From coaches to elbow grease and sky hooks!

I would like to tell you a few more stories of the early days of just before my time, my childhood and growing up within the family business.

My father’s long distance driving really started in the 1940-50’s with the coach business known as Dauntsey Vale Coaches, which was then run as part of Barnes & Sons started by my grandfather which preceded the G & K Barnes Ltd business, where they operated several coaches as shown below. This was before my time, so all I have are a few photos now, but it helps me appreciate that the care I show my clients has its roots in my father to whom I owe a lot.

Dauntsey Vale Coaches

Fast forwarding several years, G & K Barnes Ltd also provided an RAC Recovery service for drivers that had broken down and needed transport with their vehicle to anywhere in Britain. Mostly Dad provided the service and we would often receive a phone call any time day or night with my Mother packing Dad up with provisions for a long journey ahead.

This service was initially using the Austin Westminster (Westie) and trailer and then later with the Range Rover (Rangey) as shown below with Dad.

Austin Westminster
Range Rover recoveries

On a few of these journeys during the late 1960’s and early 70’s, I had the opportunity to go along with Dad provided I did what I was told and it did not interrupt with my schooling. This was really exciting to me as a child and bearing in mind there was no ‘Sat-Nav’ as we call it, so we had to use a map and compass. It was during these trips that I learnt through Dad, how to navigate using these tools. It is so much easier these days!

Amazingly, during the late 1970s, Dad was able to stay in contact with our base via the latest technology called a mobile cellphone, as example is shown below - it looked much like a brick, although this is a photo off google and not by Dad! The below photo and more details on mobile phone history are available through this external link


I mentioned during my last blog that I used to frequently wander down to the garage as it was next door but one, to our family home. One of the ways I helped, was to fetch parts and tools for the mechanics occasionally from the Parts Department. On a few of these occasions I can remember Ray in the Workshop telling me to ask Godfrey for a ‘sky hook’, and when I asked him, Godfrey responded with the reassuring ‘I think you’ve been had Master Barnes’. On another occasion, Ken in the Bodyshop told me to ask Godfrey for some ‘elbow grease’. You can guess what Godfrey said - I soon caught onto questioning more what I was being asked for - a good lesson for a 7 year old to learn!

I hope I am a bit wiser these days! Anyway that’s it for this week folks.