Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Positive Things About The Old Country

In deference to my previous musings, I shall comment on one of the decent things about 'Blighty'. I've already mentioned pork pies and sausage rolls (not Tesco's abominations).

One of my most endearing memories is of my father's Morris Minor (license plate FJC 276). This car was originally owned by Miss Jennie Thomas, the author (with Mr. J.O. Williams) of the very popular children’s story of Wil Cwac Cwac (http://www.toonhound.com/wilcwac.htm). Miss Thomas taught me a lot about human beings and child behavior, as she ran the local Sunday School in my father’s chapel. Mr. Williams and Miss Thomas are still revered in Welsh literary circles, and quite rightly so.

Not to digress too much, my father’s Morris was a 1957 two door, with a front seat that folded twice to allow access to the rear. This ensured that ladies with a desire for modesty were somewhat deluded, but a sneaked view of a stocking top was guaranteed – this was a major plus for a spotty 17 year-old youth. (Peterkins would have been proud of me.)

The Morris was a great car. It delivered me and my friend John Ffrancon to the wilds of Scotland on eight gallons of petrol (gas), half a gallon of oil, and about half a gallon of ale. We spent many happy days fishing in the Lochs, and looking at young women coming out of the kirk in such erstwhile places as Oban. The Morris failed in its attempt to lure the Loch Ness Monster out of its hiding place though.

Here in the US, these cars were not sold in vast numbers - not the USA's fault, but the result of some internal shenanigans within the UK.

There were many versions of the car – a 2 door, a 4 door, a Traveller which was essentially a small wagon (Estate Car), complete with wooden trimmings, and the convertible. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morris_Minor)

Which brings to me back to the plot. I recently witnessed a lady, not in her youth, driving one of these cars here in Florida. She had a convertible, and the top was down. The steering wheel was on the left as well. I have made enquiries of Mr. Charles Ware of Bath – an expert on Moggies (as they are affectionally known in the UK), who assures me that he can provide me with a convertible, fully restored, left hand drive version for a modest sum. (I will win the lottery one of these days.)

On the other hand, I saw one of these cars with a Range Rover (Buick) V8 installed at a car rally outside Orlando, Florida. Not nice in my view. The Moggy, not Orlando. On second thoughts, Orlando too. Said car rally is best saved for 50s American cars. If only they still made them…… A ’59 Cadillac convertible and a ’56 Thunderbird still reign supreme.

Here endeth today’s lesson.