Right you good people, forgive the unusual start to this latest story, it’s Saturday lunchtime and I’m at my daughter-in-laws house on grandfather duty.
The kids were all busy so I thought I’d sit down and try and cobble something together for today’s post. Just as I thought of a suitable semi-non-serious (is that a real word?) topic, my granddaughter Dolce walked in and asked what I was doing.
Dolce said ‘well, if you’re writing a story, it’s got to start with ‘Once upon a time….’
So, just for Dolce, all together now…..
Once upon a time……, some 33 years ago I was restoring a 1966 BSA Bantam D14/4.
Yesterday at the Euro-Jumble in the New Forest I saw one and showed it to my wife as I had told her that one reason I decided to start Vintage British Bikes was because I really do remember the hours spent on the phone and riding to shops far and wide in search of spare parts.
Showing her the Bantam sparked another long forgotten memory which I’m not sure if it falls into category of myth or legend?
It’s rather like telling a lie so many times that you begin to believe it’s true. In this case, I am talking about a small shop in Gosport. (Editor’s Note: At this point my other granddaughter, Armani has decided to join us and is now subbing this piece as I’m explaining to Dolce that not everyone in the world will see this, she looks slightly disappointed. Achieving instant fame is harder than she thinks).
Going back to my Bantam restoration in about 1983, during my search for parts, whipping an iPhone out your pocket and ‘googling it’ would have seemed like science fiction and it was around this time that I either heard about the myth or actually visited the legend, which is my point here. I really can’t remember which version is true? That’s what made me think about this, could I found out some 30 years later if the shop actually existed.
The story, if it is a story, goes that in the Naval town of Gosport, a two minute ferry crossing across Portsmouth harbour, two elderly brothers owned a dusty old shop selling British bikes and spares. They dutifully opened every day for business like any good shopkeepers would. The only problem was that allegedly it was almost impossible to (a) find anything under the enormous piles of other spare parts, boxes etc. and (b) if you did manage to find what you were looking for, all under the watchful eye of the two brothers, it was then virtually impossible to get them to agree to sell anything The price was never an issue, it was quite simply they couldn’t bear to sell anything. It’s like the shop was an excuse to collect all that stuff.
I suppose the misspent years of alcohol and substance abuse will never clear enough for me to remember if I did visit the brothers or if it was merely a so called ‘urban legend’, unless I’m lucky enough to hear from someone who actually remembers the shop? Do you?