When I was young

I seem to remember that enormous hill on what used to be the A25 and particularly scaling it on one occasion in a very ancient (1922) car called an ABC which I had gone shares of £2 each on with a friend from X who came to stay and swat for our final exams – around 1935. This car had an unusual lubrication system by which oil dripped into the crankcase at the rate at which it was supposed to being burnt up or otherwise used. You could see it dripping in a little glass tube mounted on the dashboard. I don’t know whether it was a fault of the system or just of this car, but if you went up a long hill where the engine was pulling hard without any let up, it somehow built up a pressure in the crankcase and the oil started coming up the pipe instead of down until the glass tube was full of it. It was always nerve-racking wondering whether the top of the hill or a piston seizing up would come first. Once one got over the top and going downhill it all ran away into the engine again, to my great relief. It was a nice car, with a very good upright driving position, and a four speed gearbox which was well ahead of its time.

 No, I haven’t left my upbringing behind entirely, as regards the telephone. I often find myself waiting like Job for the bad news as I lift the receiver. And I’m not as good as X at just chatting even with free calls!

 I’m a bit worried she doesn’t intend having jabs – remembering the plague in X when everyone had to be inoculated against it. One bright local went for his buddies with suitable payment – which he didn’t last to use. It’s a v. nasty one and so is the plague.

the plague


I had a letter from X [niece’s husband] thanking me for the tails and dinner jacket. He took them to the tailors to be altered and they were a bit stuffy about it until they looked at it, then the tailor called all his staff to come and see the wonderful material and hand-finishing. It had ‘1937’ in the pocket [60 years previously].

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