Carless Whispers – In which Keris takes on Mrs Thatcher, and thinks carlessness is genetic.

Just after David’s car packed up and we became carless (should that be “car-free”?), David read the following quote from former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher:

“A man who, beyond the age of 30, finds himself on a bus can count himself as a failure.”*

Well she was just a treat, wasn’t she?! But I somewhat take her point. I mean, we can’t exactly consider ourselves a great success, can we? It’s not as if we’ve chosen to give up our cars and use the bus, that would perhaps be admirable. No, we’re using the bus because, at the moment, we can’t afford a car. David’s just turned 40, I’m 40 next year and, yes, I’d kind of hoped that by this point we’d be in a better financial position. But it made me think…

A while ago, me and my sister were talking about how we never seem to have enough money and wondering if it’s as a result of how we grew up. Mum and dad were fine (not rich, but comfortable) until my dad was made redundant when I was in my early teens and from then on, it was a struggle. I actually don’t have any good money memories and I can’t help wondering (in a Carrie Bradshaw style…) if that’s why I struggle with money. They say you repeat childhood patterns, even the bad ones, don’t they.

It also got me thinking about cars. Growing up, Dad had a succession of cars, none of them particularly good. I remember a bright orange Nissan Sunny, a “champagne” Ford Escort, a yellow Vauxhall Viva. He never paid much for them and he drove them until they died, at which point he bought another cheap replacement. Up until now, David and I have done the same. In fact the last car we had – the Rover – was my dad’s final car. Dad has Parkinson’s and is no longer allowed to drive and so he gave the car to us. That’s how we ended up with two cars in the first place.

I know it sounds rather woo-woo and possibly utterly stupid, but I wonder if by scrapping my dad’s final car, we can also scrap the car-based pattern we’ve been copying.

I don’t care what Thatcher said, I’d consider that a success.

* Googling the quote, I found that Thatcher actually said ‘beyond the age of 26’. Now that’s a bit harsh, isn’t it?

Keris Stainton

Debut novel DELLA SAYS: OMG! out now
“Confidence-boosty sex-positive first love goodness. This could be the Forever of the 21st century, girls…” – Susie Day, author of Big Woo! and Girl Meets Cake



Author: Laura

A 70's child, I’ve been married for a Very Long Time, and appear to have made four children, and collected one large and useless dog along the way. I work, I have four children, I have a dog… ergo, I do not do dusting or ironing. I began LittleStuff back in (gulp) 2004. I like huge mugs of tea. And Coffee. And Cake. And a steaming cone of crispy fresh fluffy chips, smothered in salt and vinegar. #healthyeater When I grow up I am going to be quietly graceful, organised and wear lipstick every day. In the meantime I *may* have a slight butterfly-brain issue.

Share This Post On


  1. What’s the definition of success? « Keris Stainton - [...] the end of last year, I wrote on Carless Whispers about this Margaret Thatcher quote: “A man who, beyond…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *