Starting married life together is never easy and even more interesting when husband and wife come from very different backgrounds. Mum came from a poor Town family with a mother who was the widow of one soldier and married to another. Dad was from a first generation farming family just trying to get a foothold into the industry.
Granny Camp thought that Mum was a painted up doll who had entrapped her son into marriage. This wasn’t helped by Dennis being born eight months after the wedding. Nor was it helped by dad having a motor bike.
I think having personal transport in the mid 1930’s was one of Dad’s big attractions. Mum loved hanging onto his back as they sped around the Island. After he had eventually forced her to leave working for the Dugmore’s and come and live with him the new Mrs Camp expected to go on long motorbike rides every day.
This was, apparently, a really heavenly period for both of them but given that Dad worked for his father at the time the family were not happy about his frequent disappearances. It is said the farm nearly went bankrupt that year. Mum, received all of the blame and was generally shunned by all the Camp’s. Except Dad of course.
I came along many years later a complete and unexpected mistake in 1954 so I have no memories of my parents as young people. Dad to me was very much an old fogey with very old fashioned ideas. But in his youth he was very forward thinking as demonstrated by his desire to get hold of a motorbike even though they were extremely expensive and well out of his reach.
He read in the Press one day that a motocyclist had been killed in an horrific accident at the Chene. As he told it to me a vehicle was being towed across the cross roads with a long chain between it and the horses pulling it. The motorcyclist didn’t spot the chain until it was too late.
Some time later Dad heard that the man’s widow was having difficulty selling the bike because someone had died riding it. The chain had caused terrible injuries to the rider but the bike was unscathed. On chance Dad went along and said he would take the bike off her hands but didn’t have a lot of money to pay for it.
She was happy to see it go and sold it for a few pounds.
Dad had his first bike, which attracted my mother to him and ultimately led to me typing his story.
Anyway, this tale isn’t about that bike it is about his later motorcycle side-car combination which he traded up to as Mum preferred to be sitting somewhere safer than on the pillion.
It was a good bike for picking up shopping and generally moving small items around as well. Which is why when there was a pig ready to go to the slaughterhouse Dad decided to use the sidecar instead of paying for a carter to take it in.
It was a big pig and it wasn’t too easy to get her in. Dad had to tie her trotters together and put her in on her back. She struggled into a natural human like sitting position and then settled down.
Dad whizzed her off to the abattoir without any problems and that was the end of the story.
Except the very next day a good friend dropped in to see Mum for a cup of tea and a chat. Mum wasn’t the painted up doll she was accused of being by the Camp’s but she was a very beautiful and petite woman.
Imagine then her horror when her friend said to her “I saw you and Horace out with the side-car yesterday. I waved but you didn’t seem to notice me.”
Mum said nothing then but Dad got an earful later and pigs were banned from the Motorcycle Combination for ever.