Boys Toys

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I’ve always been a boy who has loved his toys, nothing quite like the good old days when you could play safely in the street and be able to ride either your bike or walk down to the shops with a list written by your Mum and as a treat to have a selection of penny sweets for the pleasure of the errand. As an only child i was fortunate enough to have both scooter and tricycle, instead of being a sultry individual, I was extremely extrovert, always over dramatising noises of Indians, Daleks and anything that made noise.

I spent most of my childhood with my two cousins, my mothers elder sister, Doreen, her children, I was the youngest, and between births a two year gap was held between each of us, Sandra, she was two years older than me, a thin sickly grizzly child with no backbone, constantly moaning, never appreciating the positives, and always finding unnecessary problems to every solution, she had a penchant for dressing Rex the dog up and making it sit in a pram, then there was David, (pictured on my scooter) four years older, gangly & leggy, in his earlier years he tripped and fell on a school desk and fractured his skull culminating in two very boss eyes, he was far too old for his years, a tie and smart shoes were the norm to wear whilst playing, sadly his life took every possible tragedy that could be thrown at him, however, this was as close as ever as having my own siblings as ever could be, being able to share was a bonus, I was never selfish, it’s not in my makeup, nor has it ever been, I was always prepared to play nicely, even now, at my age, I’m still happy to share my *toys* with those I know, love and trust.

Toys, toys? I hear you say, yes, even at my age, of course.      Gone long ago the days of the Trianco wheeled appliance, Super-fast car tracks and arm bands when swimming, I’m now talking about horses in stables, that to the uninitiated means BHP under bonnets, and the very latest sea venturing machines moored in personal marina spaces and suitable outfit for every occasion.

Living here on the seas edge, we see and hear of numerous disasters reference to misuse of boats and other watercraft, members of the “Birmingham Navy” head down the M5 to visit with anything from a jet-ski to something similar to an aircraft carrier, these vessels loosely attached to the back of a Rover, and none of them having a clue of the rules of the Mariners handbook.                                                                                                  For mine and others sakes, I do almost everything by the rule book where safety is concerned. Dad insisted i read the Highway Code before i even sat on my bike, although, the promise of the shame of having stabilisers fitted put the fear of Christ into me, however, I was happiest, much to his despair of having a basket fitted or handlebar tassels to my earlier forms of transport. Even on my first bicycle, which was red and green and bore the famous name Raleigh “Rebel” on it, I proved a point that I could ride single handedly whilst eating an apple, and true to form, I was spotted by a neighbour, Mrs Hussen, she was the one of the first people in Brixham to have a Colour Television, I used to sit and watch Wimbledon with her, I drank her tea and ate her cakes, all the time plotting and seeking revenge on her for dobbing me in, she died, —- eventually —– many years later.                                                                         My penance was a whole week without playing my records, my poor old second hand Alba turntable was probably happy to have that day off, and my parents sick of hearing “Hey there Georgie Girl”.

As the years went by I was transfixed by cars, I would know their make, name, model and wether it was a manual or automatic by the ever constant changing tones of engine and exhaust noises, I was sneaking drives of my dads beloved Triumph Herald at twelve years old when they went out to Bingo on Sunday evenings, a proper little Miss Sterling Moss, I was found out by the gearbox failing due to me changing gears without the engine running, or using the clutch, so, we, as a happy family, did not get to see the illuminations at Blackpool that year.

Eventually after many lessons and a few hours legal tuition from a motoring school at the great expense of one pound per hour, I presented my test application, the test was not easy, of course the indignity of failing twice caused embaressment problems, I was too eager to be perfect, but as the testers were rather over adventurous with their hands, concentration was lost, however on my *passing* test, a right handed finger tremble by the instructor proved to be his failure, I drove up a private driveway entrance and making a scene he gave me chance for litigation, which proved me a full license and freedom to get out onto the isolated dark Devon roads. By now my fathers four door Austin 1300 with hydro spastic suspension was like driving in a Rolls Royce on a broken spring base, nausea was not optional, Sally satnav had not been developed by that time, so fashion happened to be arriving late, even after following a designated route map.

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