Motoring: My Worst Car

'Archers' Actress Carole Boyd's Chevrolet Nova

I'VE ALWAYS been a townie, so I never really needed to learn to drive. As a result I've been a rather bewildered passenger on occasions. Funnily enough, my worst experiences have been in America in a 1978 Chevrolet Nova. The first experience was in the early 80s when touring with Alan Ayckbourn's Scarborough Company with a production of Way Upstream.

I was appearing at the Alley Theatre in Houston, Texas, and when another actor and the theatre manager suggested "Hey, let's drive to New Orleans this weekend", it seemed a great idea.

So we all piled into this Chevy for an eight-hour drive, but it took rather longer due to the fact that the stage manager would stop at every service station, disappear and then return saying: "Hey that was wonderful."

Eventually he emerged from the toilet of one gas station with a bag full of white powder and a small spoon. I caught on as to what was going on, but the actor sitting in the back was even faster and he wanted some of that powder too. Soon they were both high as kites and the remarkable thing was that neither of them offered me any of these suspicious substances. Even so I would not have known what to do with it anyway. The funny thing was that they were still able to drive and the conversations became increasingly bizarre. They asked what the worst thing I had ever done. I replied that aged seven I'd pushed a friend off a wall. The stoned actor had actually burned down a house. Despite this, we had a great time in New Orleans.

My next weird journey was also in the States, in a Chevy with an actor taking me to LA to meet his family. The first odd thing was that he only drove as far as a gallon of petrol would take us. That was all he could afford. The worst thing was that he would have intense conversations with me, maintain eye contact and not look at the road ahead. He came to England a few years later and did exactly the same thing.

I don't drive but I do own a car; it's not a Chevrolet Nova, but something quintessentially British - a 1956 Morris Minor Tourer called Marilyn.

Carole Boyd plays Lynda Snell in 'The Archers'. Her new book, 'Lynda Snell's Heritage of Ambridge', is available on audio for the BBC Radio Collection

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