By Ann Rhodes

A young friend recently waxed lyrical about their new car, their first, their pride and joy. Not many miles on the clock, shining red paintwork, pristine leather seats, blue tooth and sat. nav.

As I wished them many happy miles I recalled my own first car which also had red (not so shiny) paintwork but there the similarity ended.

My old mini had done a few miles before I acquired her – she was always ‘her’ to me. The previous owner had been a Citizen Band (CB) radio fan and his old set came with the car. For a few weeks I became ‘Foxy Lady’ over the airwaves but soon got bored and exchanged the CB for a car radio and Larry Gogan’s far more entertaining ‘Just a Minute’ quiz.

We weaved our way through the city traffic daily and at weekends travelled out to the Wicklow hills. It was easy to squeeze a mini into the smallest parking spot – which was a distinct advantage around the city.

A neighbour had taught me to park for which kindness I have always been grateful – although it may have had something to do with the fact that her own car was usually parked within the range of my inexperienced efforts!

There was one memorable occasion when, at the end of a long day’s hiking, I returned to find my poor little car had slipped into the ditch and no amount of pushing and shoving would move her. While one of my companions went to his four-wheel drive car just along the lane where, he assured, me he had all the tools to tow her out, a car as old as my own, stopped, four strapping lads on the way home from a hurling match, via the pub, hopped out.

They lifted my mini as if she were a feather, placed her firmly on the road and drove off with a cheery wave to my friend approaching with a stout rope.

We travelled well together for a few years with the odd dent along the way. When a brake light housing cracked or windscreen wiper became permanently intermittent, we carried on because, back then, few of us drove pristine cars.

Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own