A Life In Cars

The life story of Dickie Sutherland


Farewell Tour of UK

One last tour around the UK catching up with family and friends old and new'

Tuesday 15. 6. 1971:  Dyke

Dropped Marty off at Steven’s continued, south-coat town Worthing. Drove up to London, raining, and this is England.  Continued on to Dick and Rita’s in Aylesbury, where we were well received.  Talked all night to them, bed on a mattress, Blisss!

The Austin showing the riggers of Touring Europe

Thursday 17. 6. 1971: 

Late rising then to Reading tax office, the Mike Spence at Maidenhead to say hallows to Robin and the rest of the gang, next to after Astor Caffe.  After tea on to Henk and Rita’s.  With Henk and Rita, we looked through our slides and talked the night away.  They were concerned from our postcards we were spending too long in Spain not realizing we were not hitching hiking but traveling by car.

Dyke Rita Henk Richard

Friday 18. 6. 1971: 

Drove down to London again to pick up Marty, he was getting on so well that we left him for tomorrow, headed to the Breaker’s yard to pick up three tires.  Raining all day.  Traffic jammed up the highway so we were late getting “home” for tea.  Dick got us set up with his slide projector, then over to Jim’s where we showed our slides to Jim, while Jim entertained us with records on his new stereo, we enjoyed cake, and coffee for supper before we left.

Saturday 19. 6. 1971: 

After goodbyes to Dick and Rita who were off for a one-week holiday, we drove off to pick up Marty.  Drove up to Bradford to the Petty’s house, poor Keith.  Poor Keith he has settled back into a life in the midlands, he hinted he has a steady girlfriend and settling down, some would think him too keen and rushing in, we wish him luck as we leave, Lucky Bugger. 

On to Leeds then York saw a castle, and cathedral, the night was on us, dark now nearly started back for Doncaster, decided to pull off the highway for the night, and had not a bad night’s sleep. not that good either.

Sunday 20. 6. 1971: 

Drove into Doncaster, Mr, and Mrs. Wards were not in, so we looked up their daughter Jan.  They offered us coffee and talked of our travels then moved out of town to a Campsite for the night. 

Jan and family

Passing through Bridlington we remembered the two babes (names not recorded) we had met at a Spanish campsite; they had given us the invitation to call when we were back in the UK.  Called in and had a great reception, we drove to Rudston to meet the mum and dad and an Aussie boyfriend.  The boyfriend was running a Sky diving school in the local airfield, (Grindale or Eddsfield UK).  The girl was keen to be the youngest skydiver in the UK and was looking forward to jumping on her birthday.  After an evening of lite conversation and a few drinks, it was back to the farmhouse for a good night’s sleep, farmhouse, country house!  Quite some house, a large tow story British country farmhouse, too much for us colonials to take in.

Monday 21. 6. 1971: 

In the morning we were treated to a traditional British breakfast, Beacon and eggs!!  With our gratitude and goodbyes, we left for Edinburgh.   Drove through the moors and some other areas we had not seen the last time we were there.  Quiet, after some mucking around we had to find a campsite and eventually camped at the Lille Farm campsite.   Many farmers supplement their income by providing their fields as Camps sites, all very rural in what facilities were provided, we were hoping for a shower, but no shower tonight, bed after tea, still raining. Did I need to mention it is still raining, we are in England and it is summertime.

Tuesday 22. 6. 1971:  Dyke

After returning to cornflakes breakfast, we had a shower.  Then drove on to Kirkcaldy over the toll bridge then back again and so on 9/- cheap, get that photo “A”.  Continued on up the east coast to Dundee had the usual lunch then on to Aberdeen actually hadn’t rained today, yet!  Camped overlooking the city, cards, and tea, at 12 awakened by a bird asking for bread!

Dyke Letter Home


Hello everyone well our overseas trip is really ending quickly now.  Everything has gone really well it cost us each about £200 for the tour of the Continent that includes the cost of the car.  We paid £70 for the car and about the same again for insurance to cover everything over there.  Being an old model, we thought we were lucky to get around without any trouble but it is still going so we are touring the UK, 10,786 miles to date!  We are booked on the Fair sky leaving on 29th August from South Hampton and will take four weeks to get to Adelaide arriving on 29th September.  From here in Aberdeen, we are moving on to Thurso and some other places in Scotland then we will see most of Wales and by then the car will have run out of registration.  The last month we will spend with friends in the London area.  Yesterday was the longest day here and was supposed to be the middle of summer.  We are still wearing jumpers and it has rained every day since we got back to England.  What a summer!  I can’t wait to get home to some real sun.

Thanks for the three letters I had waiting for when I got to London.

Most of the slides I took in Europe have come out and we are taking more around England so we have plenty to show you.

Hope you are all well

The forest on the side of the road at Culloden, below the Culloden battlefield.

Thursday 1. 7.71: Dickie

Drove around to Cromarty and back with Uncle George.  After a walk around the town to stretch our legs and listen to the history of this area we drove back.  Uncle George offered me a paperback book, titled, Covenant with Death by John Harris, A story of “Men who marched from city streets to death on the Somme”.  Uncle George said it was his story, George’s part in Word War 1.  I was to take it home for the family as part of the Sutherland family story.  Yes, I have it on my bookshelf.

Later in the evening, Finlay bought out a bottle of Vodka for tasting and we spent an evening sipping Vodka in Scotland.

We three were bedded down in the Lounge room on cushions from Margret and Finlay’s caravan.  A comfortable night and after a few drinks a sound night’s sleep.

Margret, George, Caroline, Wille Invergordon

Uncle Gorge, Margret, Finlay, and Caroline farewelled us wishing us a safe return home.  We were once again blown away by the welcome and care we were given by the family. 

Heading north to Thurso calling on Great Uncle Donald and family. Lots of discussions of family and friends, travels and experiences had along the way. We even had a job offer of dismantling a beached, rocked, no run a ground or run a rock, Fishing boat.

Stranded near Thurso
Dickie, Dyke, Martin and cousin Ronald outside the town of Thurso Scotland

Friday 2nd

We drove on to Stirling via Lock Ness, no monster but plenty of cameras to take it’s photo, also pipers taking in the tourist on the roadside, stayed the night with Dickies Aunt Isabella

Great Anty Isobel and family

Saturday 3rd

After breakfast, we weeded the garden in front of the house and then watched John Newcomb win the third Wimbledon title, then out to the Wallace Monument and to the pub with Billy and their son.

Sunday 4th

Raining like hell, said goodbye to the family by 2 pm and drove on to Flimby where after Fish and Chips for tea.  We stayed with Dick and Francis, great night.

SUTHERLAND SHIRE, On the way toward England, we were welcomed we three
Photo of the couple in Vienna campsite, he is a retired Policeman, then working as security in a British aircraft factory.  Cheerio then on to Bradford

Monday 5th

Beautiful morning Dick took us for a guided tour of the lake district.  Beauty played golf, rowed boats on the lake, played footy and darts, too much.  Then out to pub and Chinees after tea.

The Lake District where the Wilson’s live (they were the family of 3 we met in Rotterdam, Kombi Camper)
Well we were between a Rock and the Lakes but time was ticking
Now to find the Austin

Marty picked up his gear from Keith Petty and with a change of plans now Keith was settled into Bradford Marty, Dickie, and yours truly heading for London via York.  Booked a campsite for the night near York.

Dyke Letter Home


Bristol Uncle Bert Aunt Ede

As you see, I am here in Bristol having a terrific time.  I arrived on Monday and stayed 3 nights at Uncle George’s who showed me a letter from your Dad.  I have been shown around quite a lot.  This morning Uncle Bert and I went down into Bristol and looked in some of the stores he showed me some of the places where bombs fell in the war and told me of one time when he and Aunt Ede were walking into the city and saw a bomb hit!!

Tuesday afternoon I went with Uncle George and Mrs. Guise out to Cheddar Gorge where the Cheddar cheese originated and where the best strawberries in Britain are grown.  There was quite a deep gully similar to the Gorge in the Adelaide Hills.

I met Uncle Bert and Aunt Ede’s daughter Janice and her husband Doug and had a good chat.  Uncle George’s son Lewis and his family are due back from holiday in France; I hope to meet them too.

There was also an interesting golf tournament played during the week played between Mr. George Smart (Great Britton) and Mr. Richard Russell (Australia) England won by two strokes even with a handicap of 55 years!!  He is fantastic for 81 years.

I shall be leaving here on Sunday and back to Aylesbury for the last fortnight and also a weekend in Lewes.

I hope everything is OK at home and that the TV will be warmed up as you can see North winning the Grand Final.

Uncle Bert and Aunt Edith send their love to you all Uncle Bert tells me to write properly even though I am left-handed.  But I will keep writing like this so you can understand it well until I write again back in London.

Love Richard

Dyke his Great Uncle George (lives in Bristol)
Great Uncle Bert, wife Ede Great uncle George Dyke
Uncle George’s Bristol house
Uncle George had COLOUR TV (first time we have seen such a thing WOW!

Martin had an address for the family of a Woomera friend, who lives in Cornwall.  On the drive down through Devon we encountered narrow roads with hedgerows on either side and no room to pass on these roads through Devon to Cornwall

Cornwall Road


Drove into Bristol and saw MHS Great Britain, first iron screw sail ship then drove through Devon to Cornwall and Mr. Mrs. Meathers, Karen, and Maureen, played canaster then slept in a caravan in the back yard.

Friday 16th

Played cards most of the day drove out to the stables and some villages in the afternoon.

Saturday 17th

Laid a path in the yard today, had a bath then out for a few pints with Mr. Mac at night.

Sunday 18th

Cards in the morning the out two hours, 8-mile horse ride “ginger” pretty good fun.  Cards at night met Jill.

Monday 19th

Drove down to Lands End and stopped at a beach near by back to St. Kew for tea.

Tuesday 20th

Played cards in the day then went to pictures, Paint your wagon in the evening.

Wednesday 21st

Drove to Worthing had tea in cafe then to Don and Brenda’ Barrett.

There we met a family, friends of Martin.

Martin, Karen, Mrs. MeCarth, Maureen, Dyke.
Mr. Mac at the Stables
Mr. Mack and Maureen
Martin and Dyke (mounted) are readying for a trek along the Cornish coast.
Beaches! those pebbled beaches of the Cornwall coast, no sand to annoy you!

Wednesday 21st

Drove to Worthing had tea in the cafe then to Don and Brenda Barrett.

Thursday 22nd.

Went to Portsmouth to see the Victory, then to a Roman Palace, which was well presented, no tea HA, HA.

Friday 23rd

Left Don and Breda’s drove up to London dropped Marty off then onto Dick and Rita’s

Local Motor Racing UK

Dick Woodman’s brother Martin was racing a Formula Vee, with support from their dad.  We camped at the local campsite tents primus stove typical boys’ weekend at the country motor racing track.  Great scene when we arrived all types of cars being raced sports cars, saloons, some driven, most trailers in.  The atmosphere in the pits was a buzz, with the excitement of the impending racing.  Practice on the first day, then down to Stapleton, Nags Head Pub for tea and a few pints.  Oh dear a few pints were the go; we were singing at the top of our voices by closing time much to the amusement of the locals.   Racing Sunday was fast and furious, Dick’s brother did well to finish intact, he managed a personal best, however, a win was his goal.

Dick and His brother sitting on Foula Vee race cars, Dick’s dad supporting the budding F1 driver

I had a great time, the car in the pits was mind-boggling, E-type Jags, Austin Healys, Morgans, TVRs and quite a few exotics, and many kit cars of all shapes and sizes.  For a local event, it was very well supported with a diverse range of privately entered cars.  A boy’s weekend of epic proportions, many thanks to Dick his brothers and his mates for inviting me.

Dyke takes to the street terrorizing the locals in his Easy Rider impression


Thursday 26. 8.71

In to London to finalize arrangements, Police!! On the way back to Aylesbury we were stopped by a police sergeant, asking about our “Tax disc”, (that car registration sticker).  It had expired a day or two back so we put it in the glove box, Dyke pulled it out to show him, and he asked if the car was registered, I informed him we were going back to Australia in a few days’ time, this was the last day we were using the car before selling it to the local Breakers yard.  Oh, dear!  Then, he spotted Rita sitting in the back seat.  Hello, what are you doing back there? (Rita worked as a cleaner in the sergeant police station), he then decided that all in all we should go directly home and not drive the car again, good afternoon.

Rita and Carrie on the way back from the London Zoo visit
Road to Southampton Triumphs leading the way
Carrie Rita and Dick waving us off (we were to see them again in Australia in a few years)
Martin’s cousins Brenda and son Steven see him off

Walking back to the ship I realized these next few weeks would be a carefree time, with that feeling of going home and all the love and security home represented yet because we are not there yet we were free, free of all responsibilities to able enjoy a carefree life.  Our accommodations all meals, entertainment of all types with great traveling companions, there would be nothing we needed to do.  The anticipation of going ‘home’ back with our families and friends, back in South Australia with all that is familiar, and with others who are looking out for us.                                                  In South Australia, I was born
                                                Heave away, haul away
                                                South Australia round Cape Horn
                                                We’re bound for South Australia

The Port of Cape Town is the port of the city of Cape Town, South Africa. It is situated in Table Bay.

Because of its position along one of the world’s busiest trade routes, it is one of the busiest ports in South Africa, handling the largest amount of fresh fruit and second only to Durban as a container port. The port also has significant repair and maintenance facilities that are used by several large fishing fleets and parts of the West African oil industry. With the many tourist attractions offered by Cape Town and its surrounding region, many cruise ships also berth in this port.

Richard’s exposure at Mike Spence’s to the manufacture of after-market boot lids for sports cars convinced Roger and Darryl with that experience in fibreglass Roger, Darryl, and Richard set out to make a boot lid for Darryl’s Torana, a great product, however, marketing fell short of sales expectations.

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