Kent Road Car


I’ve been in the box these past 40 years. Only came out with the Great Declutter. ‘Hey, Car!’ Curtis exclaimed. ‘I’d almost forgotten all about you.’ For one heady moment, he thought I might be worth something. But I go with the rest of the box and if that’s not in mint condition, I’m worthless. So I’ll end up in a charity shop. Oh, well. At least I get to drive round London again.

That’s me at the top, bowling along the Old Kent Road. Without a driver. Cool, eh? Some of you no doubt recognise me. The name’s Car. Monopoly Car. In later versions they gave me a driver – someone must have told them driverless cars were impossible. Hah! Just goes to show what a pioneer I was.

Those rainy Welsh Sunday afternoons. Not a lot to do but play Monopoly. Curtis always chose me. ‘This time we’re going to win, Car,’ he’d say. But we never did. Unlucky, I guess. And it happens right at the start. Land on the right spot, come into some cash, and you’re away. The Matthew effect. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer. But we never did land on the right spot. ‘It’s so unfair!’ I wailed, which just made everyone laugh. ‘Better get used to it,’ they said. The Old Kent Road was practically the only street Curtis ever bought. The cheapest on the board. £60. In the end he grew fond of it.

His sister always had Ship. ‘How can you sail round London in a ship?’ I said. ‘That’s just silly.’ But then I’d land on Mayfair, where she had a string of swanky hotels. ‘Ha, ha! Bankrupt!’ she shrieked. ‘Who’s the silly one now?’


Curtis was a terrible loser, according to her. He’d get in a temper, say it was a stupid game anyway, and tip the whole board off the table. Utter poppycock, of course. Curtis, a bad loser? Never! Though I have to say it’s so long ago now, and my carburetor’s not what it used to be.

Ship and I had our spats in the past, but we’ve made up now. The other day we even met up with Iron and Thimble in Piccadilly. Had a good natter about old times and how much London has changed. ‘So cosmopolitan,’ said Iron. ‘So vibrant! And the pavements freshly ironed!’

‘Not in the Old Kent Road,’ I said. ‘Compared to Mayfair it’s as down at heel as ever. I think he was perfectly tight.’

‘I’m sorry,’ said Thimble. ‘I’m losing the thread. Who was right?’

‘Curtis. Upsetting the whole board. I think we need to rip up the rule book. Start all over again.’

‘But if we change the rules, it wouldn’t be the same game any more,’ said Ship.

I gave them my most solemn stare. ‘Precisely.’