Web Page No 2148
13th April 2015
Top Picture: Standard 10
Middle Picture: Dormobile Van
Bottom Picture: Triumph Herald with the bonnet open
What was your first car? Can you remember? Mine was a dark blue Standard 10 registration number 9295 BP. Not exactly the peak of comfort or high on the list for street credit but it got to and from my first job. This car was very basic with no fitted radio or windscreen washers, but the fitting of one solved the second problem. I fitted a Wipac pump action windscreen washer and then screwed the pump onto the centre of the dashboard, now this solved the radio problem because I could hang a small transistor by its handle onto the plunger of that pump and then place a portable radio aerial onto the passenger window, it worked most of the time. I owned the car for about two years and it seemed that I spent most of my spare cash on accessories; fog light, spot light, reversing light and wing mirrors, in fact everything that we take for granted on the modern car. My second car was a grey Triumph Herald 186 COU with a 948cc engine, a little better for my street cred this one!
Do you remember the cars like the Zodiac or Zephyr or Cresta which were fitted with a bench front seat which sat three people? Because of the bench seat these vehicles were fitted with a column gear change. The seats were made either of leather (this was from the top of the range selection) or for the standard car a form of plastic. They both looked fine but one of the big problems was that they were very, very slippery. In those days seat belts were yet to be fitted to most cars so it was almost essential that you carried two front seat passengers whenever you went out, that way the three of you could wedge yourselves in, because if you didn’t every time you took the car around a tight left hand corner you found yourself sliding further and further away from the pedals and steering wheel.
I never owned one of these cars myself but I do remember driving a Dormobile delivery van when I worked part time in Drayton’s record shop, R.A.Fraser, this was after school at weekends and during the school and college holidays. After I had passed my driving test I was allowed to make deliveries and collection in the company van. This van was the bain of my life! One day I was returning to the shop after making a delivery in Paulsgrove and as I approached the clock roundabout in Cosham I saw an opportunity to pull out into the traffic and onto the roundabout. I pulled away in second gear and swiftly changed up into third gear when I heard an ominous crunch and clatter and the gear lever froze. I limped the van onto Spur Road and looked back and there on the road in the middle of the roundabout was a selection of springs and linkages from the vans gear change mechanism. Whilst I sat there with my foot firmly on the clutch, I dared not turn the engine off, a passing policeman saw my dilemma and kindly stopped the traffic, walked into the road and retrieved the wayward parts. On returning to the van he presented me with the pieces and said that he thought my boss should get the van serviced and repaired as far as I knew it had recently had passed its MOT test but I could have been wrong. Having thanked the constable I then limped the van all the way from Cosham to Drayton stuck in third gear, I can tell you that this certainly caused some hefty traffic jam and Mr Fraser was not best pleased either!
One other car story. For just over a year I worked in Worcester and having just got engaged I would travel back to Portsmouth to see my fiancée, yes it was Pam and yes we are still married. At this time I was driving my second Triumph Herald, do you remember the bonnet on these, rather like the ones on the frog eye Sprites, lifted forward so you could gain complete access to the engine compartment. One fine summers evening about 11.00pm I was travelling along and was happily coming down the steep hill just outside Cheltenham with my headlights full on and somehow both bonnet clips came undone and the bonnet lifted. All of a sudden I was plunged into complete darkness; I could not see a thing, here I was lucky on two counts. One I had the driver’s window open and could lean out just far enough to see a bit of the road ahead and bring the car to a halt. The second bit of luck was that I was the only thing on the road! This really scared me and so the very next day I went to the local Triumph dealer and had lockable bonnet catches fitted and from that day on I never, ever drove the car at night without checking that the bonnet catches were locked. Stay in touch
Well, that finally settles it I am still as thick as ever. lol All I can remember about the 11+ exam was that I was scared stiff of it and that a promise of a shiney new bike would not be coming my way and it didn't !
Mr King's 4th year class at Solent Rd. was not the nicest place to be I would suggest for an 11 year old. Anyone remember undertaking practice paper's? I certainly don't. Did we do any class revision? I know my Dad ran through a few arithmetic problems a week before the 11+ with me.
It really didn't make a lot of difference really because I found out some information on this 11+ exam from a retired headmaster when I was in my 20's. There was no pass mark for Portsmouth Schools. The places available were so limited for grammar schools that all they had was a top end limited cut-off point for selection of the really brightest A* pupils plus a recommendation from their form/head teacher
Placing's had got so bad Portsmouth Education had the newly built Southern Grammar school opened as quickly as possibly ahead of building schedule and I think I am right in saying it actually opened in the year we all took our 11+.
So after ALL these years does anyone actually care about their status after the 11+? I certainly don't. We went to a good school that was Manor Court.
News and Views:
On this day 13th April 1960-1965
On 13/04/1960 the number one single was My Old Man's a Dustman - Lonnie Donegan and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Wagon Train (ITV) and the box office smash was Psycho. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and
Burnley were on the way
to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 13/04/1961 the number one single was Wooden Heart - Elvis Presley and the number one album was GI Blues - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was The Budget (All Channels) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Tottenham Hotspur were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 13/04/1962 the number one single was Wonderful Land - The Shadows and the number one album was Blue Hawaii - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and
were on the way to becoming
the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the week was Georges Pompidou becomes French Prime
Minister. Ipswich Town
On 13/04/1963 the number one single was How Do You Do It? - Gerry & the Pacemakers and the number one album was Summer Holiday - Cliff Richard & the Shadows. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 13/04/1964 the number one single was Can't Buy Me Love - The Beatles and the number one album was With the Beatles - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was The Budget (All Channels) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the week was Telstar broadcasts live TV pictures to UK from Japan
On 13/04/1965 the number one single was The Minute You're Gone - Cliff Richard and the number one album was Rolling Stones Number 2 - The Rolling Stones. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £11.69 and
United were on the way to becoming
the Season's Division 1 champions. Manchester