Looking for the things in life that make us happy


on 17/07/2014

I would have been 18 years old when I decided that a motor scooter would be a much better way of getting to work riding my old bike to work, especially up Otway Street which had a rather long incline. I would still be out in the weather and Portland certainly know how to dish out wind and rain but at least it wasn’t as hard going as the bike.

You had to be 18 in Victoria in order obtain a Licence, so that’s how I remember my age. I asked my dad to lend me the 65 Pounds ($130) to buy the scooter but he said no as he thought it was too dangerous. However, I was determined and asked Doug then my fiancé to finance my purchase. The deal was that I repay Doug 5 Pounds ($10) a week which shouldn’t have taken long but of course something else always got in the way of the repayments. I was 20 when we married and I’m ashamed to say that I was about 5 Pounds short of the full payment and it’s still outstanding 50 years later!

My scooter was a Lambretta blue and white and how I loved it; it gave me more independence and apart from riding it to work I had fun at weekends with my friend Muriel who had a Puch (German I believe). Of course my scooter was more powerful than hers and on one occasion when we ventured out to Bridgewater Bay, she had to push her scooter up a couple of hills while mine sailed up with no hesitation. I would wait at the top of the hill until she arrived huffing and puffing. Needless to say it was a ‘once off’ adventure.

The scooter would run on the smell of an oily rag and so I very rarely had to buy petrol for it. Now and then though I would run out of petrol and the damn thing would just stop. Fortunately it had a reserve tank, so I would just turn the knob, start her up and go merrily on my way; forgetting that I needed to visit the petrol station. So, of course, after a day or so it would stop and there was no re-starting it. I would have to leave it on the side of the road and continue on my way, walking, either to work or home depending on the time of day it stopped. Luckily for me, Doug carried a can of petrol in his ute for the mower and would usually come across the Lambretta parked on the side of the road and come and fetch me together with his trusty can of petrol. It depended which side of the road it was on whether he would come to the surgery to pick me up or at home. No mobile phones in those days.

I very quickly learned to wear gloves as I was stung by a bee once on my hand and another time on my face; couldn’t do much about the face though as the helmets were open-faced back then. It was a bit hard at times with the strong winds which we often encountered in Portland and the driving rain was also difficult, especially as I wore glasses then. I tried to wear my hair in a French roll at the time and the helmet certainly wasn’t conducive to such a style. It was ok though when I sold the scooter and drove Doug’s Holden FX to work. He had a mowing job after work and at weekends and had bought an old blue Austin ute specifically for this second job.

When I went to Police Station to get my Driver’s Licence, the Policeman laughed when he realised that it was my scooter that was sometimes seen on the side of the road.


One response to “ME AND MY MOTOR SCOOTER

  1. Michelle says:

    Love reading your stories Aunty Margaret. I was just saying to Dad when he was up visiting me in Melbourne a few weeks ago that my love of writing must be the ‘Mcmillan’ part of me…xx

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