02 Dec

A CHRISTMAS TALE by John Chatwin (MTWC)

Reprinted with the kind permission of the author and the Morgan Three Wheeler Club.  Previously published in the MOGSouth Newsletter (Vol 12, 2015)

The Club Christmas party was always enjoyable and this year Gary had an extra reason to be there. He stood in the garage proudly surveying his toys. On the right was his 1931 Aero Super Sports looking rather dusty and neglected, whilst today the recipient of his attention was the gleaming new 5 speeder.

Although he had tried to convince himself that he’d bought it to run alongside his old Aero, he had not looked at anything else for the last few weeks. He was hoping that the evening would be fine so that he could tum up in his new pride & joy.

The weather forecast was looking good so he did not even have to think about it when Barbara asked if he would mind if she didn’t accompany him. as she would really like to go with her sisters to the German market in the city. This of course would mean that she would need the BMW. Gary agreed as it gave him the excuse to arrive in style rather than a boring saloon car.

Gary made sure his new sheepskin jacket and leather helmet were squeaky clean as the day approached. The winter’s morn dawned with a hint of a watery sun coming up over the horizon. This was enough for him and as soon as he had breakfasted he opened the garage doors, carefully he removed the dust sheet unceremoniously dumping it in the Aero, pressing the aircraft type starter switch he eased the new car out onto the road.

Within minutes he was rushing along the road trying hard not to laugh out loud as his pleasure knew no bounds. After ten miles of ‘testing’ he turned for home and as soon as he had reversed into the garage set about wiping the bodywork down and applying a lick of polish Barbara brought him a cup of coffee and smiling, said ‘you’ll wear it out’. Taking the coffee he replied, ‘you have to admit, it’s a bit gorgeous’.

As evening approached, they got themselves ready for their respective evening trips. Barbara was first to leave, and Gary had already called his mate, Trevor, asking him to secure a parking space close to the front door of the pub so that he could show off his new pride and joy. He opened up the garage and jumped into the new trike. Switching on and uncovering the fancy starter switch he pressed the button. The engine spun over and that was it. It didn’t fire up. Trying again he got the same negative result. He checked the fuel which of course was how he had left it, almost full, checked plug leads and the multi-plug connections that seemed to surround the engine, everything seemed fine.

He assumed he had flooded it, so fetching his plug spanner from under the seat of the old Aero he was upset to find that it did not fit. By now he was getting rattled but eventually he found a long socket that just fit enough to remove the plugs. Both looked dry as well as being the right colour. Putting them back resulted in the spanner slipping and skinning his knuckles. This left a blood stain on his clean shirt.

The engine still refused to start and was turning over ever more slowly. As he jumped out he slipped and hit the floor with his knee, leaving a dirty mark on his trouser leg. At the next try the battery gave out and there he sat with no way of starting the device even if he had known what was wrong. Looking at his watch, which, to his chagrin now boasted a cracked glass, he saw that he was now late. I’ll just have to go in the BMW he murmured to himself until he remembered where Barbara had gone.

He sat for several minutes with his head in his hands quietly swearing until he spied the old Super Aero sitting there. For a second he sword that he saw the one headlight wink. He realized that it must have been a reflection of some sort and dismissed (he thought, well, he mused, better than nothing.) As he had not even started the engine for a long time he was full of trepidation as he turned on the petrol, tickled the carb. Putting the handle in the side he turned it a few turns before dropping the valve lifter. The big JAP instantly crackled into life and settled down to a steady tick-over.

As he turned into the car-park, Trev and the others were standing by the vacant space waiting for him. Gary swung the old Aero up the slope and with practiced skill rolled back into the space. Trevor walked up to him and said. What . . . ?’ ’Don’t ask replied Gary, just get me a bloody drink’. As they walked away Trev remarked,

‘Hey one of your headlights just winked!’

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