June 2010

JUNE MEETING REPORT
When he was twenty four, in 1958, Mr Weatley decided to go round the world on a scooter. This was the subject he came to talk to us about at our June meeting. Having two elder brothers who were both cleverer and better looking than he was he decided that the only way to compete was to do something spectacularly different. He therefore acquired Jemima, a modest little Vespa, and set off . His plan was to be as self-sufficient as possible. He therefore took dehydrated food, camping equipment, three petrol carriers plus oil (he could travel seven hundred miles without refueling), clothes (he took three suits which he wore turn and turn about), washing powder, polythene bags and lots of puncture kits. Most evenings he made a white sauce with dried milk, flour, herbs, salt and pepper, mixed in some of the dehydrated vegetables and ate half with some bread if he could get it, saving the rest for breakfast.

Arriving in France he was asked where he was going. “Bombay,” he replied. “Which department of France is that in?” inquired the official. Reaching communist Yugoslavia the tarmac came to an end and after that the road was pretty rough. He kept crashing, and had to say goodbye to his plastic windscreen very early on, but did not hurt himself as he was traveling so slowly. Taking pictures of a market in this country he was arrested as a spy, “An English spy!” the policemen cried pointing at his union jack. He was put in a cell but released after dark.

He travelled on to Turkey and soon began to climb, reaching over three thousand feet. He had brought Nivea cream expecting sunshine but instead it began to snow. He put on every piece of clothing he had with socks on his hands but was still in danger of getting frost bite in his fingers. However between Tehran and Russia a man in a Volkswagen stopped and gave him his sheepskin gloves. All along his route he met with unfailing kindness from ordinary people which changed his perception of non-white races. In India he was given a week’s hospitality in one of the poorest of villages. From Bombay he sailed in an Arab dhow to East Africa and then later spent some time exploring North America. In all he was away one year and two months.
At 3.30pm the Village Hall Committee came to join us for the grand opening of the newly installed kitchen, along with Patricia O’Brien from Suffolk County Council who had generously given us a grant towards the cost. A ribbon was cut, a man from the press took photos and then we tested the new facilities by serving up a sumptuous tea. I think everyone had a good time.

V.E.Bines