Thursday, June 14, 2012

Last Post.

 All we have left of our four London Taxi's.
Photos and this Number Plate from 'Tabitha' #4 hanging up on our family room wall with other signs  and posters collected from the U.K.

I have now finished this 'Europe by London Taxi' Blog, it follows our almost three years of travelling around the World in 1968, 1969 and 1970.   I included our travel after we sent our London Taxi home from London because it made the story whole, and because we visited countries which were under Communist Rule at the time and are now free.  I know we weren't doing those 7 months in 'Tabitha' Taxi but I thought that part of our trip needed to be included. 

I have really enjoyed writing up this Blog, it was such fun reliving and remembering details some of which were small, some large, some well remembered and some long forgotten.  I've relived the first three years of our marriage with great joy and expectation.

One of the things that I will be forever thankful for is the fact that both our families kept, then gave back to us, most of the postcards and letters that we had sent them.   These items were enormously valuable in not only remembering the small details but dating a lot of our trip.

Special thanks have to go to Google Maps who have been invaluable in the writing of this Blog, making it possible for me to map our trip, visit sites we'd already been to and check out the differences, many of which make me so glad we visited these places before they became so very popular.  Also special thanks to Wikipedia who made searching for details of things and places visited very easy.

Many thanks also to our parents especially our mothers,  Rosie Rodd who gave me back our correspondence many years ago and to Mary Griffiths who kept everything we ever sent her and we found on her passing.

Some Highlights.

Scary - Having great big old rifles pointed at us, once in Yugoslavia by a soldier and again in East Berlin by a young nervous guard and my being given the 'third degree' on re-entering the USA from Mexico.

Inspiring - Ancient sites in England and Europe, how did they build those magnificent structures? and  Roman Central Heating, how clever and sensible.

Delicious - Discovering that food cooked perfectly, isn't overcooked.  Europeans know how to make bread and know how to cook and flavour foods much better than the old Australian habit of overcooking everything just like they did in Mother England.

Exploring - Finding places, homes, castles, museums, art galleries and landmarks that I had only ever read about before.

Disappointments - Gretna Green, what a dump, nothing like I imagined after reading novels by the likes of Georgette Heyer...  and have you actually ever 'taken' the waters in Bath, that was a real shock, it's revolting but fun watching others coming along in anticipation.

Family - Meeting and finding some interesting distant relatives and their old homes.

Frustrating - The English inviting us to Tea... we still don't know if it's in the afternoon or the evening and after all these years we've come to the conclusion that it means two different times to different people and if invited to Tea... always ask what time :-)

Financially - Finding out how far we could make our meager monies last, I find it laughable now on reading back on how much it cost us to do this and that and how much it cost us to travel here and there.

Best Bit of the 1,000's of things, people we met and places we visited - Meeting and living nearby in Carmel, California... David's Uncle Keith and Aunt Virginia.  The more time passes the more I remember and love and appreciate those two, they were so generous and giving not only financially but with time and thought and introductions.  I like to think we have followed them in some way by always welcoming and helping young people travelling to Australia.

I have thoughts of other subjects to Blog about but I'll take a step back for a while and let the ideas come to me slowly.

Thank you for reading and following our trip, it's been fun to see how many people found me and which countries they come from.

cheers Pennie Griffiths.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

'Tabitha' Taxi in Australia - The Last Farewell - 10.7.1995.

 'Tabitha' wasn't getting out very much these days, she hardly came out of the Garage.

We had four children by now and seat belts were compulsory.  I had an 8 seater car, David had a van and we had an old Sydney Albion Double Decker Bus which had been fitted out as a caravan with 8 beds upstairs, kitchen down stairs with seating room around a table...  and a Loo under the stairs.

The Children were becoming beautiful young things in their 20's and didn't really want any more holidays in the Big Green Bus* with Mum and Dad, they themselves were heading overseas just as we did ... so the 'very hard' decision to sell 'Tabitha' was made...  David now had plenty of cash to totally renovate the Double Decker Bus back to it's original state.

This was a sad sad sad day...  we bought 'Tabitha' #4 in London on the 22.11.1969, David's 27th Birthday.  'Tabitha' was 11 years old and fresh out of 'Service'.   David and I took her on a 2 month Holiday in Europe, well it was hard work for her really but there was a lot less stopping and starting in heavy smelly London traffic.

'Tabitha' then enjoyed, (until she got to the Western Australian coastline anyway) a 6 week cruise to Sydney where she lived for most of her life, she enjoyed a very happy 26 years being beautifully looked after, she'd been restored, she'd been much admired with many people giving her a happy wave as she drove by, she'd been well loved by us all.

 'Tabitha' was 37 when she left us to travel to a private museum in Queensland where we hope she is being just  as loved as we'd loved her.  'Tabitha' will be 64 years old this year. (2012)

*  Holidays in a Double Decker Bus... now that's a good idea for another Blog  :-)

Today that same Albion Bus is still owned by us, along with a Leyland TD4, both are in excellent condition and living with a lot of their buddies at the Sydney Bus Museum in Leichardt, Sydney.

Actually the Museum owns an old Austin London Taxi similar to ours, it's a Petrol Cab, not a Diesel like 'Tabitha'.  I hope the Museum get her done up one day soon.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

'Tabitha' Taxi in Australia - With a Family Friend - 6.1.1991

Our friend Ginge bought along his Riley, which is a cousin of 'Tabitha's.  Ginge also bought along his beautiful children, Emily and Patrick.

Monday, June 11, 2012

'Tabitha Taxi' in Australia - Formals - 10.11.1989

Tabitha loved taking young people to their School Formals.  That's Tom, second from right, with his friends off to their Year 10 Formal.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Saturday, June 9, 2012

'Tabitha Taxi' in Australia - Film Work -

 'Tabitha' loved doing film work, here she is in the back streets of Woolloomoolo, Sydney, making a Children's TV Show... I can't remember ever seeing it and I can't remember what it was called... it was all about that old guy though.

I did this job, I did a few Weddings as well but these film jobs were the most boring of all... so much fluffing around and around to get just one glimpse of the taxi on film  :-)

Friday, June 8, 2012

'Tabitha' Taxi in Australia - 29.6.1986

'Tabitha' is a guest at the Big Green Bus's 40th Birthday Party.
 The 'Big Green Bus', a Sydney Albion Double Decker Bus, celebrating 40 years of age.

 Some of the guests at the Party.

 Even a London RT came to wish 'The Big Green Bus' Happy Birthday.

A very smart MG was one of the guests as well.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

'Tabitha' Taxi in Australia - Film Work - 10.11.1985

 This Film was made out past Windsor somewhere.  Mick Conway was in it but we can't remember what it was called.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

'Tabitha' Taxi in Australia - Festival of Sydney - February 1983.

 That's a young Briony and an even younger Gwilym in front of Tabitha, fascinated by the big chicken.

Tomos and Nerys were even IN the Parade... for Grace Brothers??  I guess David was paid for the use of the London Taxi.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tabitha in Australia - Christmas - 1972.

This is our Christmas Photo for 1972.

By now, we'd toured a little on weekends, to Canberra mainly to visit family and friends, and we'd bought a home and our first born is enjoying life in a London Taxi.   Although by now I think I had a Ford Falcon Station Wagon because 'Tabitha' had let me down terribly by failing her brakes going down a very steep hill at Brookvale... I went straight through red traffic lights at the bottom of the hill with my feet standing on the brake and pulling the hand brake full on.    Tabitha wasn't going fast, I had managed to slow her but not stop!

Boy oh Boy!   Nerys and I were lucky, if I were to sail through those same traffic lights today I would make a dreadful mess of not only myself but many others.  There is a lot more traffic around now than back then. 

I can still see the faces on the road workers nearby...  A London Taxi going through red lights with a woman driving and a baby in a bassinet inside!  LOL  They did come over to offer help.

Monday, June 4, 2012

'Tabitha Taxi' in Australia - Back to Work - 1971

'Tabitha' started her working life in Australia by doing Weddings.  This is the Wedding of my oldest friend Sue aka 'Smurray'.

 A Jewish Wedding in the Eastern Suburbs.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

'Tabitha Taxi' - Reunited - 13.11.1070.

How exciting is this, at last we are reunited with 'Tabitha' after her six week trip to Sydney and our seven months trip through the USSR and the USA back home to Sydney.  What a lot of kerfuffle 'Social Briefs' was, maybe it still is, I've never looked.

 Gollygosh... look at that number plate!!  Where did that come from?  I guess it was 'Tabitha's' first registration and this was the number she received!   Neither of us remember it and David can remember every single number plate he's ever owned.   It wasn't long before we changed those plates to FX 137, more fitting for an Austin FX 3.  I don't think we were allowed to have just that number.
We get straight off the ship, head to Newport Beach, pick up 'Tabitha' then around to Crescent Road for a good wash and scrub down.

 Tim with his broken arm, David and his sister Julia... who is that at the back of the Cab I wonder?

I don't know who that is at the back either?  Friends of Tim's maybe.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Australia - Sydney Harbour - 13.11.1970

  The Pilot boat greats the 'Himalaya' just outside Sydney Harbour Heads.

 After two of the longest days we've ever spent we can see HOME!   It's a two day sail from Auckland, I've done that sail twice in my life and believe me they are the longest two days ever!  The ship is finishing it's trip, (a six week trip from England) there is little or no entertainment going on, people are packing up their goods and chattels and everyone is anticipating seeing family and friends once again.

 These have to be the most beautiful Heads in the Whole Wide World!   Lisbon Harbour is pretty but their Heads aren't much, same with Vancouver and San Francisco... Sydney has the most beautiful entrance to the most beautiful Harbour in the World! 

A Hydrofoil taking people to work in the big City from Manly.

 There's Mum and brother Nick, waiting at the Overseas Terminal in Circular Quay.


 A photo sent to me by Crystal, my new friends in Reading, UK :-)  Isn't she just beautiful!  This photo was found in a book about P&O Liners.  The S.S.Himalaya was retired in 1974, only four years after we sailed home on her.

Friday, June 1, 2012

'S.S.Himalaya' - Engine Room - November 1970

Turbine control panel.

Boiler firebox.

The front of a propeller shaft.

Stabiliser Installation.


This photo gave me a bit of a shock... This is the Butchers Shop!  It looks like one of the engine rooms but I guess this is where the Butchers Shop has to be, down below near the Engines!