By Eileen Ward Birch
I was always daddy’s girl and from the time I could stand I loved little better than ‘helping’ my Dad with our cars. Over the years we had a variety of motors as they were needed for the business and Dad did most of the mechanical work on them himself having learned to drive in the days when you had to know about these things. In fact, he’d never taken a test to drive a car and only took one to drive heavy goods vehicles when the test for them was introduced.
As soon as Dad had the bonnet up on a car, or started to remove a worn tyre, I would be there ready to follow instructions what to listen for or which pedal I could press. I even used a foot pump to inflate tyres as soon as I was strong enough.
Mostly what I remember of those times though is the aroma of the warm engine oil as he tinkered under the bonnet with the engine running to hear any mistiming or unusual sounds.
He could have smelt of any fruit and veg in the shop, but for me the aroma of warm engine oil under the bonnet of a car brings back the days when I was small and my Daddy let me help him to fix his cars.