27.07.2015 - 27.07.2015
Yes, I heard it! The breakfast waitress asked us if we would like a full English breakfast and when we said yes please she replied "luvvly jubbly". Great start to another good day at the rally - the visit to the Morgan factory on Friday 26 July.
The ride left at 9:15 so we went out to start our bikes about 8:30am. Jim and I both had trouble starting our bikes so Conor helped us out. When he got back onto the Harley he is riding he started the bike as you do with the modern variety and then did an "air" gear shift to put it into gear. After starting the Indians he subconsciously went to put his "Indian" into gear!
We got to the site about 9am with Frank, Eamon, Conor and Kay, who will now be affectionately known as "The FECKers". With bikes assembled we set out under inclement skies to the factory in Malvern taking about an hour to ride there. By the time we did arrive the skies had opened and it was clear to me that my waterproof pants were not waterproof and I had a wet tail. At least my mind was taken off that uncomfortable feeling as we had a guided tour around the production plant.
Best paid car manufacturing workers we were told but the expectations are high for the quality of work they have to produce. A waiting list to get a 5 year apprenticeship but a job for life after that. We saw how the wooden frame was made from English ash (originally Belgium ash was used but it had to much shrapnel in it from the two world wars to be of any use), how the aluminium body was hand formed onto the frame, the range of leather colours you could choose from (150) and the colour of the upholstery stitching you could choose. We saw the Aero and classic models being built and the three wheelers too. I spoke to one of the 5th year apprentices who agreed it was a "mad"place to work. This apprentice, when the factory closed early as it does at 1pm on Fridays, drove off in a late model E series Mercedes coupe. Best paid workers as I said.
Being lunch time and wanting a good pub lunch we set off to The Kingshead at Upton on the river Severn with Claudia and Matthias from Germany. Yet another wet ride back to The Premier Inn for a rest, shower and a minicab ride to dinner and entertainment at the rally site. Dinner was Shepherds Pie and some sort of pudding hiding under custard and then the band started. Lady and the Sax- female singer and male sax/ singer/ harmonica/ great dancer/ red 1950's suit. They were swingin' it so I thought it was time to dance and grabbed Jim to start the dancing. He baulked when he saw it was only us getting up but saw Bof out of the corner of his eye so ran around and pushed him onto the dance floor with me. That started the whole place dancing and it was only because we had a return taxi booked at 11:45pm that we stopped. Great night. Everyone had loads of fun!
Saturday's ride out was under sunny skies to Bourton on the water, 21 miles away in a south easterly direction. We were each given a map that used tulip symbols. The map is divided into squares of sequential directions using special symbols for road intersections and features and the idea is you read each square with the symbol as you travel along the road. We Australians are not used to this type of navigation and it looks like the other riders, even the organisers, were not either as every group got lost. We knew there was something awry when we passed the lavender farm once, then twice then the third time in the opposite direction...We were in a group of about 80 bikes and the other groups, a total of over 250 Indians at the rally, were having the same trouble. In fact Kay and Conor were given a different map and landed up at a steam machine museum!
GPS enabled we made our way to the lunch stop. Sunny weather and a home made ice cream in a waffle cone made amends for the morning's mess up. We rode back to the rally site along tiny stone fence lined lanes passing small villages, a massive manor house and rolling meadows. The Slaughters (Lower Slaughter and Upper Slaughter) were the most fascinating villages and so was Winchcombe where our riding skills were tested as we has to do a tight blind right hand turn from a tiny steep lane. But once past that it was a sensational end to another great day riding our Indians. As we were leaving for York Sunday morning we only stayed at the rally site for dinner and quick drink and then, as the rockabilly band was firing up, we said goodbyes to our friends till we see them in Germany next year.
Sunday morning RAIN! Oh well, we had 250 miles to cover on his M5, M6 and M62 across The Moors to York via Hebden Bridge - a place I could call my own, literally!
We loaded up the bikes with all our luggage for the first time, Jim placing bags on the bikes I ways that would not tip us over. Then the 6 of us, The FECKers, Jim and I set off about 9ish.
Riding at about 50 to 55mph we made good time and arrived, still in the rain, at Hebden Bridge, about 1ish and headed for a cosy place to eat. The White Lion, for traditional Sunday roast beef and Yorkshire pud and a drop of the local brew. I then walked the township, bought a tea towel and then we took some photos. On with the wet gear and off for the last 70 or so miles to Blossoms of York.
The location of the B&B in York is less then 5 minutes work from the old city walls and so as we were riding to the guest house we were able to put on a bit of a show for the tourists visiting York.
We parked the bikes with the assistance of one of the staff as the car park was full and we had to cram the five bikes to one space, unloaded and settled ourselves in to our rooms. BTW still raining...
Team meeting was convened in the bar about 7pm and consensus was reached to walk down the street to find a pub to eat at. Mission Possible! The Exhibition hotel provided good food, cold beer and conversation. The males in the team befriended a Swiss Canadian man and his wife and talked motorcycles etc. for a couple of hours.
Monday 27 July dawned and you guessed it... rain... but not to worry, on with the raincoat and off to visit the old city. A tour of York Minster for Kay and me to learn the difference between a church, a cathedral and a Minster, and a coffee and French pastry for the others. Claudia bought a gorgeous waxed cotton jacket and Jim and I bought a Cornish pasty for lunch.
We then walked (still raining) to the National Railway Museum for a short visit and then back to our digs as by now we were absolutely sick and tired of the rain...
Presently we are sitting in the bar having "pre's" - pre going out drinks. The destination is somewhere inside the old city that serves good food and ale.
We set off tomorrow for Edinburgh. Let's hope there is sun forecast.