Thursday, July 31, 2014

Carlton Ware Toucan

Well, again after years of searching for a decent one I have got it. Of the six (6) Carlton Ware figures from 1957 I have the Toucan - GA2197B, with zero damage.  This is the most sort after item.  To complete the set I need the sea lion - GA2197C (I am currently watching one on eBay so keep your fingers crossed).

Sunday, July 27, 2014

That wonderful Suzuki GT series emblem.

I was looking at the kettle yesterday especially the side panel (see picture) and that classic Suzuki GT series badging from the seventies.  I remember being 16 and seeing a mates brand new GT250, gold in color, and very envious of it as I was just starting on my 'M' reg gold colored '75 fizzie (PFA 195M).

The GT at the front of the badge was just stunning. I loved looking at bike magazines and the 1976 World Cycle Guide I bought from a local news agent when I worked for my Dad during the summer holidays being able to buy such things as he paid me to help rewind motors. I still have it to this day.

I would spend hours looking at the pictures ad reading the specs of each and every bike but the Suzuki GT series and that badge just did it for me.

Then a few weeks later a mate bought a brand new GT380 - that badge again.  We would be down the pub, in Swad, on a Friday night (yes 16 but it was the seventies and we only drank lager lemon tops).  That beautiful black GT380 would sometimes arrive.  I would go out and just stare at that side panel and think what a wonderful thing to have.

Then, I visited the local bike shop in Burton and wow wee, he had a brand new GT750!  A three cylinder two stroke 750 - how could you ride such a monster, it was gorgeous, and that side panel 'GT750', the wonderful enlarged red 'T' nestled between the smaller red 'G' and the silver 750 - numbers and letters that moved me so much, so emotive, a funny feeling in my stomach every time I was lucky enough to see a GT Suzuki.

A couple of weeks after that I was walking to a pub from a mates house in Castle Greasley and as we were going through the door I heard a two stroke bike screaming up the hill. My mates continued to enter but I stayed outside waiting to see the bike.  It came screaming past me. It was the black GT380.

Gorgeous.  As it went past I watched it tear away from me then Jesus H Christ, he went off the road into a railing at the side of a house and a big cloud of dust rose up hiding the results of the impact.

I ran into the pub and yelled for them to call an ambulance.

I then ran to the scene ad OMG I was not ready to see what was waiting for me.  It wasn't the kid that owned the bike who was on it - it was a kid we called 'Worm' (I will not state his real name for his family and for respect). He had apparently stole the bike but there he was lying on the grass in the garden of this house.

His left leg missing from below the knee and was lying about four feet away from him.  His right leg was bent 180 degrees the wrong way at the knee, his left hand was mashed into his shoulder and his eyes were half open.  It was dark and he was lying near to a street light.  This was the bit that really disturbed me because the light was reflecting off of his eyes, he was still alive but unconscious.

The 380 was on its side, the front end all smashed up but the tail light remained on - so spooky and weird.

I just stood there looking at him waiting for the ambulance to arrive and went it did, which seemed like an eternity, they assessed him and put him onto a stretcher.  As they placed him on it his other leg fell to the ground and he died.

I was so upset and didn't know what to do.  As they days went by I kept seeing the lights both in his eyes and the one remaining lit on the severely damaged GT380.  How could this be, why, what went wrong, motorbikes are dangerous, I need to stop riding, etc., etc,. all going through my head.

I quickly decided that I would never own a GT series Suzuki, for reasons I cannot quite understand apart from the fact that they would always remind me of this horrible incident.

Well, I got back on the horse and rode my fizzie around but with a little more respect knowing what could happen.

As the weeks went by I turned 17, passed my bike test and bought myself a DT125 Yam (PJF 853R).  Loved this wee traillie and went everywhere on it then, out of the blue, a mate of mine at Drakelow power station where I was an apprentice said he would love to have my DT and would I swop it for his bike.

Wow I was onboard for this as I knew he had a couple of 'big' bikes so I said yes for which bike.  Guess what, it was a GT380 (TRC 335L)!!  Oh no, how could I own and ride one of those after what I had witnessed?  Totally illogical of course but just that association. After a few days of thought, screw it and we made the exchange.

I rode it home and had a smile on me like a Cheshire cat.  I just sat next to it and marveled, admired, and got that funny stomach feeling while I started at that gorgeous emblem on the side 'GT380'.

To cut a long story short I put clip-ons onto and it was the first bike I saw 100 mph on the clock - so much for being put off by Worms’ tragic end on a GT380. Boys and toys and all that stuff of youth thinking that you are immortal, etc.

So the point of this.  Yesterday when I was staring at my GT750, for a fleeting moment I was 16 again and I got that strange feeling in my stomach again - oh how good it was - the innocence and wonder of being a teenager with everything still in front of you and no sense of mortality.

New Additions to the Collection

Two sets of 10 coasters from the early 60's I think complete with boxes. Hackney - Bayswater - Bow

No 51 horse drawn carriage with folk enjoying Guinness - glad to see that the driver is glass free!

It states "Guinness 'One of the Best Cordials Not In The Pharmacopoeia" I The Lancet 1837

Well I have gotten one of the biggest surprises ever during my collecting of Guinness memorabilia. I obtained the booklet below, number six (6) to date - sorry I can't resist them. I removed it from the packaging and opened it up to see which version it was, GA369C by the way dated 1/4/1948, that's January 4th, 1948 by the way for you American readers, anyway to the point.  Inside was a letter dated October 1951 as follows:

Dear Mr. Gries,
As requested we have great pleasure in sending you a copy of our illustrated booklet which tells the story of Guinness, and we hope you will enjoy reading about our world-famous Brewery at St. James's Gate.
We are always delighted to hear from our friends in America and are especially glad to welcome those who come to Dublin.  We hope that if you are contemplating a visit to Ireland you will come to the Brewery and let us show you round, and we should be glad if you would tell your friends also to come and see us when they visit Ireland.
But you do not have to come all the way to Dublin to taste the famous Guinness Stout because, as you no doubt know, we are now brewing at Long Island City to the age-old Irish formula that has made Guinness so deservedly popular throughout the world.  If you have not already adopted the suggestion in our advertisements of adding Guinness Stout to your beer, we hope you will lose no time in doing so - and what a treat there is in store for you! Even better, of course, is a glass of Guinness straight, as it is drunk here in Ireland, but don't forget, whichever way you choose, it is the same Guinness Stout that has been going strong since 1759.
With very best wishes,
Yours faithfully,
signed   A. H Hughes, Managing Director.

Well I am over the moon - I have never seen this letter before and it came as a complete and utter surprise - I have placed it in a very safe place!!!!  

A lovely little cooking pot, modern but nice.