My new girlfriend was as much fun as expected, and so we saw each other on a regular basis.
She was going to a College, which was very close to where I lived, so would often drop by after she had finished her day there. I would then take her home on my motorcycle.
She had ridden on the back of motorcycles before, and was therefore very comfortable with riding on the Norton. The photo below shows her on the Honda which was sold shortly after as I had no use for two motorcycles!
My parents’ house was about a 3 hour cross-country drive away, and they were very close to Clacton (on the coast), so on one occasion I took my new girlfriend to meet Mum and Dad. She was an immediate hit with Dad, and Mum liked everybody who was polite and respectful so no expected problems there! On one ride into Clacton, the following photo was taken.
At about this time, Peter and I and two other ex-King’s School guys decided that it would be fun to drive to Rome for a holiday! There was no real thought behind the idea other than Pete had a car. We could pool our resources to pay for fuel, and each take some French francs and Italian lira with us. Pete bought some petrol coupons which gave us discounted fuel in Italy, so we decided to all try and make a couple of weeks available in a few weeks’ time and go! We had access to a 4-man tent so accommodation was not going to be a problem! What could possibly go wrong?
In July of 1967, the four of us departed on our impromptu adventure! As Pete was the only driver, he had to first navigate us to Dover and onto the ferry. He did that surprisingly well, but leaving the ferry in Calais and adjusting to driving on the other side of the road gave us a few moments of concern! He eventually got things sorted out and after a couple of hours of driving in France, decided that it was time to setup tent and rest up for the night. It was getting dark, and it had been a pretty long day for him, so an understandable decision (and we had no schedule after all!).
We all agreed that as we had no idea about tent sites or camping grounds, and as we had no spare money anyway, Pete would just take the first appropriate right turn off our main route and we would pitch the tent on the side of the road. It was dark when we eventually came upon a country road off to the right and so Pete made the turn and we were very lucky. The road bordered a farm field and there was about 12-15ft of grass between the road and the field fencing. The tent was duly pitched! What a surprise we were in for!