July 4, 2014
Writing this – or at least starting to write this – on a morning flight from Israel to Amsterdam.
First thing to tell you is that my flight, which was scheduled to depart at 06.10 (but actually got away 1 1/2 hours late) was not an exceptionally early flight.
I was up at 3.15 and took the taxi at 4.00, getting me to the airport at about 4.20. It was jam-packed… So busy. Thank God I have a loyalty card and was able to bypass most of the waiting hordes.
First flight out was at 4.35. There were perhaps 40 more flights before my departure. This may be a tiny country, but there sure are lots of folks arriving and departing.
Much of the reason for this ‘early-bird’ system is, again, political. Most European airlines fly in late and leave early – with no overnight for the crew. It is very normal for me to depart so early, and also to arrive home at some ungodly hour.
I must tell you about Eyal Dagan, unassuming guy, if ever I met one…Yesterday, Aviva informed me we had a nail in a tyre and it needs ‘sorting out’ before I leave. So I went to our neighbourhood tyre service. And while they’re taking care of the tyre, I again have the opportunity of looking around the premises, which I already knew held some incredible secrets.
Eyal, and his farther before him, are classic motor enthusiasts, primarily 2-wheel. He has some quite incredible examples of practically all famous motorbikes. And they are everywhere – above, behind, hanging, stored…you name it, it’s somewhere there. This is not a museum, it’s almost a junkyard. But the junk is at least interesting, if not very valuable.
And the junk includes everything! Of course miniatures of cars and bikes, walls of licence plates, wheels etc. But there is also so much more: old irons and kettles, scales and telephones, and 2 cages of budgerigars… everything.
Let me show you –
A selfie of me and some licence plates
Picturesque wagon weheels
Some really lovely model cars, ands in the background, this basket case!
Those bikes above include BSAs, Triumphs, NSUs and names I’ve never heard of. And the picture on the right shows a photo of 1 of only 171 ‘Sabra’s, produced in Israel in the 60s….
Me and his 1924 Canadian Buick. He says it’s in perfect working order (unlike the valuable but very rusty bike in 3rd pic). Here is Eyal under a photo of his father with the same Buick. I have booked a chauffered ride some time next year, to celebrate my ….th birthday.
There are also around a dozen Vespa scooters, plus a couple of Lambrettas etc. He has an example of the Vespa with the headlamp over the front wheel (instead of the usual placement, on the ‘front face’. It also had chrome motorbike-like handlebars and slightly wider tyres. Apparently a rarity. (I had 2 Vespas around 1963-6. Made me very popular within my gang.
Many of the others had cars, but sitting behind me on my scooter, dodging in and out of the traffic, was a fun experience. My 2nd was a 180cc SS model. I bought it directly from Piaggi in Genoa. It never saw my home country of the UK. I had it during my apprenticeship in Austria. When I was due to be based in New York City for 1 year, my then-boss refused to allow me to bring the 2-wheeler over. It was not a safe way of getting round that city, he felt. I had to sell it before it was a year old…).