The Battle - Jacobs car rally

Mum and Dad always taught their children never to waste time: Every Sunday there would be a cry, "The cars are ready". Up to eight small boys would run to get in a car. Mum drove hers, Dad his, with us packed in. They raced each other to church, overtaking, fast and safely, in the narrow Sussex lanes. We cheered them on: "Come on Mum, you can overtake  here!". We arrived, breathless with excitement, about a minute before the priest came out of the sacristy. The return journey was similar. Eight boys ran out of church, Mum and Dad leading the charge. It was very important to be first out of the car park because there were not many overtaking places. One Sunday Dad, who was the less ruthless of the pair, picked up a tardy boy and left the car park second. To be fair, Mum's car was not so powerful, so she needed every trick in the book. Driving like Stirling Moss, Dad caught up with Mum at the junction of Stream Lane, Riccars Lane and the A21. The photo shows the approach. Cars are whizzing by at high speed. The approach is very steep so hand brake skills are needed. You can barely see the cars coming in from each side, so you must get the front wheels just over the line and usually stop. Sly Dad had seen the opportunity. Mum was stopped for traffic and he drove up beside her at the line. There were shrieks of delight. A gap came, tyres squealed and Dad got away in front. From there, it was an easy run home with well known blocking techniques deployed.

Deadly junction: http://goo.gl/maps/vkJyC#
My mother did not meekly submit to this display of male prowess. The next week she and team were again first out of the car par. We came to the A21 line with Dad hot on our heels. Mum in the middle of the left of the road, front wheels on the line. As ever the traffic was heavy and Dad was incoming. Mum shouted, "Open the doors!" Four doors swung open to more shrieks. There was no way for another car to get safely to the line. They were blocked. Mum and her team were victorious. The roast beef and Yorkshire pud tasted better than ever that day. From that day on, childish overtaking at that junction was not fair play.*

Being the son of this crazy pair, I took the lesson to heart and thought. Surprise and cunning go a long way. When, at the age of 13, in my childish opinion, god seemed about as likely as Father Christmas, I played the anti-race. When the cry, "The cars are ready", came, I stayed on the sofa reading the Sunday Times. One of the drivers came back for me and said, "Are you coming?" I said, "No". There was no time, they gracefully accepted defeat. The race was on.

Comment
Laughed out loud reading this! Good tale and brought the memories flooding back. I scent a challenge, perhaps each of the brothers should try to come up with a similar tale of the lunacy involved in growing up in a family of 8 boys with such forgiving parents and the amazing freedom we enjoyed?
Posted by: Paul | July 23, 2014 at 08:06 AM

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