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The Stroud Community Web is an online news and information source for Stroud and surrounding communities. An initiative and ongoing project of Stroud Lions Club.

Unhappy Motoring

A story by Beryl Bowden

In the 1970s, to have a permanent wave it was necessary to travel to Raymond Terrace or Newcastle. I was working at the Stroud Post Office when Dorothy Bowden and I set off one Saturday morning to have ourselves ‘prettied’ up. We were motoring merrily along; I was driving the family car, an Austin1800’, when as we approached the outskirts of Raymond Terrace the engine started to make a shocking noise!

We looked at one another and I muttered. ’I’ll see if I can get to Kime and Stevens Garage. It’s just up here a couple of hundred yards.’

Our raucous approach alerted onlookers that we were in big trouble and as we limped into the garage, heads lifted from under raised hoods and men in overalls came rushing out of the building. When I turned off the engine the silence was heavenly!

A mechanic hurried over and asked me to press the lever to lift the bonnet and to turn the engine back on. Having made the mistake of putting his head under the bonnet he then threw his arms about in a wild gesture indicating that he wanted it switched off! Mumbling something about ‘seeing the boss’ he fled into the workshop – returning a short time later with a man we presumed to be ‘the boss’. He nodded in friendly fashion and asked me to turn it on again.

It was all of three seconds before he made his prognosis and motioned me to switch it off. He then took two steps back; stood to attention, saluted smartly and solemnly ‘crossed himself!!’ Dismayed, I asked tentatively ‘What do you think?’ He shook his head and said ‘If it was mine, and if it was a horse, I’d take it round the back and SHOOT IT!!!’

Apparently, I had a major repair on my hands and one that would take some time to fix. This meant I had to leave the car at the garage. Not knowing how we would get home we walked down to the shopping centre. As luck would have it, we spied Dorothy’s husband Tommy, on his way home to Stroud from Newcastle. Fortunately, he had stopped at a café for something to eat and we were able to get a lift home with him in his truck.

No perm that day!

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