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Hammertown

When Dad lived at home, all he did was watch sports on TV.

‘That man drives me mad’ my Mum used to say. Sunday’s were the worst she said, that was racing.  He said he followed one called Hammertown or something like that.

On a Sunday I couldn’t talk, not to him.

‘Shut up and help your Mother in the kitchen’ he barked at me.  I would go and sit in the kitchen, put my head in my hands and watch Mummy stir sauces and kneed the dough.

I sat on the stool at the edge of the kitchen and listened. I could hear the whizz of the cars, they seemed to speed up as they approached the camera, but I couldn’t see, I’d just listen.  Sometimes I’d hear a gasp or a loud tut, occasionally a cheer.

Sometimes Mum would let me lick a spoon when she was baking cakes.  Simon sat in his room, he said he didn’t like it when Daddy was shouting and he hated sisters, especially little ones, so he hid.

Now Daddy only sees us at weekends.  But he stopped watching the sport.  Sometimes we get to play sport, like catch in the park.  He plays music by the Beatles in the car.  I like to pretend that his car is bright yellow and we’re all in a big submarine.  Daddy used to complain about missing the races.  One day, when he was dropping us back home, he gave me a present.

‘For my little girl’ he said.

I was so excited, a toy car, not just any car, but a Yellow Submarine Bump Around.

‘Daddy, can you stay and play?’ I asked.

He looked towards the house as Mum was looking out the window.  He grunted something.

‘Next time’ and we were out of the comfort of his yellow sub, but now I had my own one!

The next week he didn’t want to play with my cars, I only had one car after all.  But at the end of the weekend he had got me another present.  A Paul McCartney Fish’d and Chip’d.  Outside the house, again I asked if he would come in to play.  But he didn’t.

I was so excited, I took the shiny, blue patterned car out of it’s box and ran upstairs.  Now I had two, they could race!  They whizzed and whirred and threw themselves off high shelves, landing on the bed or floor.

Next weekend Daddy said there was a special race on TV, it was at Silvertown.

‘Please Daddy, can we watch it?  I want my cars to join the race.’

This became a ritual.  At weekends we would watch the Gonepee and I would play with Submarine, Fish’d n Chip’d, Cockney Cab, Morris Mini and eventually Dad had bought me them all!

Fish’d n Chip’d whizzed around, Cockney Cab screeched at the corners, Yellow Sub went glug, glug, glug, Kool Kombi chugged.

Daddy asked me which one was Hammertown.

‘None’ I exclaimed. ‘But one day I want to be Susie Wolff.  She’s one of the first women to drive in the Gonepee you know and when I’m big, I want that to be me.’

Today when we got home, Mummy came out to see Daddy. She tapped me on the head, turned to Daddy and said ‘Thank you’.  She said she liked seeing me happy.

Daddy says he’ll take me go-karting next weekend.  I can’t wait.  I’ll make sure to take Bump Around, my Yellow Submarine and this time I’ll be driving Ringo’s Fast Felion!

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