Green Bean

Green Bean Two © David Forward

Green Bean Two © David Forward

Way down, low down, back in the late 70s early 80s the Green Bean regularly went to Tetbury in search of Girls. David had a Kawasaki Z650 with an Emerald Green petrol tank, and so it became known as the Green Bean. I would ride my motorbike around all the streets, stopping to chat to all the girls. One such girl who particularly caught my attention was Nicola Ind. As I pulled up at the Town Hall on stilts at the top of Long Street, Nicola was busy chatting with her friends. I stopped in front of the Town Hall where they were all stood underneath looking down Long Street and as I began to talk with them Nicola demonstrated several perfectly, as if performed by a fully trained gymnast, cartwheels back and forth under the Town Hall.

Early one evening I was turning into Lowfield Road from Hampton Street, you only travel a few seconds and then you can see hundreds of yards right up to Grove Gardens, and there was the Tetbury Police, little white Mini van coming down the hill 150 yards away as I was already indicating right into St Mary’s Road. There was no question at all of me having to wait for it to travel all the way to the junction as I’d already taken the split second to enter St Mary’s Street while it was still only approaching Highfield Road. However I naturally eyed my mirrors as I passed the open Green to the left just to see if the van would turn into St Mary’s Road or continue up to the Hampton Street junction. Sure enough he was now following me.

Wearing my C10 hiviz jacket with dipped headlight and in broad daylight no one could miss me. I think C10 was the call sign of an armed response team up in the Met and I thought it would look good in High Intensity Blue Reflective on the back of my hiviz. I continued along St Mary’s Road, round the corner at the end to the right and then turned left towards the London Road Junction. I then pulled right into London Road and headed towards the bottom of Long Street as the van was taking the left in St Mary’s Road by the Junior School, so he was still keeping his distance 80 yards behind. As I turned up Long Street he switched on his single blue flashing light perched atop his van, and accelerated passed me and pulled up in front outside number 55 on the left.

I sat waiting as the constable walked back towards me. Lately I had been having a few nose bleeds and took the opportunity to take out my handkerchief to blow my nose before he got to me, but my nose began to bleed so I kept holding the handkerchief to my face. He then accused me of dangerously cutting in front of him into St Mary’s Road, and I then took my handkerchief away from my nose and covering my mouth, so as I could answer him, stating no way had I caused him to brake as he was still 150 yards away travelling at about 15 MPH in a 30 zone. He took one look at the blood pouring from my nose, took several steps back and said, I didn’t do anything, even though there were no witnesses to be seen anywhere. Then with a smile he said, well carry on riding safely when you’re ready, and returned to his little white Mini van and drove off.

A few days later I was slowing down at the top of Long Street and about to turn into Chipping Street and there on the corner were several girls I already knew. One of them shouted out, “Dave, stop” and I did. A girl approached and said, can Paula Johnson have a ride on the back of your bike. I hadn’t ever met Paula before and handed her my spare crash helmet, and we set off on a 10 minute tour of the Tetbury streets. When we arrived back in Chipping Street, the girls had moved 15 yards up to the Fish & Chip Shop, where Paula got off and handed back the helmet. We were all talking to eachother for a few minutes, when a couple of Tetbury lads approached at a quickening pace.

Rumours move quick in Tetbury. I can’t quite remember his name but it was something like Seán Murphy, who lived up by Roland Pratt in Northfield Close, and he now stood on the pavement with several of his mates, he then asked me if had I taken his girlfriend for a spin on the back of my bike. Sensing his anger, I answered I had – adding, I often take anyone for a spin who would like to have a go on the back of a motorbike. He then said, “I’m only going to hit you once” and threw a left hook at my right jaw. Sat on the Green Been with both feet on the ground wearing my white open face peaked helmet with the number 13 on the left hand side, I didn’t budge a millimetre being rather heavily built with a thick neck. I think he thought he’d knock me flying and I’d retaliate, causing a fight where his mates would join in. Having seen his punch strike a ‘brick wall’ he and his mates turned and walked off at speed from whence they’d came.

Another day, this time on the opposite side of the road, I was approaching from the Chipping car park and saw Brenda Ann Pinchin standing with her friends at the back of the old cinema, and opposite the chip shop. I pulled up and seeing a few new faces, Brenda introduced me to them all, finishing with Brenda Ann Paish. She then went on to say, “It’s Brenda’s Birthday, give her a kiss”. Now she wasn’t joking as I first thought, and ordered me off of my motorcycle, telling me to remove my helmet and hand it to her, then to go and put both of my arms firmly around the other Brenda, and giver her a good long snog. I had no choice, but how could I possibly refuse such a stunning girl. Well it was so beautiful and so was she, that I have never ever forgotten meeting the lovely Brenda Ann Paish on her 16th Birthday.

Having given up the search for the specially unique Tetbury Girls, I headed once again, the back way home in the direction of Shipton Moyne. What luck, as I rode down Church Street and approached the Bath Road Bridge, there was a gaggle of girls walking up into town on the right, so I pulled over and started chatting to the ones I knew and was soon introduced to a girl whose surname was not Clark. Well you know by now what it’s like, just too many gorgeous Tetbury Girls to remember all their names, when your head is in such a spin at their beauty. I didn’t quite fail though, as Miss not Clark having seen how I was particularly taking a special interest in her apart from the others, was soon reaching into her purse and produced a fantastic Passport Photo Booth sized print of herself, and generously donated it to my personal safe keeping for ever, just so as I wouldn’t forget her. I certainly haven’t and have been waiting ever since for her Malmesbury cousin to tell me of Miss not Clark’s first name, and come to that, her surname too. So take a good look at the picture below and if you recognise her, please tell me her full name, I just have to know.

Karen Bird © Tetbury Tales

Karen Bird © Tetbury Tales

Delightful Destiny

Having recently given Sonia Seal a blast to Malmesbury and back, I dropped her off at her house in Conygar Road, then I spied Kim Marlow also of Gonygar Road and so preceded to chat her up, she was soon riding around as my best pillion. I took her to Malmesbury to visit my friend Stephen Patrick and as I pulled up outside his house we were met by his Father, David Patrick, outside mowing the lawn.

Kim who was still sat on the Green Bean behind me with full-face helmet on, was not overly amused when Mr Patrick with his usual happy smiling face greeted me and said hello to my passenger calling her my the last five Christian names of the last five girls to make the same journey, hoping that he might strike lucky with a correct first name for once, as he assumed she could be one of the previous girlfriends. Not to disappoint, I introduced Kim the Clarinet player from Tetbury to him as my latest find, explaining the others were history.

Kim had an appointment that evening to babysit for a married couple at a house next to the top of the steps in the Chipping in Tetbury leading down to the Cirencester Road. Kim showed me which door and told me to return about half an hour after the couple were due out for the night. All was going well and the small child later put to bed, we continued to talk at the living room table drinking tea, when there came an unexpected knock at the door.

As I have said before, rumours travel at warp speed in Tetbury. Kim’s mother had got wind her delicate daughter was with a lad on a motorbike, the horror of it all had brought her to the door to catch her daughter in the act of having a secret boy friend. Pushing past the partially open door and sweeping her daughter aside she stood there pointing at me and demanded Kim to explain this situation, a quick change of mind and she demanded her daughter accompany her out of the house that second.

So there I was in charge of the house of strangers I’d never met and now chief baby sitter! There were several hours to go yet before their expected return time. So I set about repairing a shelf and mending the television coax plug so as I could get a clear signal into the set and watch the box. The hour of judgement finally arrived with the sound of a key in the door, followed by two cheery voices greeting Kim to inform her they were back.

They stepped into the living room and stood there open mouthed, then after the initial shock of seeing me instead of Kim, they enquired where she was and I explained the situation. They then thanked me and with big smiles rewarded me with the baby sitting payment and congratulated me on a job well done. They asked me to pass on their greetings to Kim the next time I saw her, and I left for the journey back to Malmesbury.

The very next day under the Town Hall on stilts in Tetbury, Kim found me and asked for her baby sitting money, then explained she was no longer permitted by her mother to have a boy friend without prior vetting and approval. We departed best of friends but never to see each-other again as long as her Mother had anything to do with it. I heard later they had moved out of Tetbury shortly afterwards. I think she was an only child whose mother was separated from her husband.

Diversion

Having miserably failed to attain Mrs Marlow’s standards as a potential companion for her daughter, I decided it was time to point the Green Bean in any direction other than Tetbury, well just as a short term experiment to see how things panned out. Oaksey sounded interesting and I wouldn’t need a map to find it, so off I went in search of Sarah Sparrow. I spent a special hour or so sat on her sofa, whilst she demonstrated majorette baton twirling, she was an expert the only limitation, the low ceiling of the living room at Bendy Bow.

Figure and number heavily featured with my marching band beauty and with baton spinning so fast I had no time to blink. We then met up again at Jackie Bourke’s house for tea, I think the girls were supposed to be in a double English lesson but our conversation carried us right through to school bus home time. This fortunate introduction to Jackie led to more meetings at my place accompanied by her close friend Caroline Matthews who’s shoes I would carefully decorate with felt tip pens, much to her delight. At least she believed I had artistic potential, and her company was much appreciated.

I saw Jackie for several days and evenings at my place and then one day came an unexpected visitor to the door. It was someone I knew to be a very good friend of my Father and I was just about to inform him both my parents were out for the day in Bath, when he said it’s you I’ve come to see, and my heart rate shot through the roof, as he is actually Jackie’s dad. I invited him in and we sat at the dining room table. He then asked if my intentions with his daughter were honourable and I shakingly replied, why of course, me, I’m as honest through and through as a stick of rock, choking on my words. Mike Bourke finally left and I was so terrified of falling foul of his expectations I quickly dropped the idea of further dating Jackie.

It was then decided Jackie’s friends wished to pay Caroline Chivers a visit over in Corston but the question, how to get there. I was quick to offer a solution and suggested I took each one pillion to number one Rodbourne Road, returning several times to Malmesbury until we were all at Caroline’s. Whilst we all sat around the kitchen table, the Malmesbury girls brought up the topic of my search for that special girl who could call the Green Bean her territory and no one else’s.

Caroline looked up at the ceiling, then the door, then the window, then suddenly she had it, I know she said, lets go around to number twenty one, Sandra’s house. We all walked across the estate and waited out on the road whilst Caroline knocked on the door. Minutes later, there appeared Sandra Goulding, peering around the hedge to see who was there. I took thirteen and a half percent of one second to restart my heart and give the nod the choice was perfect. Caroline whispered into Sandra’s ear and Sandra added to her already smiling face, her extra smiling face, and gave a YES!

There you have it, Love at first sight? Thanks to Miss Chivers I now had the perfect parner and our first date commenced the very next day, 5 o’clock at the Corston bus shelter, where Sandra would be waiting to claim all future use of the Green Bean to be strictly under her control. As they say, it was a match made in Corston. Thank you Miss Chivers for the introduction, for which I owe you a huge thanks and a forever un-payable debt.

23 August, 2017
All images and written works by David Forward are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License