‘We never asked to camp again, finding our own at the roadside’.
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 !