I have mentioned this item in the past, but I discovered over a long period of time that Charlie got the name wrong, in that ‘Jean’, who lived at her parents Bed and Breakfast in Sun Street, Ffestiniog, a predominately Welsh speaking area, was actually called ‘Jenny’. Charlie did not know that, in ‘Welsh’ Jennie sounds like Jean. I did track her down to the house in Sun Street, but she had sadly died some 10 years earlier, the house then (2009) contained relatives and I was told that Jenny was a confirmed flirt all her life, but who died childless.
And another Editors note, I typed up these poems properly, but this wordpress website insists on putting a double line space between individual lines of type and unless someone has a solution for that, this unfortunately is the result.
There’s the pretty girl
And the witty girl
And the girl that bobs her hair;
The girl that’s pert
And the girl that’s a flirt
And the girl with a baby stare.
Now I know a girl who resides in Wales’
The prettiest girl I’ve seen,
Whose beauty of feature, like Cumbria’s dales
Are such as is read of in fairy tales-
And that girl’s name is Jean.
We were three care free cyclists on touring bent,
Three cyclists young and keen;
Who into the Vale of Ffestiniog went,
And found that additional charm was lent
By means of a lassie called Jean!
There’s one of our trio called ‘Blackberry Joe’
A lanky youth, and lean;
Who confided to us in tones so low
Of his love for a lassie that all of us know
And that girl’s name is Jean!
There’s old fashioned Tommy, a bachelor shy
With girl’s he was never seen;
Who whispered to us as he sat by
Of his love for a lass who had caught his eye
And that girl’s name is Jean!
Now I am a chap of rather dull wit,
Wherever girl’s have been;
But one there is who made rather a hit-
And captured my heart something more than a bit
And that girl’s name is Jean!!!
There we sat dreaming youthful dreams –
Our knowledge of love was green;
Vainly plotting and scheming schemes
Through not a bit of intelligence gleams
For the sake of a lassie named Jean!
Companions keen on a cycling tour,
Happy and serene;
And now we’re enemies; though I’m sure
That always a woman was man’s undoer
Pretty girls like Jean!
So follow the moral, cyclists all,
And know by what you’ve seen;
Stand with your backs against the wall,
And fight resolved that you never will fall
When on the scene pops Jean!
New Year Tour 1926
Here are some of Charlie Chadwick’s own poems, not previously published.
I will introduce them gradually over the coming weeks of ‘Norway in 1938’, to break the monotony of wind and rain, but will generally publish on the website on Wednesdays.
There’s Tom and I, and ‘Blackberry Joe’
Cyclists keen are we;
Bachelor boys of the Rolling Wheel
True to the game as tempered steel -
Rollicking Mudlarks Three!
Sailors talk of the rolling deep,
Singing songs of the sea;
But yo-ho-ho for the Open Road
Defy we will what wind e’er blowed
Stamp on ‘em, Mudlarks Three!
There’s a gale on the road today boys,
Floods on the river Dee;
Then gales we’ll face and floods we’ll brave,
What care we if tempests rave?
Into it, Mudlarks Three!
The rain it raineth every day,
We care not a jot for all the rain,
That ever fell on moor or plain
Down to it, Mudlarks Three!
So here’s to the grand old cycling game,
And here’s to the CTC;
And here’s to the wind and rain and snow
And Tom and I and ‘Blackberry Joe’-
Rollicking Mudlarks Three
New Year Tour 1926
Obviously the Chadwick Expedition had landed with immediate plans to enter the hinterland! One should remember every single road outside of Bergen was loose gravel, and if that is difficult to believe in this day and age, well go back to my arrival with cycle in 1961 and the tarmac ended just 20 kms or so outside of Bergen and was never seen again until the 14 day tour was almost over. I was given to understand that in Charlie’s day the winter used to play havoc with the tarmac, but perhaps that was just an excuse to either save money or deter the unwise traveller !
This must have been a magical moment arriving abroad for the very first time. It actually looks a little wet, but there is Jo Chadwick, Charlie’s wife, enjoying the experience. Especially when the Norwegians are so friendly and well disposed to the British, little did they know of the very hard times to come under the Nazi jackboot.
There are quite a few pages to this tour, I do hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
First, some background information: Just two years after Charlie married his long term girl friend, Jo, in 1936, they set sail from Newcastle to Bergen to tour Norway on a tandem. I should just explain that Charlie had had a very long courtship indeed, with a lovely picture of the pair of them bathing their feet in a stream as early as June 1929. As you will see, when Charlie compiled his photo album he himself captioned the picture ‘Significant ?’
To avoid confusion, Jo before the war was referred to by Charlie as being called Jo, after the war she had assumed another nickname of Peggy (as introduced to me), but as I learnt from her birth certificate acquired many years later, she was christened Margaret.
So there you have it. Charlie in his youth had extended periods of unemployment caused mainly by the depression and all that that entailed, but was rescued from his misery by being able to secure a position at the new Ford factory being built at Dagenham in 1933. Less than a year later he found an even better job working for what was then Metropolitan Vickers at Trafford Park Manchester on munitions because rearmament in Europe was then in full swing. The impact for Charlie with all this relatively steady work was that he could budget ahead, something his personal finances were never able to do in the past.
So that is the picture. Steady employment from May 1933, Touring holidays at every opportunity through 1934 and 1935, get married in 1936 before a camping honeymoon in Scotland, and finally in 1937 a tour in Northern Ireland based on Donegal. Now, in 1938,+ the great leap into Norway ! The entries in his photo album describe his Norway, and that was written up in white ink in his album, some of which has slightly deteriorated due to the passage of time. I hope you enjoy reading about Norway in 1938. Incidentally, his home made map of Norway, pasted inside the front leaf of his photo album must have been made by tracing the map of Norway, and then cutting out the shape with a craft knife, a very painstaking job, to create an embossed map as the frontispiece.
The story starts next week and continues for a few months ! I have to say that in 1961 I also ventured across to Norway for a fortnights tour, 17 of us as a contingent from the CTC Blackburn section. I personally and very antisocially toured a different route on my own from the other 16 cyclists, because it was my belief that the 16 would only talk amongst themselves, and learn nothing from the local Norwegians. I believe I made the correct decision. My route did not follow the one taken by Charlie, although our routes did cross on occasion. It can be very wet over in Norway !
Bank Holiday morning was so glorious that Jack got up first at the unearthly hour of 8am, and not content with that, proceeded to awaken me. I protested vigorously, advancing the opinion that, as we had only ninety miles or so to cover, we ought to have a long sleep and a good rest. But Jack was keen on an early getaway and an easy potter, so Jack won. A swim was too risky in the raging river, but we dashed the sleep from us by means of an awfully chilly sit-down in a bubbling cataract, and then proceeded to polish off the usual gargantuan breakfast.
We packed up and slid down to Betws-y-Coed. Hot, glorious sunshine all the way up Dinas hill, with the Lledr valley beaming and the granite crescent of Moel Siabod above it, clear in the clear blue of the sky. At Pentrefoelas we turned north along the mountain road to Denbigh, and along that road, at a farm, was a notice board offering fresh cream for sale. We bought cream and half a quartern loaf. The lady was of the hardy mountain type, a type that a constant struggle with a barren earth has produced. She could speak no English at all, though she was apparently well under 40 years of age, and we could only surmise that she had recently come from the remote rockies of Shire-Carnarvon, or from the semi-waste hinterland of Anglesey. A man acted as interpreter, but she understood coinage so well that we found ourselves paying for bread at the rate of sixpence a pound. An argument ensued in Welsh from one side and English from the other, and the result was hardly enlightening to the detached observer who might be present. We eventually held our own and proceeded on our hilly way in happiness. From the first summit we beheld (as we had hoped) a magnificent prospect of all the principal North Wales peaks, laid out in line and behind each other like a mutilated saw-edge, and every one – even Snowdon, without a wisp of mist. At 1584 ft we reached the summit where, beneath a ridge, the little Sportsman’s Arms Inn snuggles safe from the winds.
There was a great descent for about nine miles to Denbigh, and we held not our impulsive steed, while real moving pictures unfurled before our eyes – the pleasant Vale of Clywd and its line of Moels, a brown chain of blunt peaks dominated by Moel Fammau.
We had lunch at Denbigh, and found the Pentrefoelas bread terrible stuff that we couldn’t possibly masticate. We threw eighty per cent of it to a cow in a field, and waited a bit to see what effect it had, but the cow remained normal so we gave it the other twenty per cent. Denbigh was hardly three miles behind, and we were skipping away down the Vale of Clwyd with a fine wind aft, when there was a great sigh below. In automatic silence, born of practice, we proceeded to mend another puncture. After that we ‘slipped it’.
There was nothing to linger for on these roads, for these roads are as familiar as the back of my hand, and whatever charms may lie along them can comfortably be explored on a Sunday run. So we ‘slipped it’ through the long level valley to Mold, along the Wrexham road, then a lane and in turn the rolling road to Chester. On the outskirts of Chester we punctured again, and it proved the last of the series. We met a camping pair who often camp with us o’ weekends. They were returning from a three day trip on the mountainous roads round Vyrnwy, and had a weary story to tell of Saturday nights deluge, of trying to light a primus with petrol, and of a consequent flare up inside the tent – with the tent closed up. To go by various adventures, these two certainly seem the most happy-go-lucky pair of a happy-go-lucky crowd.
After tea at a place midway between Chester and Warrington, we pottered home for 10pm – a reasonable time to end a holiday.
Two – a tandem – and a tyre ! I ought to put “and three tyres”, for three tyres and five tubes were the back wheels total in ten days. We must have had punctures, bursts or blowouts at least twenty times, and with as many heart-thumps, swan-songs, and ten times as many laughs !
NEXT WEEK ON THIS WEBSITE. A complete change of scene.