Friday, 27 November 2015

A car, some snow and a childhood memory of Lausanne Road

It is odd the way that just one simple sound heard this morning from our kitchen has pitched me back to the front room of Lausanne Road over sixty years ago.

The sound was that of a car slowly going past the house and perhaps it was the speed or the wheels on the wet road that reminded me of other cars making their way down Lausanne Road during one of those early morning snow falls.

You know the scene.  In the dead of night unbeknown to anyone but the night watchman sitting in front of his brazier it had been snowing.

It fell effortlessly out of the sky and pretty quickly  blanketed everything with a thick white layer which deadened all sounds and offered up that crunching noise as the wheels of cars passed over it.

And once that set of thoughts is out in the open another equally more powerful one has intruded and it is of falling asleep in a made up bed in the front room watching the occasional headlights of a car.

It will have been a Christmas and my bed was taken by our uncle George up for the holiday.

I say up but in fact until the mid 1960s he had lived in “digs” in Birmingham before retiring to a caravan in Cornwall.

And long after I have totally forgotten what presents I got the passage of those headlights across the ceiling moving slowly from right to left has stayed with me. To a five year old they seemed to have a life of their own and while I knew what they were they could be anything my imagination made them.

Not that there were many coming down Lausanne Road, this was after all the early 1950s and I can’t recall anyone of our neighbours owning a car or any of my friends come to that.

Back then pretty much all the roads were empty of parked cars and most people still went to work on the bus, their bike or on foot.

We never had a car which I suspect was because Dad was a coach driver during the summer months and reckoned that was enough for anyone, added to which cars were very expensive and public transport was so good.

I think I can just about remember my first car journey sometime around 1958 which would have put me about nine

It was winter, there was no heater and the car smelt of stale wet leather.

Thinking about it I do seem to have been having more and more thoughts of Lausanne Road in the 1950s which I guess is what happens when you pass into the middle of your sixties..

Pictures; from the collection of Andrew Simpson

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