Neville John William Day 7 March 1922 - 26 November 1990
Dad’s driving lessons (and some)
Being taught to drive by Dad on our little grey Fergie tractor, aged just eight, meant I needed no help tackling the 1937 Morris 8 I bought a few months later with my saved £3 apple picking money.
By the time I reached my 17th birthday, with the benefit of the smallholding experience, followed by the early years of Neville Day Plant Hire Ltd, meant there was little on two, four, six and eight wheels or dozer tracks that I hadn't driven. Even on one occasion a huge Euclid grader and which had two drivers, one at each end. Hence I passed my test on my 17th birthday, in my bright orange Mini pick-up.
There was no theory part to the driving test in those days, so I was not required to get my driving test examiner to complete one. I reckoned he would have failed though had he done so. His clutch control when I saw him arrive and park at King's Lynn's Test Centre wasn't all that hot either. Though I thought it best not to say so.
Singer Gazelle Series V, 1965.
So occasionally I would ask Dad if I could borrow his prized new Singer Gazelle. Mother having finally persuaded him to trade in the Ford Consul, because it was 'common'.
To be fair to Mother and not wishing to portray her in a bad light, the old Consul was getting a little, shall we say, 'porous'? Rust holes making the car resemble a colander. However, for Dad, being frugal out of necessity, but certainly never mean, if she started then that was good enough for him.
Dad being Dad, unquestionably generous, to say nothing of remarkably trusting, generally agreed to letting me take his car out for the evening. Lobbing the keys at me across the kitchen table.
"Try not to get footprints on the headlining - again." He once said.
Mother just looked on, quizzically.
Chris Latham-Smith 2022.
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