Monday, 15 March 2010


Most of our time and money are spent on supporting the activities of our children. Climbing, down-hill cycling, flute/saxophone/clarinet/drum kit, guides and scouts. All are very worth while, and all can, at times be very expensive. Both children are good at managing money. Pocket money and birthday and Christmas gifts are contributed to the pot when necessary. They both understand the value of things rather than the price - I hope this attitude travels with them both to university!

We seldom spend money on ourselves, and tend to feel guilty at the thought - until last September.

My father always worked long hours, and, when we were young, 7 days/week. He didn't have a large income and money was always carefully saved for a rainy day or retirement. We lived on a busy road next to his business property and he knew he would need to move when he retired.

His pride and joy was a 1936 Morris 14 ( or at least that's what I remember it to have been called). It was black, very large, very heavy, had red leather upholstery, long running boards, doors that opened the 'wrong' way and 'pokey-out' indicators. The gear box required 'double- de-clutching'. It was quite good in the snow but otherwise a nightmare. It had been my grandfather's car. It was not our main family vehicle, but kept for sentimental reasons and intended as Dad's retirement project.

The elderly car was parked outside our house, more or less on the road side. I remember a squeal of brakes and a lorry skidded to a stop and 'jack-knifed' into the old car. There were two good points about this incident. The offending HGV managed to stop before hitting the customer who was turning onto Dad's forecourt. Our parked car was squashed between the trailer and our house. It absorbed the impact well and preserved our sitting room wall.

Dad was close to the long-awaited retirement. Unfortunately, the front axle of the car was very bent and Dad decided that restoring the car would now be too expensive. He sold it to a local enthusiast (it later re-visited in pristine condition). Dad's health gradually worsened. He enjoyed his garden but didn't really do anything major in retirement. Mum was a lot younger than Dad, and still quite young when he retired. Unfortunately, Mum developed Alzheimers at a relatively early age.

The message I have drawn from all this is that it is important to realise some dreams throughout our lives.  Waiting for retirement might prove to be a mistake.

Lizzie? When my parents first married, Dad's old Morris was their only car. Mum hated it. It was too heavy, a nightmare to park and very old-fashioned. Mum christened it Lizzie, after World War 2 tanks- known as 'Tin-Lizzies' ( or so she told me). Having learnt the lesson of Lizzie, we now have our 'Morris'. Something for ourselves for once - and years before retirement. The children were almost shocked! 'You're spending all that money on that?'- and similar comments. We are now back in normal mode. Saving for World Jamboree for one child and a school trip to France for the other. My husband has only a modest income and, at the moment, I do not have a 'proper job'. A modest life style is essential   - I haven't abandoned all the lessons my parents taught me, but, thanks to Lizzie, we have our luxury.

Morris? - more about this in a later post.


I have just finished this bluebell brooch, inspired by the woods a short distance from my college at Durham.


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