Using Our Car
At the start of this period, mum and dad had a Vauxhall Viva Estate. They had bought this in February 1968 (see Chapter 95). Because accounts of this period are dependent on grandad’s diaries only, there is relatively little about how mum and dad used the car. The only exceptions are where it directly affected grandma and grandad. One example of this is where mum and/or dad gave grandma and grandad lifts.
Lifts for Grandma
In March 1970, dad picked grandma up to take her to the bus station to catch the bus to Bedford. Later that month, mum picked her up from Norwich bus station when she got back from Bedford (see Chapter 106). Also, in May 1970, mum picked grandma up to bring her to ours to help with some painting (see Chapter 109).
In June 1971, dad brought grandma and Auntie Dolly home from ours. The next year, in April 1972, on Easter Sunday, grandad noted that mum, dad and the four of us came for tea in our (car). Robin Harrison also brought his car. Grandad noted that we took grandma and Auntie Dolly to Park Lane Methodist Church (see Chapter 107). The following month, in May 1972, mum took grandma to the Post Office to collect the pensions (see Chapter 104). She then took her into Norwich with the Roberts radio which had “gone wonky” (see Chapter 108). Grandma came home by bus. That same year, in September 1972, mum took grandma and Mrs Davis to Lowestoft for a week’s holiday (see Chapter 106).
Lifts for Grandad
In June 1970, dad took grandad to Gaywood Corner to buy a ladder. Dad also went back later to pick it up but grandad decided it was not long enough so they ordered a longer one for him which they later delivered (see Chapter 108).
Use for Other Activities
On odd occasions, grandad did note the car being used for other activities, for example, in June 1970, for canvassing when dad stood for election to parliament (see Chapter 112). I recall dad attaching loudspeakers to the car and he used to sing as part of his canvassing! All highly embarrassing.
On one occasion, in May 1970, dad went out in the car while mum, Robin and the rest of us went to grandma and grandad’s for tea (see Chapter 106).
On another, in July 1973, dad had the car to go to Kirkby. This may have been noteworthy as it was after the date that mum and dad split up (see Chapter 99).
In February 1972, mum and dad had a new car, a Simca. Grandad noted “made in” but did not complete the sentence. Had he intended to note when it was made or perhaps where? Simca was a French car manufacturer, established in 1934 by Fiat. In 1970, it became a brand of Chrysler and the brand was phased out in 1978. Models in production in 1971 included 1000 (and coupe), 1100, 1200, 1300/1301 and 1500/1501. I recall that we had a Simca and believe it was probably a Simca 1100.
After they got it, mum took the new car to grandma and grandad’s for them to have a look at. Grandad noted that it cost £1,025 or near that and they gave us £100 towards it.
Other People Using Cars
Grandad occasionally noted other people using cars.
For example, in September 1973, he noted Linda Bell going by car with a friend to London for a new job.
The next year, in September 1974, Amy came to visit but Tom was not well enough to come (see Chapter 100). Amy got a lift with her nephew Ewart (see Chapter 106).
Lifts with Other People
In addition to getting lifts with mum and/or dad, grandma got lifts with different people.
For example in March 1970, Miss Garrod gave grandma a lift to a circuit meeting at Rosebery Road (see Chapter 107).
In July 1971, grandma went with Mrs Pointer and Miss Cooke in Mrs Pointer’s car to Shotesham (see Chapter 107).
Mrs Skipper’s Son
In July 1971, grandma was planning to take the bus into Norwich to get the bus to Bedford to visit Auntie Dolly. But, Mrs Skipper’s son saw her at the bus stop and gave her a lift.
Miss Walker took grandma to Sheringham in October 1971 and, in October 1974, she brought her home from Mile Cross Ladies’ meeting (see Chapter 107). In November 1974, Miss Walker brought grandma and grandad home once mum had been discharged from hospital.
In August 1972, Mr Beckett took grandma and Auntie Dolly into Norwich and they then came to ours (see Chapter 108).
For more information about transport provided by Robin, see Chapter 99. In August 1972, Robin took grandma and Auntie Dolly home and brought my bike back. Also, he picked grandma up from the bus station, when she returned from Bedford, in October 1972 (see Chapter 106).
In January 1973, Mrs LeFever took grandma to Drayton Methodist Church (see Chapter 107).
In February 1973, Ron took grandma to get some penicillin tablets for Barbara Carpenter (see Chapter 100). Grandma came home by bus.
In April 1973, Barbara Carpenter went in her car to Drayton to vote. She took grandma and grandad (see Chapter 112). In November 1973, grandma went by bus to Mansfield for Auntie Bertha’s 90th birthday. Barbara Carpenter took her into Norwich (see Chapter 106).
In June 1973, Mr Newsome and his family took grandma in their car to Mile Cross Methodist church (see Chapter 107).
David Johnson brought grandma to ours in October 1973 (see Chapter 102). In November 1974, he brought grandma from ours to theirs and back again (see Chapter 106).
Ken Bell brought grandma and grandad to ours in November 1974 to see to the house as mum was in hospital.
In April 1971, grandma got a lift home from Mile Cross Methodist Church in a visitor’s car. No details are given of who the visitor was.
The following year, in November 1972, grandma and Miss Cooke went by car to Mile Cross Methodist Church.
In January 1974, grandma was given a lift to and from a joint service at Drayton Church of England. No details are given of whose car it was on either occasion. For more details of joint services between Drayton Methodist Church and Drayton Parish Church, see Chapter 107.
In March 1974, grandma went with Mrs Davis to Surrey Chapel in a friend’s car (see Chapter 107).
Grandad Occasionally Got Lifts
Sometimes, grandad got a lift with someone.
For example, in May 1971, grandad went with Ron Douglas to the Post Office to collect the pensions and Ron’s children’s allowances. In September 1971, Ron took grandad and his fret saw to Arthur Elsegood’s (see Chapter 109).
In May 1972, Jack Attwood, who was visiting, took grandad to a barber in Hellesdon for a haircut.
During this period, grandma and grandad did do some trips out with Tom and Amy in their car (see Chapter 106). In September 1970, grandad made a tray to fit in Tom’s car (see Chapter 109). Then, in December 1970, dad brought grandad his binoculars and stick. Dad had brought them from Tom and Amy when he visited Kirkby. Grandad had left them in their car.
Grandma and grandad also went out with other visitors who came by car, including, in May 1972, Jack and Phyllis Attwood (see Chapter 106).
In September 1971, grandad noted that his driving licence was due for renewal. He had had his first licence in 1920 (see Chapter 18) but they had not owned a car since September 1963 (see Chapter 80) and grandad had not driven since the late 1950s (see Chapter 63). So, he decided not to renew it.
Sometimes, problems with a car disrupted plans. For example, in February 1974, mum was unable to go for tea at grandma and grandad’s as her car battery was flat (see Chapter 106).
In January 1972, Barbara Carpenter locked herself out of the car with all her keys inside. Grandma and grandad helped her get into the bungalow. She then phoned the garage in Drayton and they cut a new car key for her and she was able to get in. She may have had spare car keys in the bungalow but she could not find them.
This was the second time grandma and grandad had helped Barbara when she was locked out. The first time, in June 1970, she had lost her front door key (see Chapter 109)
There were some road accidents during this period.
In November 1970, Mrs Skipper was knocked down by a car. She had got off a bus from Norwich. I don’t think she was badly injured. A few days later, grandma and Amy went to visit her and I believe this was in her home as had she been in hospital I think they would have noted that.
Hit by a Lorry
That same month, a few days later, a lorry bumped the car at “Elam” roundabout. I don’t know precisely where this is. I thought it might be “Etam” but that would not make any more sense! Given that they were going from grandma and grandad’s to our new house in Waverley Road, I wonder if he meant the Earlham Road roundabout on the ring road. It is possible that the word is Erlam and he was spelling it phonetically.
Accidents Due to Bad Weather
On 4 January 1971, grandad noted that there had been several road accidents because of the bad frost.
A Shattered Windscreen
In December 1971, Grandma went with Tom and Amy to Kennings in Norwich to have a new windscreen fitted. Theirs had shattered after having been hit by a stone thrown up by a lorry at Attlebridge. Grandad noted that these repairs cost a total of £10.40 which was £6.20 for the windscreen and £3.20 labour. However, these numbers do not add up
Kennings was a nationwide car dealership based on a business established by George Kenning in Clay Cross in 1908 hiring out bicycles and horses – although some histories trace the origins of the business back to his father Frank’s hardware store in 1878. The first dealership was established in Chesterfield in 1928. In the 1950s and 1960s, there were 300 depots nationwide and Kennings also ran a number of motorway service stations. In 1986/7, the business was taken over but part of it continued as GK Group including a focus on leasing vehicles. There is a Facebook group for stories and photos about Kenning Motor Group.
In June 1972, Linda Bell went in her car to Kelvedon near Colchester to visit friends. The car suddenly turned over although that does not sound too plausible as the whole story! Apparently, a passing ambulance took her to hospital. She only had “bruises and shock” and grandad considered her very lucky.
In April 1974, Rev Hayman had an accident on his moped. He was told he had to have three days complete rest.
Linda Bell (Again)
In October 1974, Linda Bell and her friend Peter were involved in a crash at Royston. Someone brought them to Drayton. For more details of both accidents that Linda Bell was involved in, see Chapter 100.
A Parking Ticket
During this period, grandad’s barber received a parking ticket at a cost of £15. This was for parking on the High Road when he visited grandad to ask about making a circular saw (see Chapter 109).
Very occasionally, grandma used taxis. For example, in May 1972, grandma and Auntie Dolly had a taxi to the bus station. I think dad had been supposed to collect them but he had had a puncture. They were going by bus to see Doris in Hastings (see Chapter 106). In May 1974, grandma and Auntie Dolly had a taxi home. Auntie Dolly had come by bus from Bedford but the bus had been delayed (see Chapter 106).
Bus into Norwich
Grandma often went by bus into Norwich. Some details of bus stops and bus routes are in Chapter 95. Currently, Drayton is served by the yellow bus route which runs from Fakenham to Norwich through Taverham and Drayton.
Reasons for these trips were varied and included taking in grandad’s tax returns (see Chapter 104), to work as a volunteer in the hospital canteen (see Chapter 100), to attend church-related meetings (see Chapter 107), for various kinds of shopping (see Chapter 108), to sort out an insurance policy (see Chapter 104), to visit people in hospital (see Chapter 100), to go to the theatre (see Chapter 106) and to pay various kinds of bills (see Chapter 102).
Grandma Sometimes Went into Norwich with Others
Often, grandma went by herself but sometimes she went with other people including Auntie Dolly, Mrs Smith and Mrs Davis.
Grandma Sometimes Walked From Where the Bus Dropped Her
Sometimes, the bus dropped grandma in one place and she had to walk to where she was going. For example, in May 1971, she dropped off at Wensum Park and walked to Rosebery Road Methodist Church (for details of this church, see Chapter 79).
Grandma Sometimes Got the Bus One Way
Sometimes, grandma might get a lift one way, e.g. with mum, and then get the bus back.
Occasionally, Grandma Missed the Bus
On one occasion, grandma and Auntie Dolly had gone to Eaton Park but they missed the bus connection and had to ring for mum to fetch them.
Grandad Rarely Used the Bus
Grandad went much less often on the bus to Norwich but he did occasionally, for example, in January 1970 to buy tundishes for the windmill and, in July 1971, with grandma to buy a digital clock from Partons (see Chapter 108).
Going Other Places on the Bus
Grandma also sometimes went places other than Norwich on the bus.
For example, in September 1970, grandma went by bus to Taverham Methodist Church Harvest Festival. Rev Hayman brought her home (see Chapter 107).
Our House in Waverley Road
After we moved to Waverley Road, grandma sometimes came to ours by bus. For example, she came babysitting in July 1971 after she had been to Mile Cross ladies’ meeting.
Initially, I was not sure about the bus routes she would have used. Now, I think you would need to get the bus from Drayton into Norwich City Centre and then either get another bus or walk from there. However, I am grateful to Greg Round and David Viner, contributors on the “Norwich from the 1970s Onwards” Facebook page, who explained to me that, in the 1970s, Eastern Counties buses routes 525, 526 and 528 went along Newmarket Road from Cringleford to Drayton and Taverham (526 and 528 only). According to grandad’s diary, a new bus timetable with different routes was introduced on 12 July 1971.
As Children, We Sometimes Went on Our Own to Grandma and Grandad’s on the Bus
Sometimes, we also went to grandma and grandad’s by bus. For example, Tricia and Alan went there on the bus in July 1971. Tricia would have been 13 and Alan nine. In October 1971, the four of us came back home from grandma and grandad’s by bus. In February 1973, the four of us came to and returned from grandma and grandad’s by bus.
Our House in College Road
Similarly, after we moved to College Road, grandma also sometimes came to ours by bus. For example, in September 1973, she came so that she could paint a cupboard (see Chapter 109).
As with getting to Waverley Road, I was initially not sure what bus routes would have been involved. Now, I think you would need to get the bus from Drayton into Norwich City Centre and then either get another bus or walk from there. From memory, I mainly recall walking from our house in College Road into Norwich and I do not recall getting buses from there. From the information on Eastern Counties buses routes 525, 526 and 528, I think it may have been possible to get the bus from the ring road and then walk from there.
Eastern Counties Buses
During this period, the buses were operated by The Eastern Counties Omnibus Company which was founded in 1931. However, this only operated as an independent company until January 1970 when it was merged into the National Bus Company. Nevertheless, it continued to operate as a brand/regional subsidiary and, in 1985, merged with Badgerline to form First Bus. This means that, during this period, buses were operating under the Eastern Counties name as a regional subsidiary of the National Bus Company.
Grandma Made Longer Journeys by Bus
Grandma also made longer journeys by bus including to Bedford, Nottingham, for Kirkby and Mansfield, and Hastings (see Chapter 106).
Other People Came by Bus to Visit
Other people used to come by bus to visit and stay with grandma and grandad. One of the most regular visitors was Auntie Dolly and she always came by bus from Bedford (see Chapter 106). Others included Arthur and Jessie Lofthouse, Ray Cirket, Jim and Renie Seville, Florrie Booth (see Chapter 106).
Visitors Used Buses to Explore
Visitors, such as Arthur and Jessie Lofthouse, also sometimes used the bus to explore Norfolk and East Anglia including to Cromer, Felixstowe, Hunstanton, Lowestoft, Sandringham, Southwold, Wroxham and Yarmouth (see Chapter 106).
Special Bus Tickets
Grandad sometimes noted details of special bus tickets that grandma purchased. These included tickets which allowed them to go anywhere on Eastern Counties buses which grandma bought both with Auntie Dolly, in August 1970, and Alan, in July 1971. Grandad also noted details of 50p tickets that grandma and Auntie Dolly bought, in August 1973, to go to Blakeney, Holt and Cromer (see Chapter 106).
Grandma and Auntie Dolly Went Other Places by Bus
Grandma and Auntie Dolly went to other places by bus without grandad noting details of their tickets. These places included Cromer, Holkham Hall, Mundesley and round the Norfolk coast (see Chapter 106).
Outings Often Were by Bus
Outings, including those from chapel (see Chapter 107), often went by bus. Places grandma went on bus day outings during this period included Cambridge, Clacton-on-Sea, Cromer, Diss, Felixstowe, Framingham Earl, Framlingham, Hethersett, Ipswich, Shotesham, Weybourne and Windsor Safari Park (see Chapter 106). These trips included at least one trip by minibus. Grandma sometimes took people that were visiting her on these outings including Auntie Dolly, Phyllis Attwood and Florrie Booth. On at least one occasion, she went with mum. Longer outings, trips or holidays were made during this period to Devon and the Isle of Wight (see Chapter 106).
When mum, Tricia and grandma went to Oberammergau in 1970 (see Chapter 106), they went by Mascot coach.
Jill Howard (nee Votier) has written a history of Mascot coaches and the Votier family. Mascot coaches was formed based on a business started by Leonard Votier in 1924 although it only acquired the Mascot name in 1931, initially known as Mascot Comfort Coaches. It traded until 1975 when it merged with Eastern Counties.
Other Forms of Transport on Oberammergau Trip
Grandad also noted that they went to various places on their trip by coach including to Innsbruck on 9 August. Initially I assumed this was the coach they went in but pictures taken in Ostend seem to show a different coach (see Chapter 106). They also used other forms of transport on that trip including a cable train, which I think refers to the funicular railway that goes to the Nordkette mountains, on the 10th and a cable car on the 11th.
Other People Used Buses
Grandad occasionally recorded people other than grandma using buses.
Dad, Alan and Me
In April 1973, dad, Alan and I went on a bus trip to London to see Norwich play at Wembley in the final of the League Cup (see Chapter 106).
In March 1972, Irene Bell went by bus with members of the WI in Taverham to the Daily Mail’s Ideal Homes Exhibition in London (see Chapter 106).
Arthur and Rose Elsegood
In September 1973, grandad noted that Arthur and Rose Elsegood has been on an eight-day coach tour of the Scottish lakes. Mum’s holidays in Scotland and Wales were also coach trips (see Chapter 106).
The Buses Switch to Decimal Currency
On 21 February 1971, grandad noted that the bus company started using decimal money instead of £ s d. This was a few days after decimalisation, which happened on Monday February 15 1971 (see Chapter 112), so initially I did not know if they had delayed the changeover or grandad was just delayed recording it. However, according to an article a day before the changeover, entitled “geared up for bus D-day”, the reason for the delay was that they wanted to do it on a Sunday as that was a relatively “slack” day. In preparation, they had converted 1,000 ticket machines and trained 1,200 staff to deal with decimal money, In the previous week, they had continued to operate in old money although the correct decimal money was accepted. The article noted that Eastern Counties were making conversion cards available to the public.
Journeys by Train
Some journeys were made by train. For example, mum went by train to London in December 1971. In April 1973, I went on a school trip to Rouen and we went by boat and rail (see Chapter 103). Two months later, in June 1973, grandma came home from Lowestoft by train (see Chapter 106). In August 1973, dad, Liz and I came back from Butlins in Clacton by train (see Chapter 106). In August 1974, mum met me at Thorpe which implies I had been somewhere by train. I think I had been in London presumably to see dad (see Chapter 106).
Although travelling by air was becoming more common, it was still relatively uncommon among our family and friends although there were some examples during this period. The first time I flew was in 1981 when I went to India for my medical elective.
Tricia to Yugoslavia
In July 1972, Tricia flew to Yugoslavia for an exchange visit organised through her school. Apparently, she went with the girl from Yugoslavia who had been staying with us at Waverley Road (see Chapter 103).
By this point, there was an airport in Norwich as David Bell had his 21st birthday party there in September 1972 (see Chapter 106). However, I am fairly sure Tricia did not fly from here. But, grandad did not note which airport Tricia flew from.
Apparently, there was an airport in Mousehold from 1933, but it moved to the present location in St Faiths in 1967. Grandad noted in his diary that it opened on 30 May 1970. The current terminal building opened in 1988.
Mrs Douglas to Australia
In November 1972, Mrs Douglas went to Australia by air.
Tricia to Lille
Tricia flew again in April 1973. This time it was to Lillle in France and again this was a school trip (see Chapter 103).
Barbara Carpenter to Portugal from Luton Airport
In October 1973, Barbara Carpenter went by air to Portugal from Luton.
Basle Air Crash
The day after Tricia flew to Lille on 9 April 1973, grandad noted that there had been a big air crash in Basle in Switzerland and that over 100 people had been killed. His initial entry was 101 killed but he later revised this to 108. This crash was of Invicta International Airlines Flight 435 which was en route to Basel-Mulhouse from Bristol Lulsgate (see Chapter 112).
In June 1971, grandad noted that a balloon passed over Drayton at about 6.06pm. I don’t know what this was, perhaps some kind of hot air balloon.
Grandad Occasionally Used His Bike…
Sometimes, but not often, grandad used his bike to go places. I am not entirely sure which bike this was but it could have been the Raleigh RSW16 which he got in January 1966 (see Chapter 95). I know it came to me at some point in the 70s but perhaps it was 1973 or 1974 when grandad considered he could no longer ride it. I don’t think it was as late as 1975, when grandad died, as I think I had my own bike then and, in 1977, I got a motorbike.
… to Go to Dixons
For example, he cycled to Dixons in March 1970 to order wood for a job for Drayton Methodist Church. He also cycled there in June 1970 to look for a ladder and in November 1970 to order paraffin (see Chapter 109).
… to Go to the Barbers
In March 1970, grandad went to both the barbers and Dixons on the bike.
… to Go to the Bank
At least, I have assumed it was the bank. He referred to it as “the B”, in July 1970, so I suppose it could have been “the barbers”.
… to Come to Ours
Grandad sometimes cycled to ours when we still lived in Middletons Lane, e.g. in July 1970.
… to Visit Arthur Elsegood
In April 1971, grandad cycled to Arthur’s to see about making a one-stringed fiddle (see Chapter 109).
… to Go to Hurn Road Shops
In February 1973, grandad went out on his bike for the first time since December. He went to Hurn Road shops.
Grandad Carried Out Repairs on Our Bikes
We also had bikes and grandad often did repairs for us (see Chapter 109).
Sometimes We Biked to Grandma and Grandad’s
Sometimes, we biked to grandma and grandad’s. For example, Liz and Alan biked to grandma’s in April 1970 with Tricia running along beside them. Robin and mum came later in the car. Dad and I had gone to Kirkby. At this point, Tricia was 11, Alan was seven and Liz just turned five. We were still living in Hellesdon at this point.
In November 1973, I cycled from College Road to grandma and grandad’s to collect a book. In August 1974, mum took Auntie Bertha home. We went to grandma and grandad’s. Tricia and I went on our bikes, again from College Road.
Grandma Walked Places
The diaries sometimes noted people walking places. For example, grandma sometimes walked to visit friends, e.g. the Hodsons and to Mrs Collins. She also often walked to Drayton Methodist Church, although grandad rarely noted this explicitly. He did on 11 January 1973 as she had been unwell and unable to walk to church (see Chapter 100). In January 1974, grandad noted that grandma managed to walk to the hairdresser’s.
Grandad Walked Much Less
Grandad was not able to walk much but, in February 1974, he noted having a walk in the garden. That same month, a week later, he walked to Irene Bell’s which was the first time that year.
Auntie Bertha Also Only Walked a Little
In June 1974, grandma noted that Auntie Bertha managed to walk round the garden three times and, in August 1974, she walked to the pillar box.
We Sometimes Walked to Grandma and Grandad’s
Sometimes, we walked to grandma’s from Middletons Lane, for example, Tricia walked there in January 1970 and Tricia, Kathryn Leach and I walked there in April 1970. Tricia was 11 at this point and I was nine. Kathryn would have been seven.
Visitors Walked from Grandma and Grandad’s
Visitors also sometimes went for a walk from grandma and grandad’s. For example, on separate days in July 1970, Arthur and Jessie Lofthouse walked to Taverham and Costessey. Grandma sometimes walked with visitors. For example, in July 1970, she went with Arthur and Jessie Lofthouse to the caravan site in Drayton (see Chapter 91). The following month, in August 1970, she walked with Auntie Dolly to Mile Cross. In June 1973, grandma and Florrie Booth walked into Drayton.