Cars in books, December 1986

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It is rather interesting how often cars are mentioned by make in non-motoring books these days. A case in point occurs in “The Enchanted Places” by Christopher Milne (Eyre Methuen,1974), in which the son of the celebrated author and creator of the “Winnie-the-Pooh” children’s books tells what it is like to be the real “Christopher Robin” of those stories and what actual places in the Ashdown Forest and the adjacent country were the origins of the places where the fictional inhabitants of these books lived. Even if you do not like the book you rnust surely concede that it is well written; I enjoyed it and was pleased to discover from it that the great writer A. A. Milne had, in 1925 or perhaps rather earlier, a Fiat, driven by a chauffeur called Burnside, who eventually taught Milne to drive. The Fiat was kept in London and driven down to the country house, Cotchford, in Ashdown Forest, and back to town after the family had been deposited there. Presumably it was the car in which Christopher Milne was driven to Guildford when he left home to go to Boxgrove School (before Stowe and Trinity College, Cambridge), because we are told that it was not until the family lived permanently at Cotchford that other cars were kept there (one of which had a dickey-seat). These are not named, but the Fiat was probably a Tipo 505, or perhaps even a six-cylinder Tipo 510, for a Tipo 501 seems somewhat small for a chauffeur-driver car. — W B