Mumsie: what would you like us to get you for your 18th Birthday present?
Wendy: A motorbike
Wendy: I’ll save to buy the protective clothing – Helmet, jacket, trousers, boots
Mumsie: No, nothing electrical for your 18th
Wendy: The Gibson Les Paul you got Bros 62 is an electric guitar
Mumsie: That’s different
Wendy: What if I buy the bike and you can give me a full set of leather gear and a helmet for my 18th?
Wendy: Why not?
Mumsie: No clothes for your 18th
Wendy: What can I have?
Mumsie: I thought a nice Diamond and Topaz ring
Wendy: If that’s what I’m allowed, I’ll take it… … can I pawn it for money towards a motorcycle?
Mum and Dad rarely rowed. Later that year they rowed about my getting a motorbike. Dad sided with me, placating mumsie with a promise to make sure that I looked after the bike properly. The morning before Dad took this photograph he carried a comfy chair into the garage while I laid out the large tent groundsheet on the garage floor between my bike and his comfy chair. Dad opened the Haynes manual.
Gradually I deconstructed the engine and lay each piece out in neat chronological order on the groundsheet. When the engine was in pieces we took a break to clean up and eat Sunday lunch. Then, slowly, peace by piece, I rebuilt the engine. When I got confused, Dad showed me the relevant Haynes manual picture and pushed me to make a decision. He helped listen to the sound quality when adjusting the timer.
I felt so proud of myself once I’d finished. Dad let me wear my favourite of his jumpers for this celebratory photograph.
The bike lasted just over a year before I sold it on for a profit.
My diamond and topaz ring, worn less than 6 times in 30 years, reminds me that mum and dad love me and the responsibility and freedom of motorcycling…