Friday, November 7, 2008

Love letters, car crashes and tanks. (Beat that for diversity.)

While I was sorting through some of my mother’s photos and memorabilia I was delighted to find two love letters from my father written in the early fifties. They were utterly sweet and charming with little drawings scattered amongst the prose and I will always treasure them as a reminder of my parent’s love for each other.

It did lead me to think, regretfully, that I’ve never actually had a love letter from Mr T.

Humph. Big time.

Although to be fair I’ve had some really lovely thoughtful gifts. If you exclude the Sat Nav system … and the printer…..

However, I’m not complaining as the printer has proved exceptionally useful. In fact I’m now pretty skilled at producing counterfeit twenty pound notes, duplicating letters to harass supermarkets so I get free vouchers for prepackaged meals and scanning copyright piccys of Pierce so I can sell them in the school playground. I’m also planning to use the printer for photocopying my arse for this year’s Christmas cards. That is after I’ve found my way from the kitchen to my study with the Sat Nav….

By the way; I’m offering a prize of a piccy of my photocopied derriere (with suitably placed tinsel) to anyone who can think of an appropriate Christmassy caption….

Anyway, I have actually had some love letters; Mrs T has not been totally barren in the soppy stuff department! Indeed a previous boyfriend once sent me quite a few love letters but regrettably they somehow encountered a small amount of petroleum, a matchstick and a large pile of wood. (Fortunately, my ex boyfriend wasn’t called Guy.)

I bet Guy Richie was a little worried on November 5th though; I hear Madonna can be a little explosive. Well what women wouldn’t be when wearing costumes with thongs that grip your arse like a vice? Guaranteed belly trouble if you ask me.

I am hoping (well praying on my knees whilst wearing a sack cloth and a rosary around my neck) that my old boyfriend burnt my reciprocal letters because I categorically DO NOT want those turning up when I become a multi million pound novelist, reality TV star and the latest Bond heroine. (Career immediately over obviously.) It’s not that the letters were raunchy (I went to a Catholic school; give me some slack please) but you know some things should always remain private. Personally I can’t stand those kiss and tell types who make the front page of our tabloids over here; they should be shot.

Okay, maybe that’s a bit heavy handed. Just burnt at the stake perhaps? (Wearing a Lycra support thong for good measure.)

And I just like to point out that being an intellectual snob I only read The Times and The Telegraph where such sordid goings on are not reported unless they involve politicians, sheep or a large tub of L’Oreal Vita Face Lift for Men - in which case such reporting is not only newsworthy but essential in the interests of freedom and democracy. (And my celebrity scrapbook.) However, I admit, I do occasionally pick up an edition of The Mail when I need my fix of right wing fascism or for a glance at Thursday's “Femail” section where I can read all about the latest developments in skincare, face lifts and faddish diets. Always useful for a woman of my age.

Well useful for fitting nicely into the cat litter tray anyway.

Okay so I haven’t had any love letters from Mr T but he HAS lovingly passed to me some other letters.

From our car insurers.

Yes, just in case you didn’t pick it up from my previous post I may possibly have had another “incident.” But let me assure you it has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with reversing.

And everything to do with going forwards.

Yep, it was my fault. Well.....begrudgingly…. It was my fault…..

Okay, so I was behind a car at a junction for a busy A road (60mph limit over here) and there was plenty of room for the car in front to pull out. When I say “plenty of room” I mean there was enough room for a convoy of armoured vehicles, a brass band, a procession of baton twirling youths and a blind dog. Anyway the other car started to move forwards so I thought I would go too…

Only the driver in front bottled it, braked suddenly and came to a halt... and as I was busy focusing on the EMPTY road I drove straight into it…..

Yep, it was my fault. Fortunately no one was hurt. Another lesson learnt for Mrs T;

Give up driving and get a taxi.

I had another hair raising driving experience recently. After my mother’s funeral I decided to take a detour to her childhood home to relive the days of my youth and soak in the memories. Now my mother’s family home, was situated on the brow of a hill. To access it you had to drive up a long narrow (only a car’s width) lane which on one side had a steep embankment with I guess a 12/15 foot drop and a row of cottages on the other. The house was situated at the end of the lane with a terrific view across the valley. Here’s a little sketch so you get the idea;

Driving up the lane I was reminded of one of my mother’s favourite little stories from the war. On one occasion an American tank took the wrong turning and mistakenly drove right up to the house. Apparently the GIs then spent hours manoeuvring the tank slowly, inch by inch, into a position where they could get back down the lane again. While the GIs agonised over their precarious position my grandmother supplied them with copious amounts of tea and cakes and as a result was rewarded for her hospitality with a pair of silk stockings!

Anyway, memories aside, I’m driving up the lane and I’m beginning to feel edgy looking down on the valley and thinking that maybe this trip wasn’t such a good idea…but then I remember the tank incident and think that if a tank can do it then so can I……

Only when I reach the end there’s a car parked outside the double garage. The turning space is halved.

My immediate thought was;


Instantaneously I break out in sweat; I am drenched in it. There is hardly any room to manoeuvre at all. And remember, I am the woman who has 3 accidents this year; 2 of them involving reversing! As panic sets in I envisage myself;

a) Hanging of the cliff like that episode in The Italian Job
b) Dead
c) Trying to explain the lack of a car to Mr T.
d) Being burnt at the stake.

Okay, I’m here. So I managed to do it. But not without a lot of expletives, some dubious clutch control and some really, really serious praying.

Oh yes, and a pair of brown trousers.

Copyright Jane Turley 2008


  1. Jane
    I'm so sorry to read of yet another loss to your family. What a difficult time for all of you. And yet, you still manage to find time to produce another fine tribute, now for your father-in-law and, furthermore, amongst your traumas and sadness to produce another wonderfully funny story tonight. Thank you for your reminding me to laugh despite the stresses and strains of what life hands out to us.
    See you on the football pitch tomorrow, I hope, ready to see some more gripping goals and admire our future heroes!
    Take care. Lynda.x

  2. Finding those love letters must have been good.
    About the driving--ooh scary and very clever of you.

  3. Lynda,

    Thanks for taking the time to scribe me a note; I know your time is precious. Yes, it has been a very difficult time. When you're not prepared for grief it hits you full on. But somehow I have to keep smiling - at least once a day; seeing all my friends at school at really helps.

    We need a win this morning; that'll get me smiling. Maybe I should slip a fiver to the referee just to keep the odds in our favour!

  4. Sue, Yes what a find a find! And so utterly charming. As a teacher Art was one of my father's specalities so there were some little drawings in them too. No wonder my mum kept them all these years. We have a few pictures my dad painted after his stroke when he wasn't so mobile; it's lovely to have a reminder of him which is something he actually created. Don't know what my boys would think about my blog as a permanent reminder though. Especially Master Samuel and the remarks about his underpants....

    Well my driving has gone to seed. Three of the silliest minor incidents you could have but it has affected my confidence. Combined with the fact with my new car is a manual I'm hopping around like a kangaroo now. Goodbye to smooth journeys for a while.

  5. Jane, it must have been wonderful to find the letters from your father to your mother. Something to treasure indeed.

    Loved your description of your experiences with cars. I'm surprised Mr. T even lets you near a car anymore! :)

  6. Well Jane, all I can say is I just HOPE I am on your Christmas card list. lol

    I cannot think of anything clever at the moment, but I will ponder. Or consult with my cousin Patrick, who prefers the male gender.

    Two Christmas' ago, he and his partner dressed in drag, had a portrait done, put the picture on their Christmas card and captioned it "Don we now our gay apparel".

    He actually sent this card to his mother, who still believes at 41 he is just waiting for the right girl to come along.

    Just off the top of my head you could put inside:

    "Bottoms up!! Here's wishing you Christmas cheer!"

  7. I may, previously, have suggested you look into what sort of deal you could get for a tank and what the payments might be like, Jane, but I'm not sure they come in automatic or with a GTi option. Besides, if the Americans had trouble negotiating this hill in one, maybe a bulldozer would be better. At least you could then re-landscape the landscape to suit. They're good for demolition of cottages, garages and moving inconsideratly parked vehicles too.

  8. Manju;

    Yes, it was a lovely find and so interesting to see my father's flirty side! I'm smiling just thinking about it!

    Well up until this year I'd been accident free. So I'm hoping that all my bad luck has come at once. I do a lot of driving as my two younger boys are seriously into sport so maybe it's not so bad if you look at number of crashes per miles!! But most importantly no one has been hurt. (Except me and my pride!) Just hope that I don't have any more as Mr T may really burn me at the stake! I am taking bets on my next birthday present.. currently 2-1 on reversing sensors...

  9. Marie,

    Currently, I'm having trouble reducing the scale of my arse to fit on a card! It's proving a little difficult butt I'm still trying!

    That is quite a good caption!I'll consider it!

    Your cousin Patrick sounds a scream. Poor mum eh? Still hoping for the patter of tiny feet eh? Obviously their Christmas card was way too subtle... maybe one in the buff next time?!

  10. I like it Paul; a tank is just what I need! I won't have to worry about any cars then I'll simply drive over them! I thinl a tank is just a little more ladylike than a bulldozer... I really don't want to get a reputation for having a builder's bottom. (I'm struggling with that one anyway.)

    Okay so a tank it is. Have you seen Kelly's Heroes with Donald Sutherland? know just what I'm going to do....

  11. Christmas card title: Love the W-hole of Christmas not just the pudding??? Hole-hearted or not at all?? Don't get behind with your Chrstimas shopping?? This is a mirror card??

    great post, Jane, and I will be keeping well out of your way on the roads!

  12. So what music would you have blaring from the speakers on your Kelly's Heroes tank? Not some Boy Band, I hope.

  13. My god, Jane, did you have to do those scary stunts to prove that you are a better driver now?
    Ass for the caption, how about
    Ass you can see, I love you all. Merry christmas to you.

    Please mail all the piccys of pierce along with a a few tonnes of chocolate at 22b,PRnagar, Bangalore-560076.

  14. Great post! I really think that car insurance companies should award credits for difficult manoeuvres like yours on the hillside. When we all have to have black boxes in our cars, linked to satellites, well, that'll show 'em! In the meantime, just remember what our great ex-leader (Tony Blair) once said about having one gear and only going 'forwards, not backwards'. Very helpful, indeed, no?

    You are one brave lady to be able to write amusing stuff at such a time.

  15. Yikes, I am way behind here!


    What's wrong with a boy band?? I think Westlife would pretty much cripple any oppostion; they cripple me all the time. Well, I suppose I could always go for that old favourite that will get everyone out of my way...yep you've guessed it.. The theme tune to.... TTTE!! What else!


    Hmm.. some of those suggestions sounded a bit cheeky! Butt you know I'll give them some consideration!


    I admit it I was petrified! The idea was to soak up some memories but I just ended up soaked in my own sweat!

    Ass for your joke; I like it! Simple but effective; rather like me! (Except in the cooking and cleaning stakes.)

    Now is that address for real? Let me know on my email. One big bar of choccy coming up.

    Mrs B,

    You have some wondeful ideas! I like the idea of a black box.. and then everyone would know I was innocent.( They'd also hear my obscene language.... hmm... I think that would be my chance of an OBE out of the equation....)

    "Services to Housework" does have a nice ring to it though....

  16. I still like to write love letters to my hubby once in a while or live notes in the fridge, the bathroom mirror or at his car, he also does the same thing.We also like to once in a while to send text message or e-mails but I still think is more romantic to receive a letter from the person that you LOVE.

  17. Hello Attorney O, welcome to My Witty Ways. You are a very sweet lady to write notes for your hubby:) And I absolutely agree, a love letter is something special, especially from the one you love:)


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