A Knight’s Tale (46: “OK, How Did You Do It?”)

A few more motoring stories will appear in their rightful positions. Today I offer my most confused; the one I felt most smug about; and my most shameful effort.

During my first week at Kingston Children’s Department I toured the residential homes to get to know them. One of these was a few miles away. I got lost and was an hour or so late. I think we had to reschedule. The woman in charge had a reputation for being difficult with field social workers. In fact, I found her very accepting, an excellent, if exacting, carer, and happy to show me the ropes. This was quite a relief.

(the same model as my 1966 Hillman Imp as advertised on e-bay)

One of my female colleagues was married to the Chief Housing Officer. Those of his status warranted dedicated parking spaces. Assistant Child Care Officers did not. One day when I had thought he would not be at work I parked in his spot. When he arrived to take his wife out to lunch he blocked me in.

On her return to her desk opposite me an amused silence prevailed. Eventually she could maintain it no more and spluttered “Ok. How did you do it?”. “I lifted it out”, I replied. I then took great delight in explaining the technique of lifting a little at a time to gradually spin it around.

It was during my first summer there that, in order to provide a male presence, I was sent with an all female staff on a camping holiday for a group home. Michael came with me.

This was the second occasion on which a box had to be placed at the foot of my bed to accommodate my leg length. And it was a pretty flimsy camp bed.

I didn’t sleep very well until, following the coach back to London, I dropped off momentarily and scraped my car along the side of a vintage Bentley. This woke me up. Fortunately no-one was hurt, although my son cried “You, Dad”. The driver of the other vehicle was charming as he muttered “It’s been a long time”. The police officer said he had not heard me mentioning falling asleep, and advised me to claim distraction. I was charged with driving without due care and attention to which I pleaded guilty.


  1. Derrick, I am constantly amazed by your ingenuity. πŸ˜‰ Love, love, love that snappy red Hillman Imp. And what a great name! On a more serious note…so very glad nobody was hurt when you nodded off and grazed that Bentley.

  2. A delightful tale well told. One never forgets one’s first accident or scrape. Mine was a speeding cyclist racing down a hill, connecting the bonnet of my VW Beetle as I crossed the road and flying over the vehicle. No harm done to either ‘driver’ except that his bicycle was buckled and my car sported a deep gash. I can still feel my heart beating with terror as it happened.

  3. I love the car, would like to take it for a ride, Derrick! You must have been one super strong young man to move that car. ???

  4. Lifting it out a bit of a time? I will have to call you Superman Derrick from now on. πŸ™‚ You were very lucky with the accident, the other driver and the police officer.

        1. Possibly because I used to run from my Social Services Office in Queens Park to the College in Croydon. On the other hand, one younger male student challenged me to a press-ups contest. When he gave up after 35 and I was still going he sat on me. I collapsed.

  5. GREAT car!!! πŸ™‚ And they say “Red cars have more fun!” πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜›
    HA! on the car lifting! πŸ˜€
    EEK! on the falling asleep! So glad no one was hurt!
    (((HUGS))) πŸ™‚

      1. Every so often they run ads on TV here warning about it. When I was a teenager I once fell asleep with my eyes open on a long overnight country trip and wandered to the other side of the road into the path of a truck. When I snapped to, I ended up in the ditch on the wrong side of the road. There was a group of us driving in shifts and that sure woke the others up!

  6. The amusing stories of driving add richness to your journey. The art of β€˜lifting’ your blocked car belongs to the realms of magic which only the rarest of the drivers are blessed with. Most, like us, are mere muggles. And what a fine pair gentlemen the owner of Bentley and the the police officer were!

  7. Enjoyed that, Derrick. Nicely told. I recall a girl in our shared student house was given a little Fiat by her folks. Most of us couldn’t afford a car, probably because we went to the pub pretty much every night. On the way back home one evening, some of us nicely inebriated chaps decided that this car shouldn’t be on the road. It was far too dangerous. It might get hurt. It’s only little; it could be taken in by anyone – such as a Ford Capri. So four of us got a corner each and lifted it onto the pavement, where we thought it was much safer. It stayed there until the following morning, when a shriek, followed by my name (very unfair, I’ve always thought, woke up the entire street.

    1. Thanks very much, Mike. The funniest thing about that well executed escapade is the unfairness attached to your name – it reminded me of similar accurate assumptions from my schooldays

  8. I learned to drive in in Hillman Imp. On one lesson I was hit by a cyclist who was looking over his shoulder to talk to a companion. Your stories are more interesting than mine . . . πŸ™‚

  9. I think what you termed “lifting” a car a bit at a time must be similar to what we used to call “bumping” a car. That was extremely effective and with the help of other people not at all difficult to do.

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