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Newcastle 2006 - Indians By The Seaside


Its even more Bracing than Skegness

On November the 24th in the year of our lord 1864  Captain Howling of the steamship “ Stanley” rounded the end of the Tynemouth estuary and looked in disgust and dismay at the at the schooner  “Friendship “ driven on to the rocks of Black Midden , within minutes he would be wondering how the hell he too had ended up crashing into the rocks despite all the horsepower the age of steam had bestowed on him, The high wind and rough seas had driven his ship well up on to the rock shelf , here with his crew and deck cargo of cattle and horses he was close enough to shore to see the village of Tynemouth but too far in this storm to get there .

There was nothing for the crew of either boat to do but pray the Tynemouth  lifeboat “ Constance” would reach them ,It did , but the lifeboat was washed onto the deck of the schooner and then off again dumping two crew on the deck in the process and breaking its oars , the storm then pushed them up the Tyne and onto the mud bank.

Quickly hundreds of people gathered on shore to watch the spectacle and the coastguard arrived with ropes and a breeches buoy , a line was made fast out to the Stanley as the Friendship broke up on the rocks and was washed away along with the crew and two of the lifeboat men that fell on to her decks when the two boats collided ,

As night fell the rush and panic to winch the crew to safety increased and 3 men were winched ashore before the lines snagged  and then snapped , In the dark it was too late to help further and the storm pushed the Stanley harder onto the rocks at the same time washing clear all that was on the decks .

Next morning another line was rigged and the remaining crew of the Stanley brought ashore but the scene was one of destruction and death as the bodies of cattle bobbed around in the Tyne and the broken ship was scattered along the estuary ,32 people died that night the towns people were stunned and one man felt things could have turned out better .

John Morrison a military volunteer campaigned for a trained crew of men to be stationed at the mouth of the Tyne and secured funds and equipment from local businessmen and benefactors and so began the Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade very much as you see it today .

If you look around the three story watch house you can see relics and pictures of the deeds done and equipment used, there are rockets for firing lines to boats and winches and cables everywhere . In the tower stands the still used signalling lamp and on all of the walls are pictures of the crews past and present ……….Whoa up a minute ……in the photo just there, in the middle is a chap that looks vaguely like someone I know ..look there 5th from the left …yeah that’s the one about a foot or so taller than all the others …..but without the beard and


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shoulder length hair wouldn’t he be the spitting image of our beloved John Wright…hang on I’ll go and ask …….It is ! Honest the chap said that is John and more than that he’s one of their favourite rocketeers  no not racketeers that's something entirely different ,rocketeer he gets to fire the rockets at the ships to get the rope on board …so now we know what he gets up to when he’s not hanging around the bar at rallies ……where is he ? We’ll go wind him up about the hair seeing as he ‘s had a pop or two about mine Oi John !………( and was that really a Steamer called Stanley )

Anyway where were we ..Oh yes Tynemouth and Whitley Bay on a lovely May weekend and at this years I.O.C Gb rally , After years of getting on at John he finally gave in and organised the rally in his part of the country and a good job he did of it too,

The site at the local rugby club gave us a great place to hide out in and drink coffee and ponder just what happened to the Newcastle area mental picture I grew up with , and if you’re a southerner I bet yours is about the same …well its wrong ..the area up here is really nice , Good riding roads and pretty countryside and apart from the language barrier the folks are really friendly …so why haven’t we bin here before ?  Well apart from John trying to keep the good bits hidden there was one small even tiny thing he’d kept quiet about , On the days of the year when the sun comes out Whitley Bay and the surrounding area is one of the best places on the east coast but that’s only if the wind drops !

Living on the slightly flat bit of Lincolnshire I thought I knew a bit about how windy it could be even as Spring really gets going , But I’m not sure I was ready for just how nice a May day could be standing on top of the bay here …it was bloody freezing.

When we got to the rally site on Friday John, Jesse and anyone that came close was roped into putting up the club marquee and a damn fine job they had made of it,  By 4  o clock John, Jesse and anyone who that came close were roped in to taking it down again .Weather 1 Bikers 0 .

Some of us sneakily pitched our tents in the shade of Robin’s Winne  hoping he didn’t decide to move it but kindly Linda wouldn’t let him and she plied us with coffee …did you know he has heating in there ,might have to get one of those !

By the time it started to spit with rain the clubhouse opened and the whole idea of rallying got better , Friday night was a good laugh, playing who’s not going to make it to the rally and we all had  Ray down as a won’t get here,  but he cheated and without the aid of satnav and having not seen 26 of the 21 signs John had put up he arrived at some unholy time of the morning with Sam and two bikes in the van while we were asleep .

I’m not going to run a list of all the folks that turned up you’ll have to seek out the photo’s but suffice to say that some noticeable rough and tough go anywhere members of the club were definitely missing and not all of those from south of the Watford gap.

Saturday morning the weather looked at first as if it had forgiven us for getting here but it was still chilly and as folks suited up for the rideout the was the occasional look of insanity in the faces of some of the riders the weather got a bit damp .  Quite a few of John mates had turned up so there was a pleasant mix of bikes about from old triumphs to new Hds even Sam had found a different V twin to play with but I think its still a bit of a stride from Minnie to a 3½ Moto Morini traily

I wonder if one of their 500s would slot into a 741 frame .Oppps shouldn’t have said that there will probably be one by next year, never mind we’ll call it a scout no one will notice .

It was nice to see one or two new members turn up and if you are one and haven’t read my twaddle before don’t worry you’ll get used to it

The rideout turned out to be a success with a tour round the local area with a stop at the Toy Museum for tea and snacks ,that were more than welcome and when did you last see a Dan Dare radio set …always wanted one of those or maybe the Smoking Newsboy or proper toy guns even gollywogs  it was an endless list of political incorrectness …Brilliant

From there we made the pilgrimage to Johns favourite haunt The Life Brigade Watch House ,

Here we were given the tour and history of the brigade and strolled around the watch house peering at a photo of John with hair  just as the queen did last October , Bet she was going “ Oi Philip who’s that tall chappy with the long hair and beard in that photo …the scruffy bastard ! “

I know we were Ha ! Ha !

But seriously it was really good and the bit at the beginning of this tale came from there

As we left the watch house John said we had a problem because he had organised a prize for the best or most spectacular breakdown and we hadn’t lost a bike

But I think John Chat must have heard him as within ¼ of a mile he cruised to a halt with water in the carb …suspicious this ,but it did get him a tankard later beating Wright junior’s attempt by losing one of Johns fuel caps ( bet you still own him for it Phil )

Onward then for a quick photo stop at the Avalon Hotel which is a real neat bikers hotel in Whitley with bikes on the wall and decent bike mags to read sadly Frank couldn’t figure how to get the Panther of the shelf and out the door. ( I suppose it’ll be a late night raid by the Panther Owners Club Tactical Unit )

Saturday evening was great, good food ,better beer and a couple of bands one playing Geordie folk that was stirring enough to get Ray to spill a beer …not his own (don’t be silly ) but the thought was there ,The second band even managed to get Calvin up and dancing , well that’s what they said he was doing it could have been he was just searching his pockets for loose change but no they said he was dancing so I’ll take it as true .

Fred was upset at missing the Eurovision  but was cheered up by beer and winning a pot for Best Old Blue Chief, ………he keeps winning that !

And that apart from the drinking and having a good time finished Saturday

Sunday of course started off sunny and warm and we had a quick trip down to a flea market in Tynemouth and parked in the biggest swarm of gnats in the north …oh well free lunch on the wing , but even the market was different as it was held inside a working railway station on the Metro line so although your wandering around stalls there’s trains coming and going in the station  !

And so in the end we set of south again and oddly left the sun behind for the folks to revel in quickly before the wind gets up once more

Ok so you know the rules about why you weren’t there etc,  so this time its something different lets play the Bugger All Game

How much funding do the TVLB ( Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade ) get per year from the government ?

Bugger All !

How much funding do the TVLB get from the Lottery ?

 Bugger All !

How much funding do the TVLB get from TV phone ins or reality shows ?

Bugger All !

Bet your getting the hang of it by now

How much do the volunteers get paid for pulling people off the cliffs ,boats off the rocks ,dogs out of the sea in mid winter or stopping confused elderly ladies chucking themselves into the sea ( as happened on the Thursday night )

Oh Yes  ! You guessed it and there’s absolutely no way I would sod about on that beach in winter even the watch tower is chained down to the ground ( see pics )

So if you didn’t go to the rally for whatever reason why not send a bit of the cash you saved on petrol ,beer ,entry fee ,tyre wear etc to either John Wright or direct to the TVLB ( they have a web site )  so they can carry on doing a job that you would not even consider let alone for nothing except the thanks.

And if you did go well there’s no reason you can’t send a few quid to make up for the moaning you did about their weather ,accent or just for the hell of it

So there you go another rally over and I’d like to thank John and his mates for organising it and also for the guided tour of the Whitley Bay area,  I would like to but I’m not going back on that beach till global warming takes over, and he won’t come off till he’s finished playing with his rockets

There’s quite a lot of things and folks I’ve left out of this report because if I tell you everything then you never will get round to coming to a rally and you’ll have missed the naked women and cheap bikes etc that we keep to ourselves

I’d also like to thank the lovely Sandra who helped me to get to the rally and back in one piece  see you at the next rally.

Keith Bird 

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