Me Laid Bare
Anorak's Anyone!


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My name is Mike Hutchinson and I am, or am fast becoming, a Viva HB anorak. I'm fifty years old and should really know better by now. I spend the majority of my life now locked in a garage with two Viva GT's. I have owned one since 1978 and the other I bought this year, (2007), as a Valentine's present for my wife. It's a wreck and will take years of work, so you can imagine how pleased the wife was.

My garage is my world away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and gets me away from reality. I work on my cars with the radio blaring out with the football or better still Magic FM. I sing along to my hearts content, safe in the knowledge that nobody can see me making a prat of myself. In the garage I move back in time to a world where ordinary people could work on cars without the use of a laptop, or a degree in electrical engineering. A world where tangerines were only available at Christmas and 'McDonald' only had a farm and not a chain of burger franchises. A world in which if you were 'cool', you were feeling a bit chilly and if you were 'gay', you were feeling happy. A world in which your house could be left unlocked and so could the public loos. A world in which there were no mobile phones. What a joy that was! Press button 'B' for your money back. (The younger generation reading this won't know what the hell I'm talking about with that one). In those days you could go into a phone box without having to hold your breath or the door open. (Yes they had doors on phone boxes then). The summers were always warm, we always had snow in the winter and unless you were really posh, there was no central heating. (Or come to that a carpet that completely covered the floor. Do you remember that, there was always that two foot gap around the edge of the room that you jumped across if you didn't have your slippers on)? This is really taking me back now I've started writing this. I can remember having a bath, in front of our open fire, in a tin bath. (Not something you'd pay to watch and I was very young). Now remember I'm only fifty so not ancient, we're not talking about the 1800's here, just early 1960's. Mum use to use the tin bath for the laundry as well, she had a mangle in the garden you see. (Mangle!........ask you're parents). We also use to cook our toast on the open fire and it tasted so much better. (Not while I was in the bath you understand).

Just stop for a minute and think about milk, you know you want to. Nowadays you can't get full cream milk in many cafes or restaurants anymore, it's all semi-skimmed or worse still, skimmed. In the good old days Dad use to let us have a bottle of 'gold top' for a treat and we'd fight over who would have the cream. This change is because we now live in a nanny state and the 'political correctness' and 'health and safety' brigade have all gone stark raving mad. Kids can't play in case they hurt themselves, teenagers can't be controlled because 'they know their rights' and adults need someone to blame and sue, if they have an accident. It's always got to be someone else's fault. The world's gone mad, we were better off in the sixties. Take responsibility for yourself, respect other people and their property and treat others as you want to be treated yourself.

Right....that's put the world to 'rights'.

Back to the real world......I'm a perfect specimen of manhood, with all my bits in the right places, all be it most of them don't work that well now, (some say they never did). I'm a skinny six foot two, with all my own teeth and hair. I'm of reasonably sound mind, (it does tend to wander a lot nowadays though, as my ramblings above prove) and I have a variety of interests. I enjoy old cars, (obviously); history, (particularly local history); music, (but not the rubbish they call music today) and reading. I only started reading seriously about ten years ago to my eternal shame. I hated reading as a kid and again to my eternal shame never read a complete book while at school. Can you believe that....I got through school without reading a book from front to back? How could that happen? (I exclude the Janet and John books here as even I managed them). I don't know why but I suddenly had this urge, (it doesn't happen often, ask the wife), to learn things and fell in love with reading. How I wish I had found this thirst for knowledge when I was younger, all those wasted years. I also love football, (I should do, I'm an Arsenal season ticket holder), but I have noticed recently that it doesn't mean as much as it use to. Is it my age? Is it the cost of following a team today? Is it the silly wages paid to the over hyped, mainly average footballers that we produce today? I don't know, but my belief in football is on the wane. I've been going to Arsenal regularly now for the past twenty plus years so maybe the fires just died. My memory defiantly is getting worse. My wife, (I can't remember her name); call's me goldfish, as three minutes is about the most my memory will be any good for. (At least I think that's the three minutes she was talking about?) When I say it's getting worse, I mean with regard to recent things. I can remember the good old days, no problem, but I can't remember why I've gone upstairs or where I put the 1/2" spanner I had in my hand two minutes ago.

I am married with three children one of each. No only joking I have two girls and a boy, but none share my passion for the Viva.

David, my son, uses me as his personal mechanic but has no real interest in cars at all. When buying a car he looks first at the wheels, then the CD player and speakers. He's twenty one and has moved in with his girlfriend, Hannah, so we no longer hear his drunken attempts at going to bed quietly at three o'clock in the morning. The best of luck Hannah, you'll need it. I never did that sort of thing when I was young; I was a sober upstanding member of the community. I took him to Billing with me this year, to the huge Vauxhall get together and he is coming round to the ways of the Viva. We also went to Santa Pod and that really caught his interest, so you never know, in a few years time we may hear the sound of tiny baby Viva wheels in the garage.

Vikki is nineteen and has also moved out. (The place is so quite now). I'm not sure what she wants to do with her lVikki, Alex and David 2006ife and she seems in no great hurry to find out either. Think of a skinny Matt Lucas impression of 'yeah-but' and you have Vikki to a tee. The mannerisms/vocabulary are the spitting image. He could have model Vicky Pollard on our Vik. The teenage years seem to be dragging for Vik. The sooner they end, the better for all of us. I can just remember being a teenager and all it involves. You think you know everything, that the whole world is against you, nobody else could ever understand what you're going through and everyone else is an idiot. I really don't know what to do or how to help Vik, but I sure hope she finds herself and what she wants from life soon. All I can do now, is hang on for the ride and hope it all turns out for the best in the end.

Alex is nine going on nineteen and she basically runs the house. We work around her. God knows what she will be like in five/six year's time but I hope I've gone 'do-lally' by then. Now Alex will help me with the cars, even if I don't want her to. She is a non-stop bundle of energy and questions. When she starts talking to you it's like being interrogate by DI Hunt from 'Life on Mars', only without the swear words. (Give it five years and they'll come). Its quick fire and rapid and the subject matter can change in the same sentence, so you have to be alert. I now use the technique of saying 'yes' a lot and hope I get them in the right place. At the moment her Dad knows everything and can be relied upon to know how the world works, why god lives in heaven and why goldfish don't drown. Give it three years and he will know nothing at all and will have become an idiot.

Joanne.....what can I say about Joanne. She means the world to me, (nearly as much as my Viva's and only just behind Arsenal. Only joking), and I wouldn't be the person I am today without her. She supports me in everything I do and has let me re-build my beloved DHR without worrying about the cost. She is 8 years younger than me, but I won't reveal her age as that wouldn't be right. (Work it out!). She 'loves' ironing, cooking and washing-up. No wait a minute.....that should be she 'hates' ironing, cooking and washing-up and loves chocolate, eating and sleeping. Her cooking is famous. I used to get home from work and the kids would say, "we had flames out the back of the cooker again today Dad", or, "she blew up some boiled eggs today Dad". Our smoke alarms are the most used in Hertfordshire and the local fire brigade use our kitchen as a test for new recruits. I tend to do all the cooking in our house. What I don't do is load the dishwasher. That really is Joanne's territory. She hates it if I try. Since we've been married I've also never ironed a shirt, or done much shopping, or done much clearing up come to that. (I think the cleaning fairies visit us in the night). It seems to work well for us and that's what matters. She is loving, caring and such a nice person and I wouldn't want to share my life with anyone else. (Now I've buttered her up, I'll ask if I can buy some more spares). She loves the soaps and we all know not to talk to her during an episode of 'Corrie', or 'Eastenders', or 'Casualty'. She also reads the daily papers but spends so long doing it she is always weeks behind with the news. I can't seem to get her to want a Viva. I've offered to get her a nice little HA but to no avail and she's not even interested in driving a GT. Still we are very happy together and as long as she's still around when I go senile, to feed me, dress me and wipe my bum, that'll be great. (Take away's only though please darling).

And that's about it. Pretty boring life really but it suits me.

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