As a family we have travelled far, and in many ways. This post describes some of the notable ways that family members have used to get from place to place – as well as being a nod to the CD by Flanders and Swann, whose comic songs, many on a transport theme, were part of the musical accompaniment of my childhood.
The Primus stove at the verge allowed the family to make tea wherever they were.
The Morris belonged to my Grandfather, while the motorbike and sidecar was probably Michael’s – the one he took to the cottage at Birling Gap, and possibly the same one my Grandmother used to deliver eggs from the farm at Box.
My father proposed to my mother on Westminster Bridge so that he was in a convenient place to throw himself off if she said “no”. Fortunately she said “yes”. I think the actual proposal might have been on Christmas eve 1955, as my father was in Scotland and my mother in England for most of the run up, however they were clearly keeping in touch, not only with each other, but with the wider family and some of the letters have been preserved.
My father wrote this postcard in Tarbert Waiting Room (B.R.) on Thursday 10th November 1955, to send to my mothers parents.
Dear Mr and Mrs Box,
By now Jane will have let you know our intentions. As I want to ask Jane to marry me to her face it is rather premature to ask for your reactions, as we shan’t see one another till Christmas Eve. That I love Jane more than anything else in the world will, I hope, be apparent to you. You probably also realise that I cannot offer her riches, though I think I can promise that she will not starve. Fortunately she and I think alike on the essentials, and our love hasn’t blinded us to the demerits of the other. Its just that one half of my life now lives 400 miles away in the South. I hope you will forgive this scrawl and the muddled midnight thoughts.
With Love to you both
The plantations on the st. are Nevis Forest (F.C.)
My father’s family must have known what was going on as my Grandfather, George Lines, wrote him this letter.
Wednesday Nov. 9th
My dear Roger/
This is certainly a Red letter day ! I am delighted at your news (however much under a hat at the moment).
Frankly I have always had a tender regard for Jane & admire your taste. Having known her a
than you have – I’m sure you’ll both the very happy. While I think you’re a very fortunate chap, I can’t help feeling that Jane will have a very sweet lad, Mummie and I feel very happy about it all.
We are all very thrilled at the idea of the house hunting – I can let you have the money back any moment you like.
Won’t stop for more now as its rather late but
with much love
Yours ever Daddy.
My aunt Jennifer, his sister, also sent her congratulations.
We are feeling so delighted with The News. I really couldn’t be more pleased, I’ve always liked Jane so much. I’m afraid I can’t help spreading your engagement-to-be about, so if you really want it kept a bit dark at the moment you’d better let me have a list of those not to be told, or the “real thing” will be a bit stale!
If you could send me a note again of what you spent on Nora and Marjorie I would be pleased to settle up with you before I begin thinking of your wedding present!
We have been much amused at all your financial arrangements, and Daddy is still puzzling over your Income Tax.
The Fiat should be very smart for you at Christmas, (or are you bringing the S.8. ?) and I’m looking forward to having it back. It should be ready before the weekend. I have been going in Miss Large’s S.8. every day and I’m afraid I shall miss the heater.
Don’t write specially, but if you could tell me about the money when you send your washing or something I will get a warrant for you.
Heaps of love,
Nora and Marjorie were college friends of Jennifer’s at Froebel, also housed in The Row, whereas my mother was in Templeton. Nora was from Edinburgh and she and Marjorie were in year below Jennifer and my mother.
The reason Jennifer would miss the heater in Miss Large’s Standard Eight, is that her Fiat did not have one. At some point her brother, Jeremy, put a funnel behind the radiator with a 2″ hose to the inside. In the summer Jennifer would put a duster into the pipe to turn it off. The main modification Jeremy made was to put an alloy pudding basin over the distributor, as previously, when it rained the car stopped. It worked very well.
The car had a starting handle, and was nominally a two seater, but had a “kind of shelf” where two further passengers could perch, although all passengers might need to disembark if a steep hill was encountered.
Miss Large was head of Juniors as Ashford, the second school Jennifer taught at, and was giving Jennifer a lift to school at this point.
My father had a Standard Eight, which he probably needed as he travelled the cournty a lot , looking at forests, though earlier he had used a motorbike, and in those days he could also reach places by train.
Jeremy cleaned my father’s Standard Eight at Pickwick on the morning of my parents wedding.