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Petrol in My Blood

Updated on August 17, 2015
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An autobiography by Eric Jackson

Eric Jackson was born in a gypsy caravan in Yorkshire, England in 1924.

From these humble beginnings he embarked upon a career that took him all over the world. When in his late eighties, Eric wrote his autobiography outlining his adventures.

But don't think that this is just a book for petrolheads. Even if you don't know the difference between a manifold and a manicure, you'll still enjoy these adventures!

If you know your rallying history, the name Eric Jackson will be familiar to you. You'll remember those epic drives and the many rally successes.Let me tell you why he's familiar to me - he's my dad.

Petrol in My Blood

Petrol in My Blood
Petrol in My Blood | Source

As Chris Bentley so rightly says "A thriller masquerading as an autobiography."

The story behind Petrol in My Blood

Of course, as I've explained above, the story began in 1924 when my dad was born. Even that wasn't as straightforward as it seems because his mum was ... ahem ... married to someone else at the time and had run off with my granddad, a travelling man who made a living taking his 'dobbies' (fairground rides for children) around the country to fairs and festivals.

And there would have been no story if my dad hadn't started undertaking his weird and wonderful exploits all over the world. The first was his experiences in the war in Berlin (being shot at by Russian guards, anyone?) and the second being an adventure-packed trip to New York in the fifties that features mobsters and mayhem. And that's before the real adventures begin!

But the story started for me about ten years ago in a seafood restaurant during a family dinner. I asked my dad when he was going to write his autobiography. He waved the suggestion away really - at a mere eighty year of age he was far too busy to be bothered with writing a book! But the seed of the idea was planted.

A few years later I started to receive packages of his handwritten manuscript, chapter by chapter. It seems that I had been given the job as editor. This was rather a marathon undertaking because my dad had left school at the age of fourteen and never claimed to be any good at spelling and grammar. However, five years later - yes, five - the book was ready.I am SO VERY proud of my dad.

You will be killed in the Congo
You will be killed in the Congo | Source

In the beginning...

Eric began his career when he left school at the tender age of fourteen.

He found himself working in a small car repair business and learned about mechanics and the basics of the business world.

Twenty five years later, he was in Ethiopia, stranded, hungry and thirsty after surviving a bandit attack that had crippled his car and destroyed his water supply.

What had brought him to this part of the world? How did he survive? And what other adventures took place?

Gallery

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My dad was one of nineteen championship drivers who took part in this mayhem!

My family

In the background of this photograph, you'll see the car that was driven from London to Cape Town ... although there's a funny story in the book about how it came to be displayed. You can see a few of my dad's rallying trophies in the cabinet on the right. The car we are playing with? I've no idea. I just remember its British Racing Green colour. My little brother and sister and I were just having a lot of fun playing at being racing drivers!

I'd love to hear from you!

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    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @anonymous: Thank you so much! Either version is great :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 3 years ago

      There's so much to delight in with this book review. I think I might like the "posh" version!

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @ecogranny: Thank you so much for your lovely comments. My dad's life was truly fascinating and still is - bearing in mind that he will be ninety soon! As you say, I've only shared a little bit of his story here (I want people to buy his book!) but I can assure you that it's amazing. How lucky I am to have such a fantastic bloke as my dad!

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

      Oh my goodness, what fun stories you must have to tell. And some of those unpaved, alpine tracks they motored over. Breathtaking. I'm assuming a rally in this context is a race, yes? And your dad is famous for winning so many of them? Then there's your grandmother's and grandfather's story, which sounds just as exciting. I've never actually known anyone who ran off to join the circus, or carnival. It seems that showmanship is in your blood. Thank you for sharing your dad's book and a bit of his life story.

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @DeborahDian: That's lovely - thank you!

    • bead at home mom profile image

      Teri Hansen 3 years ago

      beautiful pictures and wonderful tribute to your Dad.

    • DeborahDian profile image

      Deborah Carr 3 years ago from Orange County, California

      I'm forwarding this to the autobiography contributor here on Squidoo!

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @sierradawn lm: Thank you so much. I'm very proud of him.

    • sierradawn lm profile image

      sierradawn lm 3 years ago

      Excellent review of your Dad's autobiography! Outstanding tribute lens to an amazing man! Well done!

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 3 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Linda BookLady: It's fabulous!

    • profile image

      ranchoigroup 3 years ago

      Nice lens!

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 3 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      I love the photo of you as a child. I like reading travel memoirs and definitely want to read this one!

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @lesliesinclair: Yes, he's amazing :)

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 4 years ago

      What a story and I enjoy the way you tell it. Your dad must be a fascinating character and his tales worth reading. Love reading adventures.

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Meganhere: Thanks!

    • Meganhere profile image

      Meganhere 4 years ago

      Interesting lens!

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @BritFlorida: Fixed!

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @nolinel lm: Thanks so much for the heads up!

    • nolinel lm profile image

      nolinel lm 4 years ago

      Hey, I tried the Buy Link, but it wasn't working. Maybe it is just temporary. I will return in a few days...

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @anonymous: Thank you - he's an awesome guy :)

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Very well done, you do captivate the read from the start. Awesome that you chose to write about your Dad. :)

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @JohnTannahill: Yep :) What's more, even though he's approaching ninety he's still absobloodylutely bonkers!

    • JohnTannahill profile image

      John Tannahill 4 years ago from Somewhere in England

      Now I get the reference you made to your motor sporting hero.

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @anonymous: Thank you Karin, I'm very proud of the old so-and-so!

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      WOW...Definitely worthy of recognition...so great that you created a page like this for him...nicely done as well.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      WOW...Definitely worthy of recognition...so great that you created a page like this for him...nicely done as well.

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Richard Binary: He really has - with all the adventures he's had, I'm lucky that I've had him all these years :)

    • Richard Binary profile image

      Richard Binary 4 years ago

      What an amazing life your Dad has had !

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @RinchenChodron: Thank you so much! He's coming up to his ninetieth year and he's still my hero.

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 4 years ago

      Very nice lens in honor of your dad!

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @supergras: Thank you so much!

    • supergras profile image

      supergras 4 years ago

      I love the old English racers. Great lens

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @GardenerDon: That;s right! My first car was an Anglia - so many years ago :P

    • GardenerDon profile image

      Gardener Don 5 years ago

      Loved the pics of the old English cars - think the one rallying was an Anglia?

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      My too

    • QuirkyGifts profile image

      QuirkyGifts 5 years ago

      I enjoyed my visit - thank you.

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @GabrielaFerrer: You'd love the book, Gabriela. I'm going to add a gallery to this lens today. I hope you'll stop by again soon to see it.

    • GabrielaFerrer profile image

      GabrielaFerrer 5 years ago

      I am a petrol hed myself, I love fast cars

    • BritFlorida profile image
      Author

      Jackie Jackson 5 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @kabbalah lm: Thanks so much for visiting my favorite lens!

    • kabbalah lm profile image

      kabbalah lm 5 years ago

      I'm a car and bike guy