for the CCEPB (Central Canterbury Electric Power Board). History again........and the memories flooding forth again. When Mum had her heart attack and then her broken hip, Dad suddenly made the decision to retire - with immediate effect. He didn't even take the truck back to the yard - they had to come and collect it. Typical Dad.
Ah memories.........................................such as they were!