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See Sal's Great words a few threads ago, reminded me of a few more.
Not wishing to hijack his thread I am posting them here in case anyone would like to share them.

They are from TE Lawrence (yep: him from Arabia).



The Road:


The extravagance in which my surplus emotion expressed itself lay on the road. So long as roads were tarred blue and straight; not hedged; and empty and dry, so long I was rich.

Nightly I’d run up from the hangar, upon the last stroke of work, spurring my tired feet to be nimble. The very movement refreshed them, after the day-long restraint of service. In five minutes my bed would be down, ready for the night: in four more I was in breeches and puttees, pulling on my gauntlets as I walked over to my bike, which lived in a garage-hut, opposite. Its tyres never wanted air, its engine had a habit of starting at second kick: a good habit, for only by frantic plunges upon the starting pedal could my puny weight force the engine over the seven atmospheres of its compression.

Boanerges’ first glad roar at being alive again nightly jarred the huts of Cadet College into life. ‘There he goes, the noisy bugger,’ someone would say enviously in every flight. It is part of an airman’s profession to be knowing with engines: and a thoroughbred engine is our undying satisfaction. The camp wore the virtue of my Brough like a flower in its cap. Tonight Tug and Dusty came to the step of our hut to see me off. ‘Running down to Smoke, perhaps?’ jeered Dusty; hitting at my regular game of London and back for tea on fine Wednesday afternoons.

Boa is a top-gear machine, as sweet in that as most single-cylinders in middle. I chug lordlily past the guard-room and through the speed limit at no more than sixteen. Round the bend, past the farm, and the way straightens. Now for it. The engine’s final development is fifty-two horse-power. A miracle that all this docile strength waits behind one tiny lever for the pleasure of my hand.

Another bend: and I have the honour of one of England’ straightest and fastest roads. The burble of my exhaust unwound like a long cord behind me. Soon my speed snapped it, and I heard only the cry of the wind which my battering head split and fended aside. The cry rose with my speed to a shriek: while the air’s coldness streamed like two jets of iced water into my dissolving eyes. I screwed them to slits, and focused my sight two hundred yards ahead of me on the empty mosaic of the tar’s gravelled undulations.

Like arrows the tiny flies pricked my cheeks: and sometimes a heavier body, some house-fly or beetle, would crash into face or lips like a spent bullet. A glance at the speedometer: seventy-eight. Boanerges is warming up. I pull the throttle right open, on the top of the slope, and we swoop flying across the dip, and up-down up-down the switchback beyond: the weighty machine launching itself like a projectile with a whirr of wheels into the air at the take-off of each rise, to land lurchingly with such a snatch of the driving chain as jerks my spine like a rictus.

Once we so fled across the evening light, with the yellow sun on my left, when a huge shadow roared just overhead. A Bristol Fighter, from Whitewash Villas, our neighbour aerodrome, was banking sharply round. I checked speed an instant to wave: and the slip-stream of my impetus snapped my arm and elbow astern, like a raised flail. The pilot pointed down the road towards Lincoln. I sat hard in the saddle, folded back my ears and went away after him, like a dog after a hare. Quickly we drew abreast, as the impulse of his dive to my level exhausted itself.

The next mile of road was rough. I braced my feet into the rests, thrust with my arms, and clenched my knees on the tank till its rubber grips goggled under my thighs. Over the first pot-hole Boanerges screamed in surprise, its mud-guard bottoming with a yawp upon the tyre. Through the plunges of the next ten seconds I clung on, wedging my gloved hand in the throttle lever so that no bump should close it and spoil our speed. Then the bicycle wrenched sideways into three long ruts: it swayed dizzily, wagging its tail for thirty awful yards. Out came the clutch, the engine raced freely: Boa checked and straightened his head with a shake, as a Brough should.

The bad ground was passed and on the new road our flight became birdlike. My head was blown out with air so that my ears had failed and we seemed to whirl soundlessly between the sun-gilt stubble fields. I dared, on a rise, to slow imperceptibly and glance sideways into the sky. There the Bif was, two hundred yards and more back. Play with the fellow? Why not? I slowed to ninety: signalled with my hand for him to overtake. Slowed ten more: sat up. Over he rattled. His passenger, a helmeted and goggled grin, hung out of the cock-pit to pass me the ‘Up yer’ Raf randy greeting.

They were hoping I was a flash in the pan, giving them best. Open went my throttle again. Boa crept level, fifty feet below: held them: sailed ahead into the clean and lonely country. An approaching car pulled nearly into its ditch at the sight of our race. The Bif was zooming among the trees and telegraph poles, with my scurrying spot only eighty yards ahead. I gained though, gained steadily: was perhaps five miles an hour the faster. Down went my left hand to give the engine two extra dollops of oil, for fear that something was running hot: but an overhead Jap twin, super-tuned like this one, would carry on to the moon and back, unfaltering.

We drew near the settlement. A long mile before the first houses I closed down and coasted to the cross-roads by the hospital. Bif caught up, banked, climbed and turned for home, waving to me as long as he was in sight. Fourteen miles from camp, we are, here: and fifteen minutes since I left Tug and Dusty at the hut door.

I let in the clutch again, and eased Boanerges down the hill along the tram-lines through the dirty streets and up-hill to the aloof cathedral, where it stood in frigid perfection above the cowering close. No message of mercy in Lincoln. Our God is a jealous God: and man’s very best offering will fall disdainfully short of worthiness, in the sight of Saint Hugh and his angels.

Remigius, earthy old Remigius, looks with more charity on and Boanerges. I stabled the steel magnificence of strength and speed at his west door and went in: to find the organist practising something slow and rhythmical, like a multiplication table in notes on the organ. The fretted, unsatisfying and unsatisfied lace-work of choir screen and spandrels drank in the main sound. Its surplus spilled thoughtfully into my ears.

By then my belly had forgotten its lunch, my eyes smarted and streamed. Out again, to sluice my head under the White Hart’s yard-pump. A cup of real chocolate and a muffin at the teashop: and Boa and I took the Newark road for the last hour of daylight. He ambles at forty-five and when roaring his utmost, surpasses the hundred. A skittish motor-bike with a touch of blood in it is better than all the riding animals on earth, because of its logical extension of our faculties, and the hint, the provocation, to excess conferred by its honeyed untiring smoothness. Because Boa loves me, he gives me five more miles of speed than a stranger would get from him.

At Nottingham I added sausages from my wholesaler to the bacon which I’d bought at Lincoln: bacon so nicely sliced that each rasher meant a penny. The solid pannier-bags behind the saddle took all this and at my next stop a (farm) took also a felt-hammocked box of fifteen eggs. Home by Sleaford, our squalid, purse-proud, local village. Its butcher had six penn’orth of dripping ready for me. For months have I been making my evening round a marketing, twice a week, riding a hundred miles for the joy of it and picking up the best food cheapest, over half the country side.
 

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Thanks for that. For those of you that may not know, Lawrence actually met his untimely death while riding the Brough Superior; a 1932 1000ce 58100 (GW 2275) he named George VII. From September 1922, Lawrence owned eight Brough motorcycles; he had names for each of them:
1922 -'Boa', short for Boanerges 'Sons of Thunder', the title Jesus gave to disciples James and John.
1923 - George I that cost £150, more than the price of a house at the time.
1924 - George II.
1925 - George III.
1926 - George IV.
1927 - George V (RK 4907).
1929 - George VI (UL 656).
1932 - George VII (GW 2275). This machine has been in the sole possession of Mr John Weebly of Ringwood for the past 23 years.
George VIII was being built when to Lawrence died and it was never delivered.
 

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"One of the doctors attending him was the neurosurgeon, Hugh Cairns. He was profoundly affected by the incident and consequently began a long study of what he saw as the unnecessary loss of life by motorcycle dispatch riders through head injuries and his research led to the use of crash helmets by both military and civilian motorcyclists. As a consequence of treating Lawrence, Sir Hugh Cairns ultimately saved the lives of many motorcyclists since."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T._E._Lawrence

+1
 

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And to think that my dad's pal had a Brough and sidecar in bits in his garage in Lennoxtown, near Glasgow, and in 1981 if I had only asked.....and it was the model with fuel that ran through the sidecar frame............makes me want to weep.
 

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I respect that feeling...

But I for one would not want to ride on an ancient bike.

I understand nostalgia and the value of vintage pieces, but as far as riding give me the latest. Vehicles are about technology, and technology, unlike philosophy, gets better fast as years pass.

I rode many a Triumph and Norton in the Seventies, but I rather have my 2007 America any day.
 

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I love that post, thanks Barry. The great thing is reading it I feel like I am out for a ride with T.E.

Lawrence was a brave man, morally troubled, colorful and altogether fascinating. Some of his records were sealed for 50 years, other are still classified. You gotta love a guy who blows up Nazi trains.

I have read several books on him. The last one I read" The Secret Life of Lawrence of Arabia" really looked through his old letters and interviewed many people who knew him. The book implied that Lawrence was even more tortured than previously thought.

Just think of the road he was on! No pavement at all, dirt and mud and no such thing as highway safety. What a pair he had to race a plane on a muddy path. 100mph!!!!! Wow!!!

I love this line - "So long as roads were tarred blue and straight; not hedged; and empty and dry, so long I was rich."
 

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A very nice read. The style reminds me of "The Seven Pillars of Wisdom"; his book about his Middle Eastern experiences. Lawrence wrote with great emotion and had a way of putting you in a place with him. A pity that he was tortured emotionally. However, that's what makes the gift of his writing all the more meaningful: he shared the best parts of his life with us.
 

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Hey my grandad was actually on the western front,got gassed and was on a war pension for the rest of his life[died in 56]His 5 sons also served in ww2 ,from Western Africa to D day ,including the liberation of Belsen ,I wish grandad had been born with a silver spoon in his err mouth J>B>
 

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Hey my grandad was actually on the western front,got gassed and was on a war pension for the rest of his life[died in 56]His 5 sons also served in ww2 ,from Western Africa to D day ,including the liberation of Belsen ,I wish grandad had been born with a silver spoon in his err mouth J>B>
So was my grandpa -- although he started out on the other side in the Hungarian (as in Austro-Hungarian Empire, allied w/Germany) artillery. He had a disagreement with his captain who wanted to shell their own trenches before they were overrun by the British. As the captain would not see that this was a terrible breach of good manners, Grandpa shot him and then crossed no-man's land to defect to the British side, where he was put to work as a litter carrier.

After the war, he continued in his new trade during the influenza epidemic in London, ultimately purchasing a one-way ticket to America.
 

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I say, "Good for Grandpa!!!"

Here's another Lawrence quote I like.

All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.

 

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One of the better western front books out there is called A Storm in Flanders, it's about the battle of the Somme. You have to read it to really know what happen there. Most people are clueless to what the British and Commonwealth troops had to endure there for King and country.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
My grandfather was at the Somme, and (so he said) saw the famous football match at Christmas!
He was invalided out through frost bite? and would you believe it recovered in time to go back to passiondale where he got shot in the same foot!

Unfortunately he never spoke that much and | was to young to realize what I could have learned from him before he died @ 85

Barry
 

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Wow Hobbit, how cool. Those old combat vets usually do not talk much about it.

True story - my great grandfather put his arm up in the trench to intentionally get shot and off the front line. Later, after a marital spat my great grandmother tried to turn him in to the authorities for it.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Wow Hobbit, how cool. Those old combat vets usually do not talk much about it.

True story - my great grandfather put his arm up in the trench to intentionally get shot and off the front line. Later, after a marital spat my great grandmother tried to turn him in to the authorities for it.
Amazing, what is they say about a women scorned!!
 

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Yeh I'm surprised I did'nt get shot down on this one(NO PUN INTENDED)-but there is another motorcycle link in my own family history as my uncle Frank was a despatch rider in west africa during ww2,before he got there he rode motorcycles alot-in a loose bunch of guys nicknamed The Morley Suicide Club,I guess its in the err :)J.B.
 

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but there is another motorcycle link in my own family history as my uncle Frank was a despatch rider in west africa during ww2,before he got there he rode motorcycles alot-in a loose bunch of guys nicknamed The Morley Suicide Club,I guess its in the err :)J.B.
What kind bike did your uncle Frank ride in west africa?
 
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