Ciao, Pig!

Photo©Harald Hansen Ours was beige (or pig pink) and the spare wheel was on the bonnet to stop the back door falling off.

This is a musical nostalgia trip for the dverse haibun prompt.


No radio in the only vehicle we ever had—no speakers had been invented that could compete with the rumble and roar of a thirty year-old Land Rover. Her name was Pig because, although the ad said beige, the children, country kids in those high and far-off days, said she was pig-pink colour. In our vintage 1973, Series III Station Wagon, we rocked and rolled along country roads, baby roped precariously onto the front ‘seat’, four children behind, strapped into the dubious safety of two seat belts, and I, no seat belt, hanging on with two hands, rode the bucking roads in the back. We sang instead the songs they taught them at school, strange songs about red deer and rabbits and hunters, Father Christmas, Bella Ciao and other partisan favourites. I hear those songs still, belted out against a background of rattling Pig engine and the protest of potholes. May Day jaunts through fallen northern blossom—a lifetime away.

Songs pour in the rain

brisk March winds blow lush May leaves—

flood of yesterdays.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

49 thoughts on “Ciao, Pig!”

  1. A day on the cusp of past and future. This is about the past and yet it holds what is to come. And those songs: well, they contain many worlds and times. (K)

    1. Seatbelts were obligatory, but if the car was so old there was nowhere to fit them, (as in the old Series III) it wasn’t an offence to drive without. Just dangerous!

    1. They were good time, Frank, and we went so slowly that even bouncing up and down, with one eye on the baby in the front (the door had been known to fly open all on its own) and the back door that also had a tendency to swing open, I got to see most of the passing countryside.

  2. I like what Kerfe said about this being on the cusp of past and future–and it made me think that way, as well. It made me realize that I don’t remember family car trips from when I was growing up, or what music was on the radio, for that matter. We did have seatbelts though because my mother’s mother died in a car accident when I was a toddler. My mom told me that she and her brother both then paid to have seatbelts put in their cars.
    Happy May Day!

    1. It was a strange mixture of past and future—vintage car and young children. The seatbelts were obviously compulsory in ‘normal’ cars but the Series III was too old to have them and there was nowhere in the back where they could be fitted. The children all sat on a single seat held down by two belts, all that could be fitted. We went extremely slowly and since Land Rovers were built like tanks, if there was an accident we would probably not be the ones injured.

  3. I like pigs as well. Reminds me of an old Hudson we had had when I was a kid. The doors were prone to open at any given time as well. We had a static-y radio that only played two stations. Beebop-a loola…..I lve those days of singing and shouting the school songs and such that I had learned and taught my family. And the other songs as well we sang as we bounced around the city streets and country lanes. Love the haiku.

  4. Love this, Jane! Nothing better than singing together – I’ve just got back from my weekly rock and soul choir rehearsal and recommend it to anyone! That is a stunning haiku, too!

    1. Getting into that Land Rover was always an adventure. Once, going round a hairpin bend, the front passenger door flew open and the baby in the baby seat lurched into the void. There isn’t a foolproof way of fitting baby seats in those things, they were never intended for babies. I kept an eagle eye on that door for ever afterwards.

  5. this was so unique, what a lovely presentation of a warm memory, songs need not have musical accompaniment, the voices are the melody, the beat of life the tempo, lovely Jane!

      1. It might sound very reactionary or retrograde, but I do think that children get a lot more out of just being with other children, siblings and friends, than they do out of playing alone with educational or worthy gadgets.

      2. but the thing is most families have shrunk these days and kids dont live close to cousins like we did growing up, instead are sent to playgroup to interact and lay with gadgets!

      3. They’re not all like that, of course, but I do think that spending too much time with adults who hang on their every word and keep telling them how wonderful and special they are, makes them bratty.

  6. The spare wheel was on the bonnet (that’s the front where the engine is right?), so the back door won’t fall off. – Makes perfect sense! Life in a nutshell. Loved it!

    1. You got it 🙂 The weight of a Land Rover spare wheel is enough to put a strain on even a Land Rover Door. And when your maximum speed, downhill with a tail wind never reaches 50 mph that wheel makes all the difference 🙂

    1. It was where to fit them that caused the problems. They were just never intended to have seat belts. Didn’t have individual seats either, just a single bench seat. Nobody died anyway.

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