My father loved motor bikes and before I was born my parents would visit the Isle of Man for the T.T. Races. My grandfather had an engineering factory in Kingswood. He invented many things, one of which was a drain that enabled rain water to flow away more easily. As a young child, I loved to see our name GREGORY on every drain cover. My mother said that it slowed their progress as we walked along the pavements! His inventions were not as lucrative as the ones of the Douglas family who also had an engineering works in Kingswood.
In 1907 the first Douglas motor bike went on sale. My Dad was one of the first men to buy one. He had a wickerwork “side seat" on it. Taking my uncle for a ride to Weston they went over a humped-back bridge at which point his brother flew over a hedge and ended up in a field. He was bruised but not broken. Obviously there were no seat belts in those days! Douglas supplied around 70,000 motorcycles for military use. In the 1920’s came the first disc brakes. The firm were then awarded a Royal Warrant for supplying their product to the princes Albert and Henry.
My husband, Ron, enjoyed his motor bikes and I liked riding pillion. Ron said that I often urged him to go faster, but I don’t remember that! The week before our engagement party he was in Newport Hospital after being knocked off his bike by a car. I teased him that it only happened so that we couldn’t dance at our party - dancing not being his favourite thing!
Both my daughter and grandson have had motor bikes which worried me in today’s traffic conditions. My son never has - perhaps because he was knocked down by one whilst walking across a zebra crossing. C’est la vie!
To find out more about this subject, I’ve bought the book “The World of Motorcycling” which I will happily lend to you if you are interested. Apparently Daimler developed the first motor bike in1885 - a far cry from today's super bikes. In the south of France we lived in the place where they held Harley Davidson Conventions. Police motor cyclists use a variety of bikes including Harley Davidsons. Actually one of them gave me his key ring and told me to show it if I ever got stopped in France by the police!
Now from Harley to Les and from Davidson to Davison or to give him his full title Dr. Leslie Davison.
He uses his riding skills in working for the Community as he is involved with the Freewheelers Emergency Voluntary Charity - this being a courier medical service. Last year they made 3,648 deliveries riding more than 20,000 miles - the cost of £33,500 yearly is met by fund raising not by the NHS. Dolores Dale, known to many of you told me that her husband Brian was the first volunteer to do this in Bournemouth.
Les enjoys tennis and rambling and has grown to admire the countryside around Bristol even more than his native Yorkshire! He was an enthusiastic Scout leader here in Frenchay, was on the Church Council and finally became Church Warden. Then his construction background and expertise came in very useful. He was there during the making of our present Church Room, and also dealt with problems with the Spire. Les even involved some of his students from Bristol Polytechnic in re-analysing stresses as part of their course work. Well done, Les and thank you. I wish you and Kate future years equally full of exciting projects.
Now that summer salads are taking a back seat and winter warmers not yet needed - let’s talk “Autumn Dishes”. I will suggest a meal that is good for vegetarians and excellent as a side dish with meat or poultry.
In England we call this vegetable CHICORY - in France it is ENDIVE - in America it is called BELGIAN ENDIVE! There are many ways of cooking it but I only have room for one here.
Gently heat some butter and olive oil and brown the halved chicory on each side. Now sprinkle with your favourite herbs (the French use thyme) and add your choice of white wine. Choose one you will enjoy drinking with the dish, as you’ll have half a bottle left! Turn the heat down. Now add stock - I use a vegetable stock cube, but you could use chicken flavoured. Add sugar, salt and pepper checking the taste. Cover with a lid and leave for 15 minutes. Now remove the lid and leave for another 10 minutes. Add double cream.
I don’t give exact amounts because it depends on how many chicory bulbs you are cooking. You need to cover them with their sauce but not drown them! Now tip them into a serving dish and decorate with herbs. You could top with sliced hard boiled eggs. As a main dish allow 2 chicories each - as a side dish probably one each. Enjoy…
My thoughts for September. We are all either DRAINS or FOUNTAINS. Let’s aim to be the latter - I love fountains!!