UK 1981. Bought an 850 MkIIa Commando in need of work. Rebuilt the engine in the porch of our farm cottage. It ran beautifully on completion. Was living in Kent and it was a blast to be zooming around English country roads.

Just after I finished the Norton a good friend loaned me his original and untouched T150 Trident. It was interesting to be able to make a comparison between the two bikes.

I decided to attend the 1981 IOM TT, and thus fitted the enormous Craven topbox that came with the bike. I was very excited by the prospect of such a trip. The IOM was like Mecca to all the Brit bike owners I had spent my time with in New Zealand. Being this close it would be a sin not to.

Everyone who worked on the farm where I was living had bits of advice about visiting the IOM. This chap was telling me that I had to stop and pay my respects to the fairies at Braddan Bridge as soon as I got there.

As it happened - I did. Good luck is always to be encouraged.

I travelled to the island with a friend on a Vincent 1000. He had a small tent and lots of other stuff bungeed to a plywood decked carrier on the back of his bike. Bits of his luggage had a constant habit of falling on the road. As I was usually following him I became rather adept at picking it up - to the point that I could do so without stopping.

Fortunately the tent survived, and here we are set up at what is now called Glen Lough Camp Site, halfway up Ballahutchin Hill, and walking distance to our breakfast cafe at Ballagarey.

It was also walking distance to the Railway Hotel at Union Mills. So that was nice.

We teamed up with a neighbour at the camp, he was a motorcycle courier from London, and as such was perceived to lead a charmed life - seeing as how he was still here.

We three toured the island together, inbetween bouts of getting lost and checking my friend John's map.

It was a very pleasant place to be.

Henry Norton followed me back to New Zealand where he got a bit of overdue maintenance and some local numberplates.

He was duly sold in order to fund yet another Norton from the UK.

C'est la vie.