A few weeks ago there was an article and photo in The Sun newspaper about an old guy who dug up and restored to show condition his mate’s BSA A10 bike.
This is my version.
Back in the sixties, as the wages got better and everyone wanted ‘a nice little car’, you couldn't give away old bikes. My mate Reg couldn’t sell or even give away his rigid framed A10 Goldflash and sidecar. He lived with his parents and was getting all sorts of grief from them about getting rid of it. So he had the bright idea of burying the old Beezer and laying a patio on top of it.
Reg died of cancer in 1993 and I was the only one who remembered the outfit was there. When I retired I often thought about the bike and wondered what sort of condition it would be in now. It was a mad idea but I thought it could be rebuilt as there’s been some cracking old bikes in the magazines found in worse places.
With my son, I got permission from the owners of the house to dig up the combination, on the understanding that I leave the patio as I found it.
We got cracking one hot sunny day and soon had the handle bars showing through the soft soil. Although they were almost rusted through, we found the actual frame and other parts were in reasonable condition.
I only really wanted the bike, but had said I would shift the sidecar as well. It was well rotted and fell apart as we went to pull it out. I started digging some more as my son pulled at the fabric cover. Suddenly he jumped back with a start and shouted to me.
His face was as white as the sheet he was holding. He pointed down into the hole & I followed his shaking finger. Grinning up at us was the bleached, mummified skull of a woman, her long hair still clinging to what skin remained.
Of course we phoned the police and they took over from there.
It all came out at the inquest. The girl had been bashed on the head and obviously dumped in the chair. From records and missing persons reports it turned out she was called Irene. That was a shock as I remember Reg was going out with her for some time.
She was a good looking girl. I remember she wore tight jeans and pullovers, with a pony tail in her long hair.
How she ended up buried in an old sidecar under the patio is anyone’s guess, but in the body of the chair was a rusty old monkey wrench which had been used to crack her skull open. I used to kid him that he didn’t know how to use any other tools but that wrench and it was always close to hand in his shed.
I don’t suppose we’ll ever know the full story. I’ve since fully renovated the bike, as a sort of labour of love, but it’ll never lose its aura of unease to me.