Tuesday, 10 October 2017

We've Been to Norfolk

Put 'holiday car pennants' into Google and you'll get a lot of flag waving from folks offering car hire at £4 a day. All but forgotten, we were very pleased to find these on a tiny motor home pulled up in the wind on Brancaster Staithe in Norfolk. Falling into conversation with the owner we found out that they had been steamed off the windows of his first car, a Humber Sceptre. An odd status symbol from the 60s, I think they were regarded a little sniffily by my family, like my dad's reaction to post-war majors retaining their title in peacetime and my mother changing her accent to relatively posh in the butchers.
    But here they were, all from the confines of England and so redolent of an artist sucking his pen to find a relevant subject to illustrate, and then once again looking-up the coat-of-arms. Still, it was somehow reassuring to see them, a reminder of the pride taken in motor car travel and of the other customising that went on like James Bond bullet holes on your windscreen and a tiger's tail hanging out of the petrol tank.

11 comments:

Philip Wilkinson said...

Hm. Humber Hawk. Not a bad first car.

But these pennants. Yes, they were perhaps a little infra dig, although at the same time I look back on them fondly, as to a time when people were proud to have holidayed in Britain, rather than apologising for it by using a ridiculous term like 'staycation'.

Peter Ashley said...

Indeed, but I've just been reminded it was a Humber Sceptre. Even more unusual.

Jon Dudley said...

You're right! my dad had no time for forces ranks being carried through to peacetime...neither did he subscribe to 'elocution lessons' with which my mum would periodically threaten me when my diction became too 'Essex'. He reserved a particular distaste for the pennant habit - "why do they want to tell us where they've been?" quoth he, "I suppose it's a miracle they got anywhere in that thing" (points at clapped out pre-war Standard or trusty side valve Norton motorbike and sidecar.

Along with the Tiger tails et al, we always laughed at those preposterous ungainly cars converted to carry caravan bodywork which proudly bore the sticker proclaiming the legend 'I'm converted to a Danbury'...after the company that perpetrated such horrors.

Memories, Peter, memories...and all sparked by those pennants!

Peter Ashley said...

Thankyou Jon. And thank you for taking the time to comment at such length. Marvellous stuff.

Sue Imgrund said...

Lovely! Recalls the days of all those badges my mum (and then I) sewed on to my anorak ...

Philip Wilkinson said...

By the way, in 1930s Germany, you could buy little metal badges that the seller would nail to your stick, to show where you had been, as related by P atrick Leigh Fermor in A Time of Gifts. He had a load of these things (called Stocknagel, stick nail) on his ashplant, until the thing was stolen, along with his rucksack, in the Jugendherberge in Munich.

Peter Ashley said...

Ah yes, Thankyou Philip. I seem to recall that.

Alan Godber said...

Certainly rare survivors but all this talk of retired Majors and car pennants for Torquay; why am I thinking Fawlty Towers?

Stephen Barker said...

You didn't mention the fingertips that you could stick to the edge of the boot lid and does anyone have one of those devices that was meant to protect your car from a lightning strike. Of course you go back further in time there was Goss china suitably emblazoned with the coat of arms of resort towns.

Peter Ashley said...

Ooh yes, the fingertips. Brilliant.

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