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August 30, 2020


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Bill Taylor

I remember that Hillman Minx of yours but I don't recall the Minivan.
I have a Peter Bibby story, though, regarding his own driving test. He'd had a series of 3-wheelers, which could be driven on a motorcycle licence. One day, when we doing that journalism block-release course at Darlington Tech, he was giving me a lift from Bishop but made the mistake of going the West Auckland way, rather than through Shildon. He had a Bond 3-wheeler at the time (far less exciting than his Messerschmidt, in which driver and passenger sat in tandem, just like in a flying Messerschmidt). Halfway up Bildershaw Bank, the Bond ran out of steam (though there was lots of smoke) and Peter had to get out and readjust the clutch, which he did with admirable deftness.
Anyway, when he came to sit his driving test for cars, as I recall in his own Mini, he said that everything went fine until he was turning back into the test centre, in what was then Station Approach. It was a wide entrance and an old man was crossing. Peter told me he was so intent on avoiding the guy while not visibly swerving around him, that he knocked the poor man's walking stick out of his hand. All the examiner said was, "Well, you'd better book your next test while you're here." I think Peter was a little chagrined that he didn't get any points for marksmanship.


There's an award awaiting you at my blog.


Reginald Molehusband? I had to look that up! I guess it's because I'm so much younger than you....

Bill Taylor

Did you find a picture of him? As I recall (and, admittedly, my mind for ancient TV ephemera is not as keen as Colin's), there was a certain physical resemblance between Randall and Molehusband in addition to the parallels to be found in their driving skills.
But I'm sure Colin has improved.


That photo of the Wolsely certainly brings back memories Colin - the shiny brown seats that were freezing cold in winter and sticky in summer, various members of two or three families (Goddards/Reynolds/us) squashed into the 5 seats - Mum hanging on for dear life if we ventured faster than 20 mph. She said we should travel at a speed that allowed us to see every flower in the countryside.
I remember that time we had to turn back from the visit to (probably) Scarborough because we got stuck on Sutton Bank. The scary bit was when the car started to slide backwards.
Ahh nostalgia!!!

Colin Randall

I bow to my sister's memory, even if she does hide behind that Boro-inspired nom de guerre. Scarborough it must have been, so I have amended the posting.

Pete Sixsmith

I too was called upon as a qualified driver to sit beside Colin in his mini-van. I had passed my test despite my fathers attempts to teach me to drive and although not insured I went with him to a flat at Ferryhill Station. I think he was living there at the time. So began my relationship with Ferryhill which has lasted to this day - unlike the flat/house which was recently pulled down.Even at 18, I had difficulties getting in orout of a minivan. Wouldn't like to try it now. And thanks for reminding me of Reginald Molehusband - a classic Public Information Film.

Bill Taylor

He lived at Ferryhill Station? This is a hitherto undocumented episode in Colin's life. Elucidation, please. Was it your "loins of pork for Coundon" phase?


Like Colin, I have fond memories of my first set of wheels: a rather stylish white Morris Minor with red leather interior and, er, a floor so rotten, you could lift the carpet and watch the ashphalt rushing by when it hit top speed of 35mph going down Detling Hill, Kent. It cost an astronomical £60 but was unfortunately reluctant to turn corners owing to a stiff, probably rusted, steering column. It rather restricted my journeys to straight lines or one or two off-road jaunts across grass verges. I decided to have it repaired but gave up the ghost when I had to pick my consultant mechanic from the ground to which he had fallen laughing.
A wonderful drive down memory lane, Colin. Keep them coming.


I never even thought of living at Ferryhill station.

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