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pgkevet

Tales of PGK

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Since I'm not an arborist and I'm lurking picking up stuff form you guys I thought I might check a few stories your way.

 

If you like them I'll keep them coming. If you think they bore then tell me to stop.

 

Enjoy today's:

 

A time and place for sarcasm

 

Circa 1969. I'm training with the University rowing eight. The coach has decided that he'll split the crew into skulling boats and race us against each other. A nice bit of winter training..

 

OK I was an elite international oarsman but as a skuller a definate novice. Yeah, I had the power but skulling is all about technique too. We also didn't have enough good skulling boats for us all so raided the University boathouse for college skulls and I drew the short straw as a novice and was given an older style heavy boat whereas the best skuller in the crew got the ace racing shell.

 

We started up at Richmond lock with handicaps. My handicap was my lack of skulling skill. Whenever i looked around to check course then I wobbled..

 

They started me off first and the best skuller obviously last. We plugged away down river and finally getting to kew road bridge I'm doing OK..holding the other guys back but lose ground as we come up to the bridge and I have to keep checking my course. I get through the arch and the coach is getting on my case. He's in the motorboat screaming through the megaphone at me to keep ahead, fight off the lightweight boats...all the rabbit. And it's getting on my bits.

 

Next bridge is Kew railway. Wide spans and narrow pillars so I reckon I can negotiate by offsets from the shore and not bother looking around. I'm shoving the blades in and heaving and doing good..keeping the beggars in the racing shells behind and starting to feel good:

 

Kruump! Straight into the main pillar, knocked forward out of my seat, sit across the canvas bow and snap it off!

 

It doesn't float too well after that..

 

..I'm swimming with a chunk of boat under one arm in pretty cold water, coach has gone on to nag someone else and I'm kicking for the shore when some guy in a rubber dinghy powers up and asks if i need a hand.

 

"Nah, mate, I enjoy swimming in ice water for a laugh." I reply sarcastically.

 

"OK, then" He says and chugs away...

 

There's a wrong time for sarcasm.....

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And a second one I have handy.

 

I'll call this one 'Oops'

 

So it's 1970. The world rowing champs in St Catherine's Ontario.

(Someone remind me to tell the stories before this one).

 

Every team had been given an 'Uncle'. This was a local family who wanted to get involved and arrange entertainments and so forth. One day our 'Uncle' told us he'd arranged an evening at a local country club; BBQ, some drinks, that sort of thing.

 

The coach to take us there didn't show so we ended up going in two cars and promising to send someone back to get the leftovers.

'Just down the road' in Canada isn't quite as local as in the UK and sixty miles later we got to the club. Uncle got out, tossed me the keys and asked me to get the next batch.

 

So I'm driving across Canada in some huge chrome monster with a column change on the wrong side that i stir at now and again. It doesn't make a lot of difference; the 7 or 8 Litres under the hood keeps going whatever gear I find.

 

I've taken a turning off the freeway where I think I should and for the next twenty minutes I'm between fields of maize, it's getting dark and I've just got headlights and the moon. I start to get edgy. Canada is quite big and I'm in it somewhere... and the road has gone... and it's just dust track that I no longer recognise. I drive on. I drive faster..

 

After some time I see a light ahead and a long time later the light gets bigger and it's obvious there's a Gas Station coming up. Time to ask for directions. I swing into the Gas station and hit the brakes...

 

You've seen the movies? Wide American type cars drifting on a cross country chase? I went through the Gas station sideways..on the shop side of the pumps and out backwards - I swear 300 yds down the road! Collected the car and myself up, stirred the column change and shoved my foot down to go back..

 

Oh Yes! Those darned things have no traction on dirt. There was a cloud of dust behind from wheelspin as the behemoth shot forwards back to the Gas Station. I wrench the wheel to turn in and beggar me...it drifts again. This time i see an old guy sitting in a rocking chair by the shop bit as I sweep past pirouetting and go out backwards again. Heck, my face was going red..

 

I sorted myself out, find a different gear and trundled back and stopped by the shop. The old feller looks up, laconically "I was just wondering how many passes that was gonna take ya."

 

He sorts me out. I pick up the rest of the crew and we get back to the country club. It's late and black dark. I have some food and a couple of beers and carry a bottle with me while I take a stroll to get away from my mate's ribbing me.

 

A good walk later i find a bench under a tree and sit down and swig some beer. I'm watching the stars when i realise that there's a young woman sitting next to me. So I start getting a little friendly with a hand on her leg. I think it may be going OK so my hand starts to creep.

 

"Would you please take your hand off my body?" She says in a long slow drawl

 

Now we've all been shot down but that was first time it had been said quite like that.

 

"I'm sorry. I thought you might have been enjoying that." I answer politely

"I was but that's not really the point. I'm married." She answers.

"Well we don't have to tell him, do we?" I counter

Her answer was another very slow southern-type drawl "That could be difficult because he's sitting right next to me too...."

 

Oops...

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Clarence Clutterbuck

 

I'd change his name for this story but no-one ever believes he was called Clarence so there's not a lot of point.

 

Clarence and I shared a room in Bayswater around 1968. Clarence was a non-entity with big ambitions. He had started out in working life matching the left shoes from the left shoe factory with the right shoes from the right shoe factory. True. It was an anti-theft precaution and for Clarence that was a challenging occupation. It was also a lot safer than his short foray into welding which usually meant him coming home with another jumper turned to colander and assorted spark marks over most of his visible skin.

 

But i digress. Clarence, as I have noted, had high ambitions. His hobbies included drawing with a 4-colour biro and making up tattoo designs; although the short welding course had lead to him being branded like a paper doily. His other ambition was to be a biker. In that regard he felt he was a bit held back 'cos the only bike he had was a BSA 125 and that didn't quite cut the street cred at the 69 club so he used to have to park several streets away and walk the rest claiming his Norton 650 was in pieces being souped up.

 

He was also the only member of the 69 club without black leathers and biker boots and his plimsoles and second hand jeans jacket and slacks set him apart from the rest. But Clarence always had 'a plan'

 

'A Plan' In Clarence's mind was always a simple scheme to help him fit in. His last plan had been to make his Bantam look like a Norton and he'd just spent several days shredding newspaper and mixing buckets of 'Tapwata' to papier mache his bike into the shape of a Norton. Clarence, of course, was not put off by the practicalities of the exercise and one has to give him credit for determination. Even if the result looked like someone had just thrown a bucket of cold porridge at a Moped. Clarence voiced his conviction that a bit of paint and it'd look the business.

 

Clarence really felt his only outstanding issue was the lack of leathers and came up with his latest 'Plan'. Simple really..dye the jacket and slacks and plimsoles black to look like leathers.

 

He bought some dye.

 

Now Clarence wasn't too good at instructions - he was having trouble at work with 2 left shoes as it was. So he asked me to explain the dye process. I had to point out to him that he'd bought hot water dye and living in one room with a gas ring this wasn't really going to work. He ought to swap it for some cold water dye.

 

I was late home the next evening so I suppose it was all my fault. I came through the door getting on for midnight to find Clarence stirring his jeans and plimsoles in a bucket of dye on the gas ring. Now at first sight that doesn't sound quite so terrible but this was Clarence. Clarence was using a plastic bucket!

 

As I came through the door the inevitable was just starting to happen..the bucket was turning Salvador Dali and starting to slump down around the rim. I was too late. The rim sagged and the dye poured forth..black, thick and never-ending.

 

It left the bucket. It crossed the carpet. It seeped under the door and started it's way down the stairs..

 

'Leg it' Shouts Clarence, packing his few possessions and precious tattoo book and off down in the wake of the black torrent. I packed my stuff as fast as possible and hurried down too.

 

Outside it was a filthy night. Rain was lashing down, it was cold and dark and I was dragging my one trunk of stuff and wondering where to spend the night. Clarence was on his bike. It looked like he had finally had a go at painting it. Clarence must have used the paints he was used to at school. As the rain lashed down the paint was starting to run and rivers of Norton Colour scheme was puddling in the gutter.

 

The last I saw of Clarence Clutterbuck he was astride a soggy collapsing mass of wet painted papier mache turning into Bayswater Road.

 

I was alone.

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I've got loads of these silly stories but I don't want to waste anyone's time if they are inappropriate or you all find them tedious...let me know.

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Great stories :biggrin:. You tell a good tale and you write beutifully. Keep 'em coming Clarence, er, sorry, PGK... :lol:

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There's no need to be in chronological order. This one is from the around 1990.

 

We'll call it 'Say nothing.' Part 1

 

I had a PPL back then. Now that doesn't stand for personal protection leathers or the popular palestinian liberation front. It was a Private Pilot's Licence. And I wanted to 'do a decent trip'. And that isn't a euphamism from the 60's - it was a wish to do more than fly to le Touquet for lunch now and again.

 

A flying pal and I decided to fly to Norway. I took time off work and everything was planned and then he got called back to work. I was so disappointed that my wife offered to come along for company; much as she hated flying.

 

This part of the trip we were in Denmark. We'd just flown to Anholt for the day.

 

Anholt is a tiny island in the Kattegat that my pilot's guide told me the Dane's flew to for a days nudism on the beach. I figured that was something not to miss and, back then, the wife and I both had waistlines and decent chests.

 

I must have picked the wrong day or perhaps it was just that the Dane's knew that despite sunshine and springtime it was still blessed cold in the Kattegat and while that enhanced the wife's features it wasn't doing much for mine!

 

Some chilly sunbathing later and a long walk down the beach and time to go back. The small flying field had just a telephone and a number for Copenhagen Information but I figured it was just as easy to call from the air.

 

We took off and I filed a verbal flight plan with Copenhagen since we were flying over water. Our destination was Bilund - not that I knew anything about Bilund - it was just somewhere to go.

 

I signed off from Copenhagen as we reached land and called to a Military Zone for transit permission and when we cleared their airspace I signed off from them and called back to Copenhagen. No answer.

 

I tried on the second radio. No answer. I called back to the military zone we'd just left. No answer. I called them both again on both radios with, again, no answer.

 

There is a procedure for this and I had copious notes on my knee pad for eventualities. Next was a pan call. That's the emergency frequency but prefixed with a non emergency call. If you call 121.5 anywhere in the UK anytime you will get an instant answer and it's the same frequency internationally.

 

I called 121.5 on both radios and both nav sets since their frequency range goes far enough. No answer.

 

Now there's times when I'm not too quick witted but i figured I had a radio failure. So i squalked the radio failure digits on the radar ident and carried on to Bilund. I could see that was being picked up by assorted radars because it flashes as it's swept.

 

So no problem. I'd expected they'll deal with it as I'd been told. Make my approach, get visual signals or lights for instructions and no problems....

 

We get to Bilund. I'm circling over the field nice and high trying to find the control tower. Nothing obvious. No lights or flags. I watch the traffic pattern and it's coming in down wind. But little planes like mine have to land into wind. I waited for a couple of jumbos to land and taxi clear. By now they've had plenty of time to know what I'm doing so I fly in into-wind for a landing approach.

 

My wife screams. She also points at the oncoming jumbo and it looks like a good idea to nip back up while he's still a few miles away.

 

I look again for a control tower or lights. I see something that might be a control tower but its way away from the airfield. It's a high tower with a big round observation deck. I fly over there and circle this round tower several times waggling my wings. No response.

 

Actually I found out later there was a response. Several people on the Legoland tower fun ride wet themselves with fear at the lunatic flying a light airplane round and round it waggling his wings...

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