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Yesterday I attended a committee meeting of the Bridgend & District Local History Society, of which I am currently deputy chairperson. I decided to walk, estimating about thirty minutes to cover the two or more miles to reach the venue. About two-thirds of the way a beautiful Jaguar XK passed me, top down, it was a lovely evening for a drive and I knew where it was going, it belonged to a fellow committee member and was bound for the same destination as I. On arrival I lost no time in firing off a shot or two on my Canon G12, the owner noticed I had walked up the extremely long driveway and said he could have picked me up if I’d rung him. I explained all about the need for exercise and thanked him for the thought, “I’ll run you home afterwards” he said; I declined, it was a lovely evening and the walk was more beneficial even though the thought of a ride nearly did win.

Back in the early 1970s when I worked at the Jane Hodge Holiday Home for disabled children one of my female colleagues was about to have a baby, she and her husband reluctantly decided to sell their two-seater sports car, a Jaguar XK and at the price they were asking I was seriously interested, they wanted 4 for it, hundred that is not thousand, yes, £400 but I could have it for less if I wanted it. “Take it for a spin” my colleague’s husband said as he handed me the key. I couldn’t resist and, with him in the passenger seat, took it carefully out of the driveway and travelled in the direction of Cowbridge where I was able to put my foot down and allow that engine to growl. And growl it did as it roared past Cowbridge Comprehensive School at 90 (no speed limit along there in those days) and I eased it up to the traffic lights and into the town where I turned round and took it back to my place of employ from whence we had come.

I was seriously smitten, and with the unique registration number of HUO 1 it was a bargain, or so it seemed. The doors didn’t fit properly, the wind howled through gaps in the bodywork, I could see the road through the floor, it apparently leaked like a collander, all of these things though could have been fixed (eventually) but the main problem was the cost of insurance, as I was under 25 at the time the quote was astronomical and prohibitive, it would have cost me more than the value of the car per year just to insure, without running, service and repair costs. Reluctantly I had to say no, this was not a viable proposition, I would have to be content with my economical mini for a while longer. The Jaguar was sold a week or so later to some lucky person who no doubt had loads of fun with it for a while but I was told he later passed on the registration number for a four-figure sum. I have no idea whether the car survived though, it was red, if that’s any help!