Sunday, March 13, 2011

morris minor gray


Naming nail polish would be a delightful occupation. I've never actually met anyone with a career in polish, but I can imagine them, deep in thought, scribbling notes on dinner napkins, much like a poet. Mine would be a bit on the odd side, like "Burnt Toast" or "Old Penny".  I got a fun new nail color this week called "Gray by Gray". Now, if I was naming this color, it would be "Morris Minor Gray".

I can easily see myself buzzing around Central Ohio in a life-sized Morris Minor just like this one.  It's so very English, so very quirky, so perfectly me. The Morris Minor was a British economy car that debuted at the Earls Court Motor Show, London, on 20 September 1948. Designed under the leadership of Alec Issigonis, more than 1.3 million were manufactured between 1948 and 1971.

Years ago, I had a 1967 red VW bug convertible. Gosh, I adored that car. It was partially converted to an automatic. The floor clutch was removed, but I still had to use the gear shift; the best of both driving worlds. I wish I still had it. They say the Morris Minor is the Volkswagen Beetle of Britain.  Anybody have an old dusty one laying around in their garage they might want to give me?

Alan, is that you in the back?

77 comments:

  1. You really are a collector, aren't you? A keeper of lists and catelogues, bestiaries and brevaries ... this grey is such a living one ... vroom vroom -- and eccentric, peculiar. Willow Manor's look changes so frequently, making up its fashion as it goes. -Brendan

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  2. good luck finding one...and i think the color would be awfully hard to match as well

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  3. what a brilliant name for polish...your collector spirit is inspiring :)

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  4. We owned a Morris Minor, it was was of the best little cars to potter about the city and countryside in.
    Sadly we left it behind in England, there's been many a time I've longed for it's quirkiness.
    ~Jo

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  5. I spent the first 25 years of my life in England, and seeing a Morris Minor driving down the roads then was a common as seeing a starbucks today. Lovely memory Tess.

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  6. Tess, too much Testors model paint!

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  7. I haven't seen a Morris Minor on the road for years, in any colour. Any that still exist are true collectors' pieces, well-kept and polished to a fine shine.

    No dusty ones available, I'm afraid.

    They were sweet little cars, weren't they. Having made love on the back seat of a Morris Minor was an achievement like belonging to the Mile High Club. Sadly, I've never achieved either.

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  8. Love this post! The Morris Minor was (and remains) such a cool car! Yes, I can see you driving about in one - WITH the appropriate nail varnish! (And I rename my colours too....I changed one of the Orly "Russian Collection" shades to "Gulag" one Winter! My friends thought it was hilarious....and from then on, whenever I wore it they said, "Oh, you are wearing Gulag"!

    Love,

    ♥ Robinskaya ♥

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  9. If I did have one I'm sorry to say it would be staying here but I would let you drive it anytime you came to visit :)
    My first car was a VW Bug, it was yellow when I got it and blue when I sold it - which I wish I had never done.
    You would be a GREAT namer of nail polish!

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  10. Tess, only you would just happen to have mini Morris Minor to match your nail polish!

    I've never heard of this car, but I also owned a 1967 VW. Alas, mine was beige and not a convertable, but it did have a sunroof. I LOVED that car.

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  11. Good name!
    I used to love how my very tall, Great Aunt could fit comfortably in the Morris-
    It had great leg and head room! thanks.

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  12. '67 VW Squareback for me... take that to the drive-in!

    The Morris reminds me... I'm watching 'Kitchen Stories'. Love it. Although I'm thinking those cars are Volvos. Still... very cool.

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  13. the little quirky cars are so adorable. i don't drive but they call to me whenever i see one. steven

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  14. Best is an Austin America. trust me. Get one, spend ten grand on it, don't look back. Fastest tin-top Brit vacuum-cleaner in the business, and cute to boot. I had a neighbour who modified them, and camaros. He gave his girlfriend a bright bright yellow one with two carburettors - zwang-Voom! So pretty. A four-speed it was, and MUCH safer than a convertiBeetle (gotta watch the rear toe-in on old bugs - they can flip! - plus, the steering column is basically aimed at your heart, and very sharp, in those cars - still they rule, bugs are the best snow cars in the world.

    Naming nail polish is a perfectly likely career for a poet - I knew a girl (now woman) who was (and is) quite a painter and potter - Jamie Whittla - she got a job picking pictures for calendars, her first gig out of art school.

    nail polish? Sounds cool. Naming cars...there's a dream gig for me. There was an American poet who got paid to do that, a woman in the 50s-70s era...can't remember the name. Saw it on Silliman's one day.

    see you later -

    Peter

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  15. okay...my first car...imagine it with a raleigh steering wheel, soft top and soft grey fog lights. I actually gave up this car to marry Rudy!

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  16. A Brit, you lucky girl! I can't believe you actually owned one. I am green with car memory envy, my friend!

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  17. Peter, if you showed up with an Austin America, I certainly wouldn't turn you away. They ARE cute! I'd drive one in a heartbeat!

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  18. Love this car. I do think I would be quite dashing driving around Smalltownland in it.

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  19. Another car type I never knew. I learn so much here. I do like the color.

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  20. Love the nail polish and the car! I need to be a little more adventurous with my nail polish colors. I would need "sterling moss" to match my car. Maybe you could match the "Rover" : )

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  21. My need for a new car just got stronger. This time, I may buy it purely for its color.

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  22. Firstly, I'm amazed that anyone on your side of the pond would even have heard of the wonderful Morris Minor. We had the 'Mock Tudor' version, with half-timbering on the rear estate-extension (does that make sense?). A classic car. My first car was a beetle (323 ELP); I loved it too.

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  23. Lots of them found their way Down Under Tess, although they all seemed to be Black. They have become part of the Aussie vernacular & are known affectionately as Morrie Minors. We had a very eccentric neighbour who was a dead ringer for Olive Oyl, Popeye's main squeeze. Somehow she managed to fold her 6'2" tall very thin frame into her tiny Morrie & beetle around the place turning heads everywhere she went!

    Creative paint colour names are just not restricted to nail polish & lipstick. MOTH's old diving boat was painted bright yellow & he selected the colour from the Ship Chandler's marine paint chart. The colour was Yunder Chellow which suited the boat perfectly as he had his head over the side most of the time he sailed on her. He then went on to actually rename her Chunder Yellow!
    Millie x

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  24. I'd love one of those, too. I think you'd be a wonderful nail polish namer. I'm thinking of Really Redna St. Vincent Millay would be a good one.

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  25. Hi! Willow...
    Ah! vedy, vedy, British...Your nail polish and the miniature car called
    Morris Minor is very beautiful!
    I wish that my family had a car like the Morris Minor.
    [The picture with the occupants look like they are England too!]
    Thanks, for sharing!
    DeeDee ;-D

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  26. There were plenty of these on the road when I was a kid but not so many these days. It’s still not that unusual to see one puttering by. My dad’s first car was a Ford Consul. I don’t remember much about it other than the seats were very hard and the gear stick was attached to the steering column. You can get some quite attractive Consuls, colour-wise, but ours was as vanilla as they come.

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  27. Elizabeth, "Redna St. Vincent Millay"!! Oh, my, yes!! Perfect!! ((giggles))

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  28. Your name is so much more evocative. I have always adored Morris Minors. Must come from watching so many British movies. I love Beetles too and they still can be bought. I esp like the convertible. But i have never owned one.

    Mark Doty, now a well known poet, taught in my grad school program many years ago. When younger, I think I remember correctly, he wrote advertising jingles in NYcity. Another great job for a poet. Or maybe not.

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  29. Such a lovely post that took me right back. My dad had a morris minor and he loved that car. I've forwarded this to him as a link. Thanks for the memories, Tess!

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  30. That is a neat car. My dad used to have a similar car, way back when, and I used to cringe if people saw me in the back seat--I'd literally duck down I was so embarrassed for anyone to see me in it. NOW, of course, I'd love a car like that. I remember it with fondness--it rode so smoothly, I remember, and it was solid and quiet. Funny how we get wacky notions as kids, out of our own insecurities.

    It IS a perfect match for your nails!

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  31. I like your odd names, you would be perfect for the job.

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  32. I love your names,
    and the dinky car, and gray has been my colour these past couple of years, even my hair is joining in.
    Punch buggy no return.

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  33. In 1967 (year my daughter was born) I drove a red VW hardtop. I loved it too!

    Those fingernails look great in gray ... my hands are so lumpy and bumpy I don't dare draw attention to them.

    Maybe someone out there will hear your plea ...

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  34. Love the idea of being a namer of nail polish.

    That does look like Alan there in the backseat!

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  35. ps did you do the woodcut banner of yourself or is it a Photoshop filter? Either way I like it.

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  36. Sorry Willow! A Few Years Ago My Brother Had one ,& Was Even A Member Of The Morris Minor Owners Club & he went all over Britain to events they promoted.But,sadly, no longer.Great Little Motors Though.

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  37. Oh, Tony, that sounds like something I would love to do. What fun!

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  38. Thanks, Stevie. I wish I could say I did the woodcut, but I didn't. I am thinking about getting some linoleum and doing a cut print myself, though. I inspired myself. Heehee.

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  39. I've owned three 'Moggies', Tess. They were all a delight to drive. Our daughter's first car was also a restored Morris Minor, in almond green. She eventually sold it to an American couple, who were colleagues of mine at the University of Southampton.

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  40. love that Morris and the nail color. Our little Chevy HHR resembles that style, I named her the grey goose. Have had that same thought about polish colors, OPI must have such folks on payroll, their names are overboard. I just had a pedicure and went back to one of my favorite OPI toe reds, "I'm not Really a Waitress."

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  41. Yes, we called them Morries in Australia. I had one, and later a "Volkzie". Seems we have a terrible propensity in Australia, Oz, for shortening the names of everything!!

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  42. Yes, I had one in 1970. It was a 1956 black with red leather seats. Very posh! It had a split windscreen, like the one in your picture and little indicators that went in and out like arms. So cute. I cried when we sold it!

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  43. I drove an old volkwagen in high school. Great old car.

    Thanks for sharing this with us.

    http://timkeen40.wordpress.com

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  44. Every time I see an old VW bug, I sigh. I so want one. I would gladly bomb around town in a Morris Minor as well.
    Naming nail polish would delight me no end, but I'm afraid I would lean towards quirkiness as well. Orange polish would be "cheese omelette" I'm sure; I could just see myself naming a dark red "crime scene". I don't think Maybelline will be knocking on my door any time soon.
    =lennie=

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  45. In high school, one of my best friends had a "grey" (as we say, using the Queen's English) Morris Minor! We had so much fun in that car. If I recall correctly, there was a bit of a problem with the doors. They would indiscriminately fly open, particularly when rounding corners. There were also curious spaces between the floorboards where you could watch the road fly by...when you weren't hanging on for dear life to your door! Thanks for the memories.

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  46. Yes, you could see daylight through the floor of my VW. Occasionally, it was known to stall, so I made it a habit of never coming to a full stop until arriving at my destination. I learned to be a very creative driver!

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  47. Morrie Minors? Moggies? I LOVE it!!

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  48. WOW! I have NOT seen this color and I love it! I think you have found your new niche!

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  49. An interesting person you are, Tess!
    Me always wonder, "What's next?"

    Morris Minor, rode in it, never owned it. Loved to drive it, though. I had trouble getting in and out, all six feet of me.

    Now the VW, I owned, serviced, fixed, adjusted valves, kept it running for a long, long time! Now I love my scooter too much to switch!

    Wondering what the morrow will see in your blog space? Waiting.......

    PEACE!

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  50. "Morris Minor Gray" sounds really fun (and ready to roll!) if there were not the problem of probably having to pay major for using a copyrighted brand name!

    I like your suggestions! Sounds like so much fun going around with "Burnt Toast" painted on my fingers (just imagine people asking for the name of the color and me casually answering "Burnt Toast by Willow" - would love to see those faces!).

    A wonderful Sunday to you (you are not painting the town gray, are you?)! :-)

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  51. Mmmm....the Newbery estate doesn't even run to a garage.

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  52. Merisi, no need to paint my word gray this morning, it already is a very Morris Minor Gray day!

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  53. Ah, the Morris Minor. My England-obsessed sister Hermione was mad to have one as a girl. Never did, to the best of my knowledge. I learned to drive in a stick shift 1967 VW Beetle, with a clutch no less. It was a marvelous car. Air conditioning? Nope! Radio? Barely AM! I loved it! Ten years ago I splurged and bought myself a 1967 Mercedes 250SL in perfect, mint condition, and was astonished to realize that it wasn't all that much different in terms of "mod-cons" from my family's "Kid-Kar" VW Beetle. Reggie

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  54. well, I don't know about the color for me but I love the colors available to all now. There is an iridescent green, kind of an olive with gold tones. I saw it paired with a satin dress in the same color in a magazine ad @ Christmas and it was stunning.

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  55. That´s a great color! :-D

    I once had a nailpolish named "An Affair on the Red Square", loved that name!

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  56. Sadly, Tess, you're about 5 years too late: my partner Emma actually owned a grey Morris Minor for several years. We bought it from an elderly nun down in Kent and then had to drive it all around the M25 (the freeway that encircles London). Quite an experience: no power steering, a top speed of 65 mph, seats like deckchairs and a windscreen wiper that carved a tiny swathe through the torrential rain that accompanied from south to north. All we have as keepsake is a model identical to yours. Sorry about that...

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  57. Dick, you lucky duck! The quirks are what make it all the more adorable. Fun to know we have matching toy versions!

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  58. The Morris Minor Traveller was even better ... memorably described by Dame Edna Everage when she visited the UK many years ago: "Ooh, look, there's a half-timbered car!"

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  59. Once again, a brief visit to Willow Manor leaves me chilled, refreshed and ready for the horrible week ahead ...

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  60. Naming nail polish would be fun, I agree. The gray is beautiful.

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  61. Tess, I actually test drove a cream coloured Morris Minor when I first got my driver's license! I really wanted Lovejoy to take me to the Willow Manor Ball, but he said his Prussian Blue Morris named Miriam was still in the shop!
    Drats!
    Have you ever seen the wooden trimmed station wagon versions?
    I will try to find you a photo from the many British car shows we have cruised!
    PS I woke up for the movie, but fell asleep after the first 45 mins! Good Grief!

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  62. Tess -- I once had a tiny car -- a 1950ish Henry J convertible -- you might try and find one of those -- barbara

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  63. If you really want one, my son is a member of several British car Clubs, and I he could find you one in a heartbeat! He & the Colonel have just this night returned from the Amelia Island Concours de Elegance....(pardon my misspelled French)They never let up!

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  64. FireLight, I would love to have a cute Morris Minor to tool around town in, but what I really need is a replacement for my 96 Land Rover Discovery, in the forseeable future.

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  65. A guy in the next little town over has one... if it goes missing, I'll know it will be getting tons of love.

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  66. I remember my dad's old one. Broke his heart when she finally clapped out!

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  67. Gaston, thanks for the tip. Shh! Don't tell!

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  68. Love that car - reminds of the one a friend owned in high school - great memories of friends and craziness.

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  69. I love this! And I really like the nail polish color.

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  70. Our best friends used to have an Austin A35 which was almost identical to a Morris Minor and, I believe, they shared the same paint colours as well. In the 1970s we would cruise around Yorkshire in the little grey car that was always known as "Neddy"

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  71. Oh, here we go again Tess. Just after sending that last comment I noticed your final question for the first time. And yes, I used to sit in the back. Spoooooky

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  72. Ah Tess, naming nail polishes (and lipsticks) has been high on my list of most-wanted jobs since I was a teenager. Great to find a kindred spirit!

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  73. My husband and you have like minds! He would die for one of those! Me? I can't tell one care from another:)

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  74. Actually, Tess...my brother has TWO literally buried in his garage. Everything is stacked on top of them.

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  75. ......and that's the car we often went down to the river in. Visit my post today for river views in Devon.

    Hey, when home in May I'l see if I can find one in somebody's dusty garage ([pronounced "garridge" of course in England!).

    Happy days.

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Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)