The Big Day

November 30, 2019
If you don't follow your dreams, you might as well be a vegetable.
Burt Munro - speed demon

Wow, so what a day! The weather Goddess was extremely kind and the day was a stunner. Ultimately 55 motos lined up in our top paddock for the ride-in motorcycle show. BMWs bumbled in … in their inimitable way. Several Triumphs rattled in, with their tappets gently clattering, three Honda CT110 ‘Postie’ bikes and two mopeds (Mobylette and DKW Hummel) upheld the ‘tiddlers’ reputation.

It was real United Nations gathering with bikes from Russia, Italy, France, Austria, Germany, India, Britain, USA and Japan. There were singles, twins, triples and fours … two stroke and four stroke, a real cornucopia for those of us who love anything with two or three wheels.

Soon there was a paddock full of beards and leather jackets. An Auckland friend thought it looked like a ZZ Top convention. I didn’t spot Richard Thompson’s ‘Red hair, black leather … my favourite colour scheme’, but we did pretty much everything else.

But the day was more than just a bike gathering. Additionally, it was a quiet recognition of me reaching the milestone of becoming a septuagenarian … and it was also the New Zealand book launch of my latest offering ‘No One Said It Would Be Easy’.

It is always a daunting time releasing a book, because you are coming out of a closet and saying ‘look at me! You’ve beavered away for many months assembling 75,000 words in the order you think best, about a subject you hope is worthy of being recorded for posterity. Your euphoria about seeing it in the flesh, is soon to be tested, as others beyond your friendly ‘pre-readers’, get to choose to buy and read. There is the insecurity of ‘What if they don’t like it? What if they think I am a Dick?’ Actually I chuckle at writing that last sentence because in many ways NOSIWBE confirms my status as having been a Dick of Substance … a Super-Dick.

And so it was that half way through the afternoon I got up on the lid of my old oppo Dick’s sidecar box, and addressed the assembled. Whilst not the eager throng, or baying masses you might see on TV, it was pretty damn good. My ego was suitably stroked, a fulsome line formed and books bought.

We’d optimistically got in an eftpos machine, so people could be parted from their money in more than one way. That seemed to work quite well and added about 30% to our takings. As part of the afternoon, we sold bacon and egg, and sausage sandwiches with the funds going to the White Ribbon Foundation who worthily promote the cause of men showing no violence towards women. We raised $200 for them and the winner of our ‘People’s Choice’ (Graham and his Norton Commando) donated his winnings – a book of course, to the cause. So that was another $25.

My ‘People’s Choice’ criteria, is for everyone to vote for the one bike that they would take home if they were allowed to … not necessarily the shiniest or the most expensive. More than 20 of the bikes got votes, but Graham’s was clearly the most coveted. For me it was also a wonderful family gathering with both my brothers flying in from Wellington and the only one of our children living in New Zealand was also there, working like a Trojan on the food and drink stall with her partner. Honoured also to have Chainsaw Eric and partner Julia from France make the effort to include us as their only South Island destination. Eric is part of our world-wide Panther Owners’ Club family and an easy bond has been made. … now did I mention about the perfect Christmas ‘stocking-filler’?

Ready to go ... let the games begin!
So glad people soon filled the paddock
... with all sorts of motos
The 'beast' was soon cranking out BBQ staples
Not everyone wanted to listen to me ... but that's ok too
There was brotherly support. Both Kerry - by keeping safe for more than 40 years key letters and postcards home, and Roly with his knowledge and spinning spanners which kept the bikes going for the adventure, were central to the book's existance
... and the young played!
The BBQ raised more than $200 for the White Ribbon cause - Men standing up against violence towards women

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