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Old 02-08-2015, 03:49 AM   #1
Graham Ham OP
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Laugh The FLOSSY thread ....

Right …

As a few have requested it, this is the story of Flossy, the blind gal's introduction to classic motorcycling, and …. well, read on, because it's so much more than simply that …..

I first met Flossy eight years ago, when I took on a council contract to ferry her to and from school in me taxi. She went to a specialist visual impairment unit, 15 miles from her home, and i'd pick her up, take her in and take her home again every day. She was 15 years old, and was as timid and shy as a little door-mouse. She'd had a miserable time previously, sharing a mini-bus with a bunch of kids that went to a school for 'behaviourally challenging' teenagers; You can imagine what that was probably like for her! She didn't talk much at first, but slowly, over the two years I drove her, she came out of her shell, and the thing that got her talking was bikes, camps, adventures … which was lucky, 'cos I was doing a lot of all that at the weekends! I'd spin her yarns each day, she soon knew all my mates' names, their bikes, the rallies we did, travels we went on …. and every Monday she wouldn't even get to the car before asking “Where did you go this weekend? Who was with you? What bikes were there? Who broke down *this time*… blah .. blah ...”
After any holidays, she'd want a full run down of everything we'd been up to, and she loved to hear of any incidents like when Ed set fire to his tent, or when we hid bits of sausage, black pudding, bacon and mushrooms in LJ's cylinder head before a long ride, so's we'd have a snack later on, or where Grandad fell off *this time* and so on … Our trips to and from school became full of laughter … a massive change from when we'd first met! And so it went, until eventually, the time came when school was almost finished for good for young Flossy, and as is the way of things, all the kids in her year began planning their big 'last day' thing … limos, JCB's, stretched Humvees … all that stuff. Flossy, being on contract transport, knew that it was gonna be something that just happened to the other kids. What she didn't know, was that her Mum had already 'phoned me and asked whether it would be possible to take her in on the last day …. not in the taxi, but on the back of a classic motorcycle! Well, what could I say? It broke just about every 'rule' in the book as far as contract transport went, and the council would have bloody kittens if they found out, but …. well, to hell with it, sometimes rules is there to be broke, no?

So here was the deal. I said 'yes' to Flossy's mum, on the proviso that Flossy dressed accordingly. By that, I meant like a proper 50's gal. I'd arranged with a mate to take her in his 1950 M33 with side-car, see? So she could do the full pony-tail, circle skirt, bobby socks fifties thing. I'd wear me Blue suede shoes too! Flossy's mum agreed to kit her out accordingly and that was that, or so I thought.

In the mean time, a put the word out that it would be nice if a couple of mates could come on the day, with their old bikes, to give young Flossy an 'escort'. I wanted her last trip to school to be memorable, and as she can't see I figured we'd surround her with the noise and smells of old bikes. A more tactile, sensory experience? What actually happened next blew me away ….

Firstly, having mentioned the plan on both the Realclassic.co.uk website and Britbike.com forum, I suddenly found myself inundated with offers of support from the regulars on those sites. Most of 'em live in the States, or Scandinavia and places like that, or just too far away, so couldn't come along on the day, but they wanted to be involved so could they send some money instead, they asked, so we could lay on lunch, maybe some gifts, make it a day to remember? Before I knew where I was, my PayPal account was over-run with Dollars, Krona, Pounds and the postman kept turning up with packages – tee-shirts, caps, badges ... all for Flossy! I promise you, I was overwhelmed by the generosity of my fellow motorcyclists ... but unbeknown to me, there was more to come. Much more!

Let's skip to the big day then. I'd arranged to pick Flossy up in the cab first, with her Mum, Dad (who, I should just mention, is also blind), and her little brother. Then we'd all go to my house (much closer to the school) so Mum could kit her out, we'd meet up with my mate Shaun and his combo, and hopefully a couple of 'the lads' would turn out too. The plan was to ride into school, drop Flossy, wait around for her, then she'd get changed into proper riding gear and take her first ride on the pillion of a solo bike. We had arranged a lunch for her, mum, dad and 'ickle brother at a big country pub out in the lanes. She'd get her gifts, including a scale die-cast model of the bike she'd be riding out there, (a pre-unit Triumph) and I'd had that mounted with a braille plaque commemorating her day.

From there, at the end of the afternoon, I'd arranged for another mate to take the whole family home again in his 1934 Morris sedan. Or so i thought. I had no idea that my little plan had been 'hi-jacked' and what unfolded that day was something I, certainly, will never forget.

So, the big day arrived, but when I got to Flossy's house, I was a bit surprsied to find a BBC Radio 4 reporter waiting for me. He wanted an interview with me and, more importantly, Flossy! Then, he was going to follow us for the day, reporting the whole event live! How the hell had that happened? I asked, and found out that it was big Shaun, apparently. He'd 'phoned the plan into the breakfast show a few weeks ago, and here they were! But that wasn't the half of it. Waiting down the road, tipped off by the radio people, there was also a BBC TV crew, who were also waiting for Flossy, and they were going to follow the whole day too, make a film of it, and broadcast it as a 'feature' on the South East evening news show!

This was fantastic! Flossy was suddenly the centre of a whole load of interest ... her day was going to be one to truly remember! But then ... . Oh my Gawd .... panic mode ... what if no bikes turned up? We'd look pretty silly, just me an' Shaun, a couple of old bikes, and not much else?

now, I'm not religious, but let me tells ya, I found myself praying that at least a couple more of me mates turned out!

So, off we trotted. Just Me, Flossy, Mum, Dad, little brother, the BBC radio man and a TV van complete with an entire film crew We got to my house and my heart sank. There was one bike waiting for us – Shaun's outfit. Nobody else had turned out! I was gutted, felt stupid, but didn't have time to dwell on it because we had to get Flossy in, changed and ready to go. Then we did a bit of filming with the BBC, in the taxi, some background stuff and another radio bit. All the while, with the continued absence of any more bikes, I felt a really silly ... it wasn't going to be great telly, this!

We were just making final preparations to leave when we heard it. A bike! An OLD bike .... hopefully one of me mates? It was! Me mate LJ, and bugger me HE lived in Northampton, which was a good four hour ride on his pre-war BSA! And .... hang on, can we hear another one now? Blimey, is that Johnboy? HE lives in North London, which is two hours, even on his Vincent! And .... is that another one ... and another ... and ... oh my sainted trousers there's LOADS of bikes coming down the road!



Flossy's face was an absolute picture, as the street outside filled up with bikes. BSA's, Triumphs, Nortons, AJS's, Matchlesses, Vincents, BMW's .... well, you name it, there was one there! The noise, the smell, the general hubbub going on all around her was just fantastic. Her Mum was almost doing cart-wheels round the garden and I think the BBC crew actually had a a group orgasm! Suddenly, I knew that this day was going to be alright. No ... not just alright ... but bloody marvellous! I felt so proud. Really ... moved beyond words, so I was. What a brilliant, generous lot are me mates, not to mention motorcyclists and bikers in general. I didn't even know half these people?



And so ... we formed up in a group, with Flossy and Shaun in the middle ...



.. the BBC film crew in front (with a camera man hanging out of their van ready to film the ride) and then, just as we were about to leave, Grandad arrived with a mass of helium baloons ...




... which, he said, were to fill the side-car with so that when Flossy arrived at the school, and we opened it up, she'd explode out of thing amidst the escaping inflatables! Brilliant!





Finally we set off. Me on Daisy, with Flossy's mum on the pillion, Grandad on his '55 Speed Twin, with Flossy's dad, then the BBC van, and finally, surrounded by 31 classic bikes, Shaun and Flossy. We stopped round the corner from the school, so the BBC could go ahead of us, and then ... set off for Flossy's grand arrival. And let me tell you, that school had never seen anything like it! Thirty three bikes, all classics, squeezed into the arrival area and as we were the last lot to arrive, the whole place was crammed with kids, parents, teachers. But remember ... Flossy was effectively hidden in that chair, crammed as it was with balloons, so nobody could work out who it was that had just arrived ... an NONE of them would have guessed that it was that quiet, shy, retiring blind girl.
Well, we opened that lid, and out exploded Flossy and her balloons. There was a full five seconds of absolute silence, and then the place was suddenly in uproar!





The BBC did a great job of capturing the utter surprise on almost everyone's face, and they got some brilliant quotes from teachers and other pupils, all confessing to be 'amazed' that Flossy had such a secret, but the Headmaster who was clearly gob-smacked, probably summed it up best. He said " ... It's just wonderful ... I don't know what to say ... She has, quite simply, stolen the whole show!" and then, after a pause, he broke into a great big grin and exclaimed "... Good for her! ... "

The day just got better. While Flossy did her thing, the lads, mum, dad etc .. all rode out to the local Spitfire museum to await our arrival.







Flossy eventually re-appeared, got changed (in the back of the BBC TV van!) and we rode out to meet 'em all ...



Then went out into the lanes and had ourselves a slap up lunch (I'd arranged it for eight people ... Shaun had 're-arranged' it without me knowing, for forty people!).



Flossy got all her gifts ...

















... and finally the family went home in style in that Morris sedan.





The BBC film crew stayed with us for the entire day, and the piece they put out that evening was absolutely brilliant. Flossy (and her mum and dad) has been a regular rider and rallyer ever since that first day, which is a day that I will never, ever forget. The generosity of my fellow riders made it so much more than it might have been, and for that, I'll always be grateful!





I'll add more of Flossy's adventures in due course !
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Old 02-08-2015, 06:08 AM   #2
Rich B
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Graham,

Thanks for doing that story again.....

Recognized a lot of those faces...

Tell Shaun that is another beer he owes me!
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Old 02-08-2015, 06:28 AM   #3
Primal Haj
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Graham,

Great story, thanks for sharing.

Craig
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Old 02-08-2015, 06:28 AM   #4
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Such a great story, you've a place in Heaven Graham.
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Old 02-08-2015, 07:14 AM   #5
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What lovely thing you did for a lovely young lady!
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Old 02-08-2015, 07:45 AM   #6
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That is beautiful!
My eyes are watering. Must be my allergies.

Jim
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Old 02-08-2015, 07:45 AM   #7
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Such a Wonderful Story. Thank you for sharing Flossy with us.


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Old 02-08-2015, 07:59 AM   #8
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Beautiful, man......just beautiful.

I tell ya, the older I get, the more I'm touched by these acts of kindness.

You guys are awesome.
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Old 02-08-2015, 08:22 AM   #9
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Old 02-08-2015, 08:28 AM   #10
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Absolutely brilliant Graham,Flossy must be feeling pretty special.I'm really pleased that you are posting on ADVrider now,long may it continue.

John
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Old 02-08-2015, 10:21 AM   #11
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Wonderfull, just absolutely wonderfull! You're a good man with good friends.
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Old 02-08-2015, 10:36 AM   #12
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Thanks to all who made her day special.
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Old 02-08-2015, 10:57 AM   #13
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Well done, looks like you're a shoe in for a spot above.
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Old 02-08-2015, 11:34 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mista Vern View Post


Thanks to all who made her day special.
What he said, Brilliant!
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Old 02-08-2015, 12:10 PM   #15
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This is just great!

Jon
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