Thursday, February 22, 2018

Pamela and John Hales - Part 1

Our Labour of Love

My dear late parents, Ray and Ethel Woodward, bought 'Woody', (my dad's nick name), a second-hand 1955, Series 2, split screen, 803cc, sandy beige Morris Traveller. It has a Leicester registration plate, LUT 533, (co-incidentally the numbers are the month and year of my birth! ). It was purchased around Valentine's Day in February 1959, after Dad had regularly been to view it at a car showroom in Leicester. He'd finally saved up enough money to be able to buy it from his weekly wage as a wooden Pattern Maker (54 years) for Ashwell & Nesbits, Iron Founders, Barkby Road, Leicester.

 He cherished the car and our family were fortunate to go abroad in it every year on camping holidays to which it was well suited. My sister Carole and Dad would sleep in a little ridge tent, and Mum and I would sleep in the car, as the back seats could be folded down and the front seats folded away under the bulkhead, making an area large enough for 2 lilo air beds. Mum even made some little curtains to draw at nights, making it look like a mini caravan.

Dad would cook us breakfast every morning on his ‘nice little set-up'. He’d made a sheet aluminium complete kitchen gizmo that bolted together – washing up bowl on top complete with fold out drainer, a shelf underneath for plates and below that a larger area that housed 2 primus stoves. He'd sit on a tiny fishing stool, cooking and whistling, as all scouts do, and greet us all a “good morning” with his cheeky smile. 
The most epic journey it made was to Venice. Dad had been a good scout and was always organized and prepared for everything. We still have the route he took, and would like to reconstruct the journey at some future date.

   Dad didn't use the car for going to work, preferring to ride his bike, and saving the car for family visiting, holidays, and for ferrying Scouts, Guides, Band, and camping equipment for the local 78th Leicester, based at Unicorn Street, Thurmaston. I met my husband John in 1967 through being in the 78th as a Scout and Guide, and both of us were in the Band. We travelled everywhere, at home and abroad, on a selection of different ‘classic' motorbikes John owned, (mainly Velocettes, we've been members of this club for 35 years, John now being the Chairman), until we got engaged on my 21st Birthday, 17th March 1974, and Dad said, "Here, you will have the Morris, I'm not having you take my daughter around on the back of a motorbike anymore!"

He'd taught me to drive in it and every day I would drive to work in Leicester, until one day when it finally failed its MOT!! The car needed extensive welding, so rather than spend time and money repairing it, another cheap car came along to bridge the gap. Sad to say the Morris was shamefully left in the Paddock at John’s Mum and Dad’s house from then onwards, eventually with a little brick wall built round it, and a tree growing through it for 21 years – a very sorry sight. Many people would ask whether it was for sale, the answer always, "No, sorry, it’s a member of the family". 

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