Recollections of Pat Moody
By Carl Keenan
I first met Pat at the age of 18 working as an apprentice at Jack Hinkins Garage in London Road. But she wouldn’t have taken any notice of me I was just the boy in overalls. It wasn’t until I’d left London Road and started my own garage in South Court which was directly behind where Pat lived that I was formerly introduced to her. That’s when I said to her that I used to work on your car about three years prior to that time. And that’s when we developed a working relationship. You could come out of her back gate and straight into my front door.
My first reaction to her at this time was that she was eccentric which is the best way that I can diplomatically put it. In a polite manner she seemed a bit barmy first of all. She knew exactly what she wanted when she was speaking to you. She was very eloquent, if you asked her a question she thought carefully, she would never give a snap answer there would be a pause and you would see her thinking. Then she would answer deliberately, there were never any grey areas with Pat, which was great I liked that and we got on really well.
The first time I did some work for her was the brakes we did a service on her car and we would always clean and grease everything and she would always ask did you grease the suspension etc. and there was so much oil and grease under that car even when it didn’t need it but she would always ask and we would always say yes even though it was somewhat a waste of money and time but she knew what she wanted and I made sure that everyone delivered what she asked for.
When she took the car out she would check it and one of the checks that she always did, and she had me in stitches whilst she was telling me because I thought she was joking was but she was serious and meant it. She took the car to Walmer castle paddock car park where it was a gravel surface and she would perform a handbrake turn where the rear wheels would be locked with handbrake alone. If she couldn’t do this the brakes weren’t good enough. And she was pleased to tell me that I’d passed because the brake worked. And I thought that she was having a laugh but no she said it was serious and that’s when she told me that she was in the school of advanced drivers.
She was always, compared to me, very small and relatively frail because she was a small slim woman and it always amazed me what she got up to. She would tell me about her exploits driving through London at break neck speed and all the things they had to do including getting from ‘a’ to ‘b’ in a given time. This was part of the test at the time. She had this Austin Healey frog eye sprite which in itself was a nice sporty car and one day she came to me and said she was thinking of buying another more practical car her idea was to keep the sprite for sunny days but have another car for taking friends out as the sprite is not very practical in this respect and she needed something a bit bigger. So I was thinking something like a small Renault 5 or Nissan micra. Then she saw the Toyota Celica 2 litre GT sports coupe. I pulled a face when she said she was interested and I said are you sure, that’s a very powerful car. But she said, “ you can get in it so there’s plenty of room”, and it was in her price bracket. So I put the trade plates on thinking I would drive her to Kingsdown and back which is my normal route. No, she wanted to drive and she wanted to go to St Margaret’s Bay, so I said OK we’ll go there then. It’s quite a narrow road with twists and turns but she hugged the bank all the way and I felt confident with her driving. When we got back to Deal she said she liked it and would have it.
Pat also had a motorbike and sidecar and because of her Advanced Driving School work she was always very particular about speed and cornering. So with the dog sat in the sidecar she would know that if the dog had to lean to one side or the other when going round corners or bends she would know that the speed was too high.
There were also trips to Brands Hatch when she was invited to a Track Day. The track would be open specially for Advanced Driving School members. She asked me to go with her for the day so I would drive us there , she would drive us round the track and I would then drive us home. We sat on the track side, Pat, me and my girlfriend, now my wife, and had a picnic, then Pat drove us round the track. We had to be belted up Pat in her leathers with leather helmet and me with a motorcycle crash helmet.........................