It all began when my parents forgot to christen me. As I was the youngest of the family, they had naturally done it all before by the time I came along. While there are approximately 2000 photos of my siblings, there are, I think, three of me. One is out of focus. In the second, I am in the far distance and my father seems intent on getting a good shot of the garden bench. However, the third is brilliant. My mother beams at the camera with me in her arms; I smile back, looking like no trouble at all. If only they’d known.
So when the vicar came round, he no doubt eyed me quizzically (I do hope he was offered a small glass of sherry). He pointed out that, since my birth more than four years previously, I had not had any holy water splashed on my forehead. My mother was appalled at this oversight and a date was hastily arranged.
The day came and my father’s Very Posh Car refused to start. This was unheard of, as it was a Very Posh Car. In fact, we cannot remember it ever having failed to start before – or indeed since – this event.
All eyes were drawn inextricably to ‘the other vehicle’. Oh yes, 4x4.
I collected branches. On his return he lit an emergency flare he happened to have, and placed it under the little wigwam of wood I had created. We won that challenge.
There was reversing up slopes at speed – and then my favourite challenge. You drove into a gouged-out hole that had been filled with water. Your team-mate jumped on to the bonnet and fished around in the water for the winch. When he gave you the thumbs-up, you released it. He then jumped back on to land and attached the winch to another vehicle, and you winched yourself out of the water.
And that is when it truly happened for me. My dad’s Land Rover was all very well, but it had never been asked to do anything like this. So there I was, sitting in the Ninety in muddy water, engine still running. And I pressed a button and the vehicle was miraculously released. How can you not like a vehicle with that sort of capability?
Once back on dry land, the photographers waited for the ‘money shot’. I opened the door and water gushed out. That was it.
I belonged to Land Rover.