Saturday visit to Waitrose

The pink shoes do not care how they travel , happy flying , sailing or even walking but they are are at their happiest when controlling the pedals of a motor car.

And there is one motor car they cannot wait to drive, my 1952 Citroen 11b, her name is Odette and this is her story.

July of 2109 saw me finally achieve an ambition of nearly 70 years and become and owner of a classic Citroen .

The story starts during the second world war  in French North Africa where my father where my father met and married my mother who worked with the British Army as an “ Interpreter”.

After the war they settled in Warwick, a bit of a shock for mother who had spent 21 years 0n the southern shores of The Mediterranean, I turned up in 1947.

As a family we spent a lot of time visiting relatives in France, especially with my Uncle Riquet who was the station Master of The Gare du L’Est in Paris and had a huge apartment in the 12th arrondissiment.

And it was there that I fell in love with the big black Citroen, I was too young to realise there were several models, my Uncle had one in which we used to regularly zoom around the streets of Paris .

Spick and Span

But they were everywhere , and I decided one day I would have one.

Over the years I owned many Citroens , though all modern ones, I persuaded my company to provide me with a 2CV Dolly as a company car in 1987, I still have it , and my current every day car is a C4 Cactus.

In the 1980s a local garage had a light 15 on its forecourt , the price was just £750 but it was at a time of my life that I would have struggled to find £7.50 never mind the full price .

I had a lot of advice from Chris Goffey , well known traction owner who drove the Mobile Library that visited my village fortnightly .

I joined the Traction Owners Club at the Classic Car Show a couple of years back and started looking in earnest at the adverts , I viewed one or two vehicles but there was something about them that didn’t give me confidence.

Grandson Hector complete with mini pink shoes

Then a friend spotted an advert for an auction ny South Western Vehicle  Auctions in Poole that they had a Paris Built 11b for Auction on July 26th last year, time and other commitments did not allow me to view. But Chris Holmes their Chief Executive and auctioneer gave me a very honest opinion and appraisal and I made the arrangements to bid by phone.

The big day arrived , and I will never forget it for a couple of reasons, on my drive was an Aston Martin which I had hired for my birthday week , sadly I had damaged the splitter on a piece of North Oxfordshire and the rental company were assessing the cost of repair. Meanwhile I am on the phone to Poole and despite having set a limit got carried away until the hammer fell and the car was mine.

Tears were pouring down my face , whether this was because I had achieved a lifetime ambition or I had just been told that the repairs to the Aston were going to cost me £3600 I am not certain.

The car was delivered to me a few days later , and was I lucky , absolutely immaculate inside and out and mechanically 100%. The previous owner having lavished much care and attention on it , it came with reams of paperwork and the history of the car right back to its Paris days where it was owned by a famous photographer, coincidentally what I do for a living.

Grandmother, daughter and grand daughter, my Citroen Family

I have bought the car to drive and so far having great fun in it , sadly my wife of 46 years died a week after it was delivered though she did at least have one trip out in it.

My mother also died last year at the age of 94, and it is thanks to her that I had the funds to reach my ambition and it seems only right that I name the car after her, somewhat poignantly I have christened her “Odette” , mothers codename in the resistance .

One thought on “ODETTE

  1. Fascinating story. I also have history with cars – on a less lavish scale – and one day will share how my Bristol burst into flames in Kensington High Street.


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