Virginia Barton

15 February 2019: Men in cars

15 February 2019


“Because of the fits, I’m afraid you won’t be able to drive again.”

Yippee! No more see-sawing in and of parking spaces, no more agonising over whether there would even BE a parking space.

The neurologist was really apologetic; he had no idea how close he was to being hugged. I managed to resist whooping and look crestfallen, and assured him I lived near a bus stop.

Aged 54 at the time, I can honestly say I have never missed getting behind the wheel of a car since.



Unlike Prince Philip, for whom, I suspect, driving is like breathing. At least he can get behind his horse and drive a gig or a four-in-hand. He can also drive a car on the private roads of the Royal Estates — which must be extensive; some newspaper will have found out exactly how many miles there are collectively at Sandringham, Windsor and Balmoral. (Have I forgotten one?)

Prince Philip was lucky to walk away from his accident; being tipped over at his age (97) is no joke. Was he wearing his seat belt then? If so, how did he manage to get out so quickly and walk away virtually unaided?

The really lucky one was the 9-month-old baby who could so easily have been tossed out or crushed.


We hear Prince Philip has voluntarily given up his driving licence. Perhaps his example will encourage others of his age to do the same?

A dear friend had her car pancaked by a 91-year-old as he pulled away from his doctor’s surgery! Luckily no-one was in her car at the time.

There have been instances of old folk accidentally going the wrong way down motorways, slap-bang into oncoming traffic. Not only old people, of course; young ones are just as risky, viz. their insurance premiums.


I suppose it’s a question of manly pride.

The car: the look what I’ve got. It’s bigger than yours and more expensive and shinier and newer. It goes faster and the girls all want a ride in it. And it’s dangerous.

Once men felt like that about their horses.


And women and cars?

No, not really. Good for draping yourself over model-style, or waving goodbye out of, while being driven off to an exotic holiday.

But mainly good for fetching the children from late-night parties or the husband from the station after a day’s work. Or doing the shopping or taking the wretched thing for an MOT.

No thanks. I’d rather live near a bus stop.






  • Coal-Filled Wellies says on: February 15, 2019 at 6:43 pm


    Speaking as a male without a driving licence, I must agree that cars are filthy, objects of vanity, and superfluous for urban dwellers. But I do find electric ones quite inspiring and may even be tempted to take my driving test – aged almost 60 – just to be able to drive one of those. Are they automatic, I hope?!

    • Ginny says on: February 17, 2019 at 3:57 pm


      That is what is known in diplomatic-speak as ‘a robust’ reply Wellies!

      I have no idea about automatic electric cars but would have thought surely? Huge numbers of people don’t know about clutches and gear boxes these days.

  • Mary says on: February 17, 2019 at 8:06 am


    A friend of mine drives a tiny G Wizz electric car around town, buzzing from place to place in the middle of london, for work. She can park it literally anywhere, free, and because it’s so tiny she can park it sideways.


    • Ginny says on: February 18, 2019 at 11:49 am


      Oh Wellies, I hope you have seen this comment by Mary! It sounds just the ticket. Why doesn’t everyone have one? Because, you would have to have TWO cars, one for town and one for elsewhere. I think I would be frightened of being run over, unnoticed, by a mega lorry. Vroom vroom!

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