16/09/2021

Longlife and prosper

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Mr Spock’s ‘live long and prosper’ signing

I changed Saturday jobs to earn £1 10s (£1.50) per week selling batteries, tyres and accessories in the Longlife Battery Depot shop on Park Row in Bristol. This was a 50% pay-rise but unfortunately I probably spent most of it on parts and enhancements for my various vehicles. I loved my time there, particularly the tyre changing.

ASIDE: £1 10s doesn’t seem much but Jane and I were able to go out for a meal at the local Rocarno Restaurant. It cost around eight bob for our regular choice – Jane for salmon omelette and chips, me for mushroom omelette and chips with two frothy coffees.

Longlife held an annual national competition to find the employee who could change four tyres on a car and its spare, in the fastest time. We tried in the branch and managed it in around 15-20 minutes using a fixed wheel-stand that eased the removal and fitting of tyres.

Stand to speed-up
removing and fitting tyres

Today a customer would take that long to discover the key to the security hub-nut, and of course run-flats make the task much tougher. Back then we had our own challenges – inner tubes to take care of, inserting them into the tyre, locating and freeing the valves and inflating them without damage.

The downside of my job was replacing batteries. There was one Jaguar car with its battery up in the rear wheel arch and it was necessary to be double jointed to get it out and in. Back then materials were very different; fluids in batteries had to be topped up and invariably carrying them around you would get acid on your jeans.

Acid damage or fashion statement

We should have patented the outcome as jeans today often have the knees hanging out – what trend-setters we were!

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