After my last post, about my cousin riding in an Austin 7 racecar, I remembered that there had once been a passage about his and my brother’s fascination with cars in my book. Our house was built on piers on a sloping block, so that as a young child I could stand to my full height underneath the floorboards. “Underneath the house” was a fully enclosed place, giving it the sense of a secret room; and it had a dirt floor. My brother and cousin, 9 and 6 years older than me, used it as a place for secret games that excluded baby sisters.
“Don’t come in here! We’re playing! You’ll ruin everything! You’re just a baby!” I stood at a distance and watched them gouge out the dirt floor; they were making a race track for their toy cars. It looked like a lot of fun. I felt a cramping around my heart and tears prick at my eyes – “Don’t cry,” I thought. “Don’t show them!”
The cars they played with were Dinky Toys, die-cast miniature true-to-scale models manufactured by the same company which made Meccano. My brother sold his military collection at auction about fifteen years back, but I think he still has some of the private vehicles, along the lines of this Chevrolet pick-up truck.
Well, I think it is the Jesuits who say, “show me the boy, and I’ll show you the man”? How true.
Over the years my brother has bought all manner of vehicles. One was a Ford LTD that was so long that every time we drove up a steep hill the petrol drained from the carburettor and the car stalled. Mostly they are snappy convertibles of a “certain age”, always bought second-hand (or third; or even more). They are meant to be investments. My brother was away the day we did the course on ‘depreciating versus appreciating assets’. Anyway, he enjoys his hobby, and it does no harm.
I thought my cousin’s interest went on a different tangent. He grew up to be a talented carpenter and cabinetmaker, and I understood that hand-crafted wooden boats were more his go. Then I remembered that earlier this year he told me he has become the proud owner of an MGB, and sent the photos to prove it. So it seems that as he ages, he returns to his roots 🙂
My brother and I recently had “that talk”, the one about what happens when we are called to a higher authority, and I’m pretty sure he indicated that I am to receive any of the Dinky cars that are still left. Guess he didn’t want to leave me out of their games after all 🙂