Saturday, September 10, 2005

Technical Update #7. Flown in by: Andy.

The Bertha story’s gone a little quiet recently, hasn’t it? No apologies, but I do have an explanation or two.

Partly, it’s been summer. And sunshine makes you lazy.

Partly, I’ve been trying to figure out the lovely contents list that has now arrived on the sidebar, to help new readers (if there are any) catch up with the story.

Partly, I haven’t yet checked in with everybody. And I’ve been feeling guilty about ploughing ahead with the story while the research (such as it is) remained unfinished.

To be specific: I’ve been a bit slow about getting in touch with Mark F and Andy.

Mark F’s in Australia. I’m ringing him as soon as I remember that his evening is my first thing in the morning (which is not my best time of the day for remembering such things).

Andy’s in Herefordshire. Just a little off the beaten track. Sure, we did a couple of emails, but it’s always better to talk face to face. So I figured I’d wait till I was driving to Cornwall some time but one thing kept leading to another and somehow I never quite managed to engineer the requisite detour.

Fortunately, there are people in the world more resourceful than I…

Captain Fielder Posted by Picasa

Ladeeezungennelmunn!!! You appreciation please for the legendary Cap’n Andy Fielder, former prog-rock keyboard player, world authority on technologically sophisticated firework displays and pyrotechnic special effects, and now a genuine Herefordshire Flying Ace.

Apparently Herefordshire and Hertfordshire aren’t so far apart after all. Not if you’ve got an aircraft and somewhere to land it. Turns out Andy has the requisite aircraft, and we’ve got a grass airstrip not five minutes’ drive away that I didn’t even know was there. It’s up behind the clay pigeon shooting ground (didn’t know that was there either) right smack dab in the middle of our local World War II American Flying Fortress air base (which I did know was there but didn’t think of because it’s now 99.9% returned to the wild).

So Andy dropped in for lunch, one sunny recent Saturday. Just like that. Bringing with him an assortment of memories every bit as random as everybody else’s, but which nevertheless prove all too conclusively that you should always do your research before setting pen to paper. For example:

1/ Andy wasn’t at Knebworth, despite my protestations to the contrary. He’d only just got back from college in York and hadn’t been invited to join us, even though Knebworth was only a week before we left.

2/ Just like everybody else, Andy doesn’t remember Brussels. I may have made this part of the journey up, in a dream. But what the hey – this is my blog. If I say we went to Brussels, that’s where we went.

3/ Andy remembers nothing whatsoever about Amsterdam. Zilch. Nada. However he did bring with him on his cross-country jaunt the following item…

Andy's 70s Scrapbook Posted by Picasa

Aaaaah. Cute, I hear you say. The story of Andy’s misspent youth, lovingly recorded with detailed annotations and extensive footnotes. How useful.

Well, not quite. Andy’s Holiday Scrapbook contains no chronicles, no memoirs, no clues to what was going through his head as he zig-zagged his way around Europe in the early part of the 1970s. What it does contain is an assortment of black and white photos – some of them dating back to the summer of 1974, and some bearing out what I think I remember and struggled to write about in previous posts.

Here, for example, is a small corner of the flea market…

Waterlooplein Posted by Picasa

Here’s the Dam Square, and a load of hippies…

Dam Square Posted by Picasa

Here’s Bernard Phillipus’s legendary Magic Bus, touring the city…

The Magic Bus Posted by Picasa

And here’s the equally legendary Bertha the Earthtruck, parked by the canal, exactly as I remember her being parked (Stuie, Paul, and Mark F at bottom right)….

At the Canalside Posted by Picasa

Finally, a personal favourite: Yaya sleeping off the effects of the Heineken Brewery in the Moses en Aaron Kerk…

Hangover Forming Posted by Picasa

Please note the authentic early 70s ‘desert boots’, fashion freaks.

That’s it. We’ll return to Andy’s scrapbook later.

We’ve been long enough in Amsterdam. We’ve deposited Pat in the Vondel Park, still eyeing up the girls. We've sobered up. Now it's time to blunder onwards, into the past.

(I’ll do the astrology in the next post, I promise…)


Blogger Adam Clair Stremler said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:45 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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1:46 pm  
Anonymous CarolineM said...

Oh. First am I? Spam attack was it?

Good to be back on the bus - excellent photos. How handy to have a chum with a 'plane. I must get one. (Chum with 'plane or just a 'plane).

8:55 pm  
Blogger MIKE DA HAT said...

Nice chapter box.
Nice Pix.
Lovely italics.
Where will your creativity end?

1:07 pm  
Blogger Patry Francis said...

Oh my god, I almost forgot about desert boots.

Thanks for reminding me and also for the great post.

5:49 pm  
Blogger Mark Gamon said...

Hi Mike and Patry...

Welcome to the Earthtruck. You are now officially hitchhikers. As soon as I get back to a broadband connection your name will miraculously appear in the sidebar. Hurrah!!!

7:57 am  

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