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19 May 2008

Pedal Power

I've spent the afternoon at the NEC, wading through the Baby Show. Thought it might be a laugh. What it's really achieved is a sense of how lucky today's nippers are, and before you start worrying that I'm going to get all 'back in our day' about it, unfortunately that's exactly what it's made me feel and now I'm going to write about it. It's reminded me of my Grandpa, who died when I was about six years old. Maybe five. Didn't have Outlook, but I'm expecting 1979/1980.

I've been checking out a lot of the websites of the myriad companies that have flung free stuff my way all afternoon and have come across some truly excellent toy sites: not all battery-0perated, plug'n'play contraptions - real toys, made of wood or metal and involving manual craftsmanship. There's this incredible pedal car for 2-3 year olds and upwards. I'm starting to save now.

It's this that made me remember my Grandpa because, once upon a time (I am imagining my second birthday), he built me a metal pedal car, designed just like the one on the link. Yep, built it. He was a car mechanic before and after the war - and during it he served in Burma with the RAF as a mender of aeroplanes and other sundry engines. He would get on an old Norton or BSA and ride the Wall Of Death for japes and larks. He was that kind of bloke. Bizarrely, given the current Big News, he was based on the Irrawaddy Delta.

The sad thing is that my cream-liveried, SIMON 2 number-plated, all-metal pedal car has long since passed into the ether, and I've been trying to remember when it left me. And under what circumstances. It was one of those toys that I couldn't let go of, one that lived for many years in various garden sheds and garages along life's highway. Of course, it had been years since I had been able to fit inside it by the time I remember it not being around anymore. I just can't remember the day when it was discussed that it would be sold/scrapped/given away. I actually feel quite a pang for it now. It would have been a great thing to give to Max, but then - it does have my name all over it. Maybe he should get my father's watch. That's easier to store.


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