This photo reminds me of all the breakdowns I had in “The Yellow Peril” and how Dad came to my rescue every time even though I was living and working about 3 hours away. Dad was an aircraft mechanic in the war and had a knack with motors. If parts couldn’t be obtained he’d usually be able to make them. When I was in a position to buy my first car I trusted Dad to find me the right one. I really wanted a Triumph Herald but he convinced me that they had too many problems with rust so I decided I’d have a Morris Minor instead. I thought they were cute.
I was excited when Dad phoned to tell me he’d bought my car but devastated when I saw it. It was a Morris Oxford, next size up from the Minor, the paint was maroon and oxidised. Horrible.I didn’t drive it back but asked Dad to paint it bright yellow for me and apparently he shut his eyes as he applied the first brush stroke. He did an excellent job, you couldn’t even see paint strokes on it and I put happy, bright, daisy stickers on the hubcaps.
There was no heater in it so in winter when I set off to go back to Berri after a weekend in Adelaide I wrapped a blanket around myself and had a hot water bottle in my lap. Throughout the 3 years I had the car I can remember breaking down on the way into Waikerie, Renmark, Barmera and Truro. Every time I came back to Adelaide the car boiled going up the long, long incline of Accomodation Hill. I’d stop at the top and let the car cool down before continuing. Once when I was stopped there I was bombarded by black beetles.
When my resident mechanic, AKA Dad, went away on holiday I had a problem with the brakes and had to pump them to make them work. On my last trip back to Adelaide I remember driving onto the punt and thinking, “The chain at the end will stop me from going into the water if the brakes don’t work.”
I’m older and wiser now, I think.