Bordeaux Bay

Bordeaux Bay
Watercolour by Tony Taylor

Saturday, 9 July 2016


Everybody remembers their first car, as they do their first lover, but not always with unalloyed pleasure.
This one's probably best read aloud.

Bard at Bay is taking a short break. Online activity will resume on Sunday 17th July.


Nineteen-Sixties, bought my first car.
Independent, just turned twenty.
Didn’t want advice from Father.
Had my wits about me, plenty
Good Used Cars, the signboard told me.
A green Ford, the salesman sold me.

A Ford Anglia, so shiny,
caught and held my rapt attention:
Dealer sang its praises highly
but some things he failed to mention.
I was foolish and besotted:
simply glad that I had got it.

Second-hand, but what a bargain.
Paid my money, roared off proudly
down the road to nearby Bangor,
the exhaust-pipe popping loudly,
thick black smoke where no smoke should be,
and the engine farting rudely.

Such excitement, revving madly.
Great wide road, and I was on it.
Something underneath was banging:
something underneath the bonnet.
A dodgy motor? Never mind:
I loved that car, and love is blind.

What matter if the Ford was noisy
it looked superb but sounded ill
like an old man with bronchitis.
I was oblivious until,
with the sound of tarmac hissing,
I saw half the floor was missing.

Even then, still in denial,
I trundled down the Bangor road
smiling, singing, honking wildly,
for all the world like Mr Toad,
ignoring all the twitching ganglia
within the corpse of my Ford Anglia.

Then a sort of small explosion
made the Ford begin to shudder,
swerve from here to there at random
like a boat without a rudder.
Suddenly a sinking feeling:
engine died, I was freewheeling.

At the kerb I sat despondent.
Bits of car lay all around me.
I sat down and started moaning:
that is where the AA found me.
The Patrol-man checked the car
and was surprised I’d got this far.

Soldered bits and soldered pieces,
objects glued to other objects
and a slap of paint and filler
camouflaged a hundred defects.
I had been taken for a ride:
this was the Fall that follows Pride.

The Anglia went to the scrapyard
and as I watched it towed away
I bit my lip and I thought hard
on what my Father had to say:
Now that you’re broke, Son, you might like
to fix the puncture on your bike.

and now, a Bonus Track, still on the subject of cars ...

(A Cautionary Tale)

He exited the Singles Bar,
jumped into his red, sexy car,
took off at speed: RAR, RAR, RAR, RAR.
Alas, he didn't get that far.
At Ninety-Three he hit a tree
(a Silly B, most would agree).
Now see, he's in the mort-u-ree.   



  1. Good image of the old Ford Anglia, I can hear my fathers voice saying similar to me in a not too differing situation. What where once harsh words, now a nice memory.

  2. Richard Fleming17 July 2016 at 20:37

    Know what you mean Julian. At seventeen, I thought my father knew nothing but looking back from today's vantage point I reckon he knew far more than I could have imagined then. R.