My daughter, Sakinah, passed her driving test just a few days before starting her diploma in accountancy. Yesterday, her driving license and “P” plate was delivered to our house.
Looking back, I only got my driver’s license at the age of 21, in Manchester, well into the first year of my course in town planning. I had saved some of my scholarship money to take the driving lessons. Twice a week I would take the short walk from Cornbrook House, my hall of residence then, to a driving centre office located on the Oxford Road, close to the Manchester Polytechnic.
Since then, I have had the opportunity get acquainted with a bevy of beauties (I mean cars, here) who have faithfully served me through thick and thin.
I am not one of those crazy car lovers who would splash thousands of ringgits (or pounds, in UK) to have the latest, fancy, ride. To me, it has always been based on need and practicality (okay, it’s also got to do with money – my lack of it, that is).
Allow me to reminisce a bit, and take you through my list of beauties.
First, before I got my driver’s license, there was the double-decker No. 81 Bus in Manchester. I didn’t own the bus, of course, but it was my first, regular and very reliable ride.
It was operated by the Greater Manchester Transport (GMT), and came in orange liveries and colour similar to the one shown above. I used to board it in Cheetham Hill, north west of the city centre, and got off at the University of Manchester in front of the Cornbrook House. This was after a thirty minutes to forty-five minutes ride. The time taken depends on the traffic in down-town Manchester because No. 81 passes right through the city centre.
The bus was well-built (British engineering) and the ride was always smooth. The fact that the British bus drivers are always courteous and highly professional helps here, of course. There was no bus conductor on board to hand out tickets. The driver does everything. You will pay your fare to the driver as you board the bus, upon which, a ticket is handed to you on the spot.
Reliable and efficient as it was, No. 81 came with one problem – for me at least. I just couldn’t stand the smoke from cigarette smokers. Although smoking is only allowed on the upper deck, there’s no stopping the smoke from flowing downstairs.
I would often reach the university drowsy and sick, especially during the winter months when all the window openings are shut tight. What’s the use of a student coming to campus, if he is too sick and cannot concentrate on the lectures?
So that’s when I decided to look for a second hand car as my first, personally owned ride.
Coming soon…the beauty who was my personal escort (it was love at first sight).