When I first moved to the countryside I was somewhat surprised at the friendly nature of the locals who would at the drop of a hat offer a cheery wave and a smile upon meeting, especially when walking down the street.
One could walk to the village shops and on the way be greeted with many a “hello,” and a “good morning,” which at first took me completely by surprise as I was thinking, “I don’t know this person from Adam.” Not wishing to appear like a cold fish I soon took up the habit of greeting passers-bye in similar cheery fashion.
Gone are the London ways of only acknowledging one’s most immediate neighbours and even then with a mumbled, “all right, Stan,” to which the mumbled retort being, “yeah, all right,” which with some of my neighbours was the height of conversation over a period of many years.
Times change and things change with them, some of which I like and some I abhor, actually now I think about it, most change I abhor, especially language and etiquette. Fashion I can put up with, as I don’t have to wear it. The current fashion for skinny jeans and bum freezer jackets is not a look I aspire to, especially as I can just remember it as a very young child being sported by the Teddy Boys, or New Edwardian’s as they were first called.
With regard to changing standards of etiquette I was made aware only today of the continued fall in standards when I ventured out in three of my classic cars and realised how things had changed since acquiring my first. Getting on for twenty years ago I acquired a 1935 Austin Seven which had a 747 cc engine and which could attain the heady top speed of 48 mph on level ground, although considerably slower when meeting an incline. It is safe to say, much as I loved her, she was indeed the bottom rung on the classic car ladder, but I went everywhere in her and was always greeted by smiles and waves from pedestrians and other motorists.
I first went out today in my 2003 MG TF, a two seater sports car which to me is still fairly modern even though it is actually now 15 years old and during the course of my drive had occasion to raise my hand in a cheery fashion to a fellow MG driver in his 1960’s Midget and another chap in a Triumph TR2, neither of whom acknowledged me.
My next car taken for a run was my 1977 MGB GT which I think it safe to say is a genuine classic, in which, once again my cheery waves were rebuffed by a further three drivers in various classic cars.
It was a lovely sunny day so undaunted I resorted to taking my 1947 Bentley for a run working on the principal that perhaps the previous cars had not sufficient prestige to warrant a response from the other drivers, but no, even in the Bentley I was ignored by an E type Jaguar, a Morgan, an MGB and a Morris Minor.
I’m not sure if this is a reflection on the driving abilities of the other drivers who just didn’t notice, or whether they did notice and were too lazy or bad mannered to respond, who knows?
It certainly was a good day for seeing quite a number of classic cars, but a nice sunny day always encourages people to take their cars out, it’s just a shame they have forgotten their manners, with regard to waving back!