Gripping Yarns Part 6: Tandems, Trailers, Scrumping and a Jazz Bonus

The dictionary definition of scrumping is “steal (fruit) from an orchard or garden”.

As teenagers back in East Kent in the 1950s when we went scrumping it never even crossed our minds that we might be stealing. For us it was an adventure which sometimes really did bear fruit. But not on the occasion of this gripping yarn when without doubt we got our comeuppance!

Me seated in the trailer and Ian on the right (the tandem is out of site) Herne Bay Carnival circa 1956/7. Sorry, no photos of the upturned tandem and trailer in the ditch!

My school chum Ian had a tandem plus a trailer, to which we added a canopy and decorated it to enter as a float in Herne Bay Carnival processions (perhaps more about that in another Gripping Yarn). Then came the day when we cycled along the country lanes heading for orchards beyond Marshside, Boyden Gate and Chislet. Bingo! First stop on the right was an orchard of trees laden with bright red apples. Soon the trailer was full and we were ready to head back home along the country lanes.

But we had been spotted and the farmer and his tractor lay in wait for us out of site around a bend. Next thing tandem plus trailer laden with apples were hurtling full speed along the country lanes.

There was a bright red sunset that night and our furious farmer was gaining on us fast. Until we reached Chitty Lane.

Chitty Lane was renowned for its bends. And alongside it ran a deep ditch. Soon we discovered that one tandem, two cyclists and a trailer full of apples simply couldn’t negotiate a double zed bend at high speed.

Ian and I ended up at the bottom of the ditch beneath one tandem, a trailer load of apples and fire in the sky. We were saved!

Saved you ask?

Yes, because the farmer and his tractor hurtled on past the ditch in furious but now vain pursuit!

Sequel to the adventure – no more scrumping!

A Bonus: Deeper into East Kent Burt Butler’s Jazz Pilgrims filmed at
Ramsgate Seaside Shuffle Festival 2016. Double click on the YouTube for full view:

Peter M Butler
Editor & Proprietor Jazz&Jazz

(Photos & YouTubes © Peter M Butler, Jazz&Jazz)


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