Friday, 1 February 2008

Licensed to Thrill

Yesterday I astonished the known world by both taxing my car and getting my tax return in on time. As I sat outside the post office tearing round those irritating perforations that still surround tax discs, I remembered finding the above. I discovered it in 1972 in a old barn at the back of a (then) derelict house in Cranoe in south east Leicestershire, a distraction from a friend and I busily photographing a very pretty girl sitting up on straw bales, as one did. I remember it was very hot, and was thrilled to find the paper disc in the dust behind a pile of bricks. Next to it was a big rusty yellow oil can with the legend 'Golden Film' on it, which somehow suited the afternoon. How had it survived for thirty years? The fountain pen inscriptions tell of a black Austin 13hp car being parked up here in 1942, the war raging on outside. I wonder if it's still out there. Anyway, as I prepared the image to show you, I realised that the owner had had precisely the same trouble tearing the disc into a circle.

4 comments:

Diplomat said...

it seems the car used to belong to a doctor who lived in Kibworth, his young receptionist, who came from a well off Leicestershire farming family, sometimes needed a lift home after work ..............

Justin Savage said...

Oh for goodness' sake. Can't we have a little Unmitigated Mystery? Surely the car belonged to some Chap who was dropped behind the lines,flown from Stoughton in a Lysander to bring news to the Free French, only to be intercepted by The Hun, imprisoned, probably tortured. Making his escape and lying low until after the war he meets Her, a beautiful yet feisty French girl with whom he falls deeply in love. Life is good for them. He assumes a new identity. In due course, they are blessed with issue. It is 1948. Determined to raise his son in a land fit for heroes he returns to Kibworth. Searching for his old car he is horrified to discover it has gone. The barn is empty; all that remains is the tax disc. Throwing the useless disc behind an old oil can, he turns to his infant son: 'My darling boy. I love you very much but that car meant a lot to me. It's up to you now. I've lost my Austin; I have to go. I've told the woman up at the big house to keep an eye on you Pierre, but I'm off'. And with that, Keith Ash-Leigh walked out of his son's life forever. Years later, an advertising shoot is taking place at that self-same farm....

Peter Ashley said...

Oh Justin how simply wonderful. Or should I now being saying 'Daddy! My Daddy!' like Jenny Agutter at the end of the Railway Children?
With this and Diplo's tale I feel a book of short stories coming on. I'd call it Discworld if T.Pratchett hadn't done a couple of books about it.

A F-A said...

....aaah! I love a tear-jerker. But even as we speak, I fear some unelected snooping jobsworth at the DVLC is checking to see whether that Austin has ever been declared SORN....