On my hike down memory lane, I stumbled across this gem……….

Laughing Gas!

My father was a battler. As a result, we were not the wealthiest family in town, which at that time was Livingstone,  in Zambia.

We were, however, a great survivalist family, with an acute sense of humour. In the most daunting of situations, we could see the crazy, and be able to laugh.

On one of these occasions, my dad’s old Austin was nearing the end of its days. Kind of seeing the ‘Angel peeping through the broken window pane’ situation.

It was not giving up without a fight though, no going quietly into the night for this grand old lady. She battled on, just like my dad. Sadly though, as with most old things, it was kind of running out of puff, and sometimes needed help.

It had developed a problem with the fuel feed and would just suddenly stop as if to say ‘Enough. Not going any further.’ And that would be it. Like some stubborn old woman, she would just sit there in a sulk, and not move.

This was when Dad would resort to the manual effort. Not his, ours.

Someone would have to get out and blow into the tank with enough gusto to force some petrol through the fuel line and into the carburettor.

On one such occasion, my sister and her friend were the chosen ones.

Remember what I said about our sense of humour? Well, Bobby and her friend, Annette, were tickled by having to virtually ‘blow’ the car up the hill, or to propel the vehicle upward by the power of puff… and seeing the comedy in the situation, started giggling, and couldn’t stop, eventually collapsing in hysterical heaps behind the car.

Infuriated by lack of progress, my dad stepped out of the stalled car, and yelled angrily,

“It runs on petrol, dammit! Not bloody laughing gas!”

Enough said.  No one was going anywhere after that. Just before my sister wet her pants though, someone saw we were in trouble and stopped to help, for which everyone was eternally grateful.

 I’m not sure what happened to old Auntie Austin after that, I think maybe she went to a beautiful ‘farm’ somewhere in car heaven, but she was sorely missed wherever she went, and no other car after her ever had the same personality.




3 thoughts on “LAUGHING GAS!

  1. You have a wonderful way of making moments and events come alive for your readers.


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