friend Bob Exelby lived next door to my parents in the 1970's, and he is
the reason that I now restore old cars for a living. It is now almost 40
years since I first wandered into Bob's garage in Tudhoe Village, County
Durham, where he was restoring a beautiful red Daimler SP250. The seed
was sewn and I was well and truly bitten by the restoration bug.
years later, not much has changed. Bob is still doing spectacular restorations
in his garage at home, the latest of which is an early Jaguar XK120 roadster.
He is documenting the restoration of the 120 in a truly excellent on-line
blog. Yesterday I was catching up on Bob's blog and came across a great
anecdote about Bob's late father, George. I knew George personally, and
liked him a great deal, so it was wonderful for me to have a glimpse into
his life as a young boy.
let Bob pick up the story from here...
is the last page of a letter from my father, post marked 1935, to his mother.
Aged just fourteen, and with a shilling (5p) in his pocket he was sent
to work at a farm at Barnard Castle, some forty miles away. Written a few
days after his arrival, he asks for some more 'cash'. Having spent his
shilling and accounted for it, he nicely emphasises how broke he is with
his post script - "I have no ink so I have used pencil" ..