River Wissey Lovell Fuller


May 2020

The editors of the village magazines are striving manfully to keep the publications appearing, albeit some of them are only on line at present. The lockdown has deprived them of a lot of their usual copy (minutes of parish meetings, etc) so they have asked for any additional material we contributors could offer. My main article this month was a bit sombre and contained no jokes at all, so there follows a joke, a few bits and pieces that may be of interest to you, especially the blokes, and then some more jokes. A young couple was discussing what “turned them on”. He insisted that it was when she wore her leather coat – he got really aroused, rapid pulse, fast breathing and so on. She wanted to know why. Was it because it was short and showed her legs? NO was it because the colour matched her hair? NO was it because it made her eyes look good? NO This went on for a few minutes before she gave up and the answer came “It's because it makes you smell like a new car” I usually read the day's news online at 4am (Don't ask!) and, this morning, I read about a bloke who had found a Ford Popular buried in his garden. (I thought I had problems with blocks of concrete). This reminded me of my first car which was a £12 Ford Popular and an article I had written some years ago about the cars I had owned. I think it would stand repeating: I started in general practice on 1st January, 1970. I joined a three doctor practice in Pound Hill, Crawley and bought a house in Copthorne, between Crawley and East Grinstead. In those days, there were no photocopiers, no computers, no electronic calculators and colour TV was just arriving, with only three channels. Termination of pregnancy was illegal. Car radios were screwed into the dashboard and the wing had to be drilled for the ariel. The first tape systems in cars needed an extra player under the dash and each tape was the size of half a house-brick. Mobile 'phones were 20 years away. I changed cars quite regularly – Ford Popular (sit up and beg) £12, Hillman Minx with 3 gear column change which was very floppy £35, Vauxhall Victor old style £45 – this took us all around Scotland, then the MOT was introduced and the man was very rude about my lovely car – something about the bottom being about to fall out of it – and demanded that I took it away as it was spoiling his premises. Next came a new look (swept down rear wings) Victor £95. This was a really modern, comfortable car which I loved and in which I took my Institute of Advanced Motorists advanced driving test – failed first time through not using the horn enough on bends. I was devastated but passed next time. Then, son Calum came along and he had a lot of paraphernalia, such as the cardboard box and wheels type pushchair, and I bought a Morris Oxford traveller (566 DGT) for £175. This amount of money was way beyond my cash capacity so it was bought on hire purchase at £7-10-00 a month (even that amount was difficult to find). I treasured that car, polished it weekly and travelled thousands of miles. We travelled to Spain for a holiday, my father and mother travelling behind in his new Cortina 1600E. My shiny car was already many years old and the tired suspension made light of all the bumpy roads (no motorways in France in those days - only signs saying “Chausee deformee) but my father was having a terrible time. The suspension on his 1600E was really hard (a sports model) and he could not travel at more than 40mph without bouncing off the road or hitting his head on the roof, so he begged me to slow down. The journey back was interesting; the clutch master cylinder started to leak in Spain at the beginning of the journey home. In those days, car parts for British cars were not readily available on the continent, so I bought clutch fluid and had to jump out and refill the reservoir after every 5 depressions. Having arrived home, the new seal was fitted within minutes! My local garage in Copthorne was a Fiat agency. My next car was a chocolate brown Fiat 125 Special (£220 - one up from the Fiat 124 workhorse, later replaced by the Lada). It really needed driving hard, the engine was sporty and the car travelled much too fast. For months, it suffered from a “snatching” suggesting a carburettor or high tension lead problem. We spent ages looking for the trouble until, one night, I was under the bonnet at night and saw one of the high tension leads shorting across onto the rear bulkhead; the problem was easily solved and I was up to max speed again! A friend of mine was an estate agent. In 1970, we would drink together and could only afford about half a pint each. Over the next couple of years, his business took off and he took to selling off his Volvo estates after 3 years. So, my next car was his Volvo 145S estate (BPO995G), a really solid piece of kit. My favourite bit was the rear windscreen wiper, the first I had ever owned. On reflection, the car was very noisy and not at all nippy, the inside was all black rubber but there was plenty of room and, when it rained, I could wash and wipe the rear window from the dashboard. Having bought an ancient caravan, I fitted a towbar to this Volvo and we headed off to France on Townsend Thoresen, my father and mother following in the Cortina 1600E and a newer caravan. Half way through France, a clattering noise started at the rear of my car, so I stopped to investigate. The towbar had come loose! Happily, my father never travelled without most of his tools, so we could put matters right. When we arrived at the caravan site, a terminal post on my car battery broke and a new battery cost me £40 (1974) and used up my entire spending money for the fortnight. Three years later, I bought my friend's next Volvo 145 estate (DPO 952L). This was an interesting car with a petrol injection engine and a strange computer between the driver and the engine. Foot on accelerator, hang around a bit and then the car would move. Sometimes unnerving at road junctions. I had this car converted to LPG (an enormous gas tank behind the rear seats) and it went really well. However, about once a fortnight, there would be a massive explosion under the bonnet and the corrugated rubber pipe taking air into the engine would be shredded. Totally undeterred, I bought some spare pipes and replaced them when necessary. Note: I sold that car in1978 and moved on to Volvos, Peugeots and Renault Espaces – I currently own my eighth Espace which is now 10 years old. The car and I are in competition to see who lives the longer.

An old snake went to see his doctor because his vision was failing. The doctor fitted him with spectacles and the snake returned two weeks later, asking to be treated for profound depression as he had just discovered that he had been living with a garden hose for two years.

A young girl was doing her homework and had to explain the difference between anger and exasperation. She asked her father to help; he told her that it was all a matter of degree and arrangd a demonstration. He picked up the telephone and rang a random number. To the man who answered the 'phone he said “Is Melvin there?” The man answered “There is no-one here called Melvin. You really should learn to look up numbers before you dial”. The man said to his daughter “See, the man was not happy with my call – we annoyed him” He then rang the number again “Is Melvin there?” “Now look here” came the heated reply “You just called this number and I told you that there is no Melvin here. DO NOT TROUBLE ME AGAIN!” The receiver slammed down. The father turned to his daughter and said “That was anger. Now I shall show you what exasperation means”.He dialled the same number again and, when the man answered, shouting and angry, the father asked quietly and calmly “Hello, this is Melvin. Have there been any calls for me?”

Finally, I might have given the impression in the main article that Deannie and I are coping well with the lockdown. Thinking about it, that may not be quite true as we have taken to talking to our house equipment, asking them what they think of the current situation.We had a nice chat with the microwave and the toaster and we all agreed that the situation was very serious. However, we didn't mention anything to the washing machine as she always put a different spin on everything. The 'fridge, when approached was cold and distant and all the kitchen sink would say was that everything was going down the drain.The iron took a different view, being of the opinion that matters were not that pressing at present. The vacuum cleaner was most unsympathetic, telling us to “just suck it up”. However, the pedestal fan was more sympathetic, feeling that the matter would soon blow over. The WC looked a bit flushed when we spoke to it but did not express an opinion. However, the door knob told us firmly to “get a grip”. The front door told us we were unhinged and the curtains told us to pull ourselves together. Altogether, we wished we had not discussed matters with them because they just left us confused and miserable.

Ah well, I hope that was all of interest. Please look after yourselves.

Best wishes and fond memories to you all Ian Nisbet

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