I was there... al­most

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - The Way We Were -

In 1973, I was only two years old, so my mem­o­ries of any­thing from that era are… well, ut­terly non-ex­is­tent.

My ear­li­est rec­ol­lec­tion is of hear­ing ABBA on the ra­dio, singing Water­loo, but that didn’t come out un­til 1974, when Swe­den won the Euro­vi­sion Song Con­test with it, and prob­a­bly ex­plains why I have a pen­chant for Volvos and Saabs th­ese days.

The Gunn fam­ily lived on the Isle of Shep­pey in Kent un­til 1975, be­fore mov­ing to Bournemouth in Dorset. From both places, though, a favourite sum­mer hol­i­day desti­na­tion was St Ives in Corn­wall, which meant an in­ter­minably long trip for the young me try­ing to find a cool area of vinyl seat­ing in the back of a hot Vaux­hall Viva HB or Austin Maxi.

Our usual route was the A35 to Honi­ton, then con­nect­ing with the A30 all the way to Pen­zance. I re­call the A30 as be­ing es­pe­cially treach­er­ous one Christ­mas, when snow re­sulted in the fam­ily Maxi get­ting stuck half­way up a hill in a bliz­zard. At least the vinyl had cooled down by then.

How­ever, if I was es­pe­cially per­sis­tent, we would oc­ca­sion­ally use the A38 in­stead, which went via Ply­mouth. My rea­son for pre­fer­ring this route was be­cause the bore­dom of a des­per­ately long jour­ney was briefly al­le­vi­ated by Isam­bard King­dom Brunel’s Royal Al­bert Bridge at Sal­tash.

This was the high point – al­most lit­er­ally – of the whole 200-mile trip. If I was par­tic­u­larly lucky, from 1976 on­wards, there was al­ways the pos­si­bil­ity of spot­ting one of Bri­tish Rail’s new In­ter­City 125s cross­ing Brunel’s mag­nif­i­cent 1859 struc­ture. It was enough to make me mo­men­tar­ily for­get I was trapped in the back of a Maxi or Viva for an­other 100 miles or so.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.