Hey, Ho for the Open Road #2

Jack manages to just get over the line again – – –

I have spent the last few days, as everyone does at this time of year, failing to start my push lawnmower. It reminded me of something!

When I was just five or six years old my dad bought his first car – a 2nd (or maybe 3rd) hand 1936 Hillman Minx and on damp cold mornings it would often prove difficult to start. That’s when he had to ‘ca the haunle’ (use the starting handle). If you look carefully at the picture you can see an opening just above the front bumper, at the bottom of the grille. He would insert the handle through that and it engaged with the engine. If the battery was low, then that’s how folk started most cars back then!

I’m sure you can imagine how dispiriting that could be on a cold wet morning. If the engine was flooded with gas then it could backfire and could easily break your thumb if you weren’t holding the handle correctly!

But very few people we knew then in the late 1940s had cars so we were lucky. I remember many excursions to local beauty spots and beaches, although we often had stop along the way for Dad to tinker with the Minx – it was well named – –

He needed a vehicle for his work as a self-employed painter and decorator, and he moved on to more reliable transport over the succeeding years, but I have fond memories of that first one.

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