Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Reading John Redwood's blog this morning about his Jaguar reminded me of a happening when I were a lad.
'Twas the winter of '62/'63 which was a really hard one ( much worse than this by the way - no trains have been lost in the Highlands so far as I know this time round).
We were living in Paris which was rather grand in a strange way, and my mother's brand of French kept the neighbours and shop-keepers in a constant state of perplexity.
We were to travel from Paris to Bern in Switzerland and thence to Grindlewald for Christmas and New Year, and though it was snowy we were to drive in my father's Mk2 Jag - a superb car when it worked.
Cutting a very long story short, what should have been about a 7hr drive was already beyond that as we went through Pontarlier - which practically speaking you can't any more. It is /was a lovely small town which has succumbed to by-passes and the like.
As we climbed the hill the other side of the town, through the trees and up the pass, the Jag slipped and slid around, despite having winter tyres on ( I don't suppose many people in the UK even know what these are...)
Eventually we could go no further - stuck half way up a hill we had charged 3 or 4 times.
The snow fell.
We wondered what to do.
And then from behind came the unmistakable noise of a VW Beetle.
It put-putted past us, then pulled in.
Fortunately, the chap inside could understand what the problem was, without my mother's rather eccentric explanation. I seem to remember beetroot was mentioned...
Without further ado, a chain was removed from the VW's boot, attached to the Jag and we were pulled safely to the next town, where the Beetle was going anyway.
Despite being the middle of the night by now, a set of chains was purchased somehow - or maybe they were just borrowed for the duration.
These were fitted and the Jag was able to proceed on it's own.
As we clunked along the road, my father sighed.
" I can't imagine how this car is ever going to live down having to be towed by a Beetle..."
It never did.


Anonymous said...


Winchester whisperer said...

Very good!