Sunday, 19 October 2014
Memories Beget Memories
I know that last week I promised to go back to my earliest memories and tell you about life at the beginning of the war but thinking about my time as a house maid reminded me of a day when it really was good to be alive. Mostly the PGs were middle aged FCO families home on leave from the Sudan or young naval bachelors who drove Triumph TR2s. You probably don’t know what TR2s were; they was low and fast, built between 1953 and 1955 and were followed by TR3s. The breed were known as good tart traps and the owners would boast happily that they’d taken a corner a bit fast last week and rolled the beast but they all seemed to lead charmed lives because I don’t remember anyone getting hurt and I don’t recall ever seeing a dented TR2.
At last, just after I had said ‘Yes please’ to George a young couple arrived at Cleeve. He was a submariner commonly known as Bone Dome and once you got to know him it became obvious why. His wife Mary was the same age as me, very beautiful but looked as though a passing breeze would blow her away. She had developed appendicitis when she was three months pregnant and a brilliant surgeon had removed her appendix and saved the baby. Mary hated having to take life quietly, it wasn’t her style at all; she was also a passionate horsewoman so when the hunt met in Ivybridge though she was still supposed to be convalescent she longed to follow, but how? She managed to persuade my cousin Sally to lend her an ancient rust bucket and give me the morning off but once we were in the Land Rover it was apparent that we had a problem. I couldn’t drive and Mary’s six month bump was such that she couldn’t reach the gear lever. It was long before the days of seat belts or any thoughts of health and safety and we thought ourselves indestructible, we were young and filled with imagination and determination. It didn’t take long to work out how Mary could drive and operate the clutch and while I worked the gear lever. A clear chill November morning on Dartmoor must be very near heaven, we bumped over rough ground, stalled and laughed and stalled again as we hurtled across the moor after the hounds. We were alive and life was wonderful. Mary became the best friend anyone could ask for; for a while she was a highly regarded breeder of Welsh Mountain ponies but died of heart failure when she was only fifty two. I miss her still.