All the Johns I have known

Tell us your ongoing tales and experiences with your French car here. Post pictures of your car here as well.

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Dormouse
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Re: All the Johns I have known

Post by Dormouse »

Now, I feel I have been a tad harsh about Deputy Dawg. While we never became BFFs, we did meet up regularly at car club nights and events and he was instrumental in me meeting Partco Alan. That in itself could start a whole new "All the Alan's I have known" with Checkpoint Alan, Autosave Alan and Dingbro Alan but I wont go there, yet. Dawg and I did get on ok, just not bosom buddies.
Juan, however, made lasting changes to my life and outlook and I am forever grateful to him for taking me into his Rally World. We had a lot of laughs, a lot of hard work and long hours and I learned a lot about a lot,, if you get my drift. Two stand out moments for me are the time he missed the ferry from Dunoon back to Greenock because he nipped back to the shops to buy cigars and the "dancing on the table" moment when he won his Rally Class in his second year.
We warned him not to nip to the shops because we were really close to sailing time. I don't think he was amused when we waved back to him as the ferry sailed and he came running down the jetty waving his arms to stop! He was even less amused when he arrived on the next ferry to find us in the hotel up the road, all 3 sheets to the wind and he was the only sober driver to take the "barge" back to Aberdeen! cue "We are Sailing"
In only his second season at serious Stage Rallying he won his class. At the final event in Callander he had invited heaps of friends and work colleagues on the basis that he had all but clinched enough points and, barring DNF, we was pretty secure in his position. I even took LOML along too to join in the celebrations. By the end of the night after some good going celebrations, he found a red table cloth somewhere and tied it round his neck, Superman style, and proceeded to get up on the wooden trestle tables followed by mostly female work mates and danced away to the band for ages.. He was on cloud 9. Next morning he looked like death warmed up and his wallet was even worse but he was still smiling. And it is that smile I will always carry in memories.
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Re: All the Johns I have known

Post by Dormouse »

myglaren wrote:
09 Jun 2021, 08:17
And another two.
Both John Dryden.
One the friend of a friend, the other my brother in law, late wife's twin brother.

I have a filter on my memory that randomises everything and only allows the odd unconnected item through
I know what you mean. My memory seems to work in weird patterns sometimes and, at others, it is pin sharp.
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myglaren
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Re: All the Johns I have known

Post by myglaren »

When mine is pin sharp it usually turns out to be completely wrong.
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mickthemaverick
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Re: All the Johns I have known

Post by mickthemaverick »

Oh no it doesn't!! :-D
Dormouse
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Re: All the Johns I have known

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Time for another John I think. I first met Doctor John through Partco Alan because they both were members of the TR Register. At that time he was really Trainee Doctor John and had a TR6 road car and a Hillman Imp rally car. Alan introduced/conned me into finding out why John's TR6 kept chewing up rear diff mounts.
The very first time I met him was in the "Coach House" garage of his "cottage" in the west end of Aberdeen. The cottage was in the rear grounds of a big house and you got to it up a well maintained lane at the back of the property. There was John, fully gowned up in 2 sets of surgeons' gowns, hats and masks with 3 pairs of surgical gloves on, working on his Imp. Why? Because he was on call as a junior doctor and his phone (Landline) could have rung at any time for him to go urgently into "work". His reasoning was quite simple. The gowns and gloves were very quick to change, covered you up well and, if the bottom set was not soiled, he could arrive dressed to look the part!
Anyway, TR6. I asked him to show what was wrong after I couldn't see anything obvious having had a crawl around the back. So we got in the TR. He shot off and immediately did a handbrake turn in a lane that barely looked wide enough. Shoot back up the lane and then did a full hard stop, immediately hitting reverse and then flick turned it to face the other way. "Did you hear that?" he said. Poor bloody car I thought. Sorry for the "french" - it just feels appropriate in this circumstance.
This was the first of many times I sat in a car with a rally driver and wondered about my own sanity.
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mickthemaverick
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Re: All the Johns I have known

Post by mickthemaverick »

Hmmmmmmm!
Hmmmmmmm!
Dormouse
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Re: All the Johns I have known

Post by Dormouse »

Often felt I needed to be sitting on one of these. Rally Driver's are the ones carrying their brains in a bucket. Navigator's are the ones wearing their helmets back to front so they can't see what's heading towards them. Service crew are the ones you left behind to go the long way round but still expect to be there when you arrive.
PS Juan is alive and well using his preferred Shuggy nickname and is building a soft top TR7 mega V8 by all accounts.
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Re: All the Johns I have known

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Back to Doctor John. John was, for a few years, the Chief Medical Officer for the Granite City Rally. My job was to ferry him about and make sure the Medical Car was always available for an emergency response, with or without John. I managed to borrow the 4x4 Nissan King Cab from the local potato merchant as it made an excellent MO vehicle. Long bed for casualty recovery but an extended cubby cab that let me carry all of Doctor John's kit securely inside. It would have matched an air ambulance such was the thoroughness of his preparations. Now, being a Rally Official's vehicle and a Medical Emergency Vechicle it was fitted with two sets of radios and huge green flashing lights (yes, green) and it had to be scrutineered exactly like a competition car. That's why I needed it for 3 days so it could be prepped, used and then de prepped and checked over again before it was returned.
On one memorable day up around Clashindarroch we heard reports on both radio channels of a serious incident but the radio reception was poor and John wasn't sure if proper cover was available, so we we hit the greens and he said get there as fast as possible as he continued to try to use the radios to get info and report we were on our way. Well, by the end of a ditch hooking very quick dash, John was now sure I wasn't a Miss Daisy and, when it was all over, asked if I would not be so enthusiastic next time he said "go fast" to which I replied "now you know how your co drivers feel"
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Dormouse
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Re: All the Johns I have known

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You may have noticed I stated "with or without John". This was to ensure the vital medical equipment was never "log jammed" inside a blocked stage. The CMO car had to be available at all times for any doctor to avail themselves of. John, however, was not averse to hitching a lift in the Course Car to get a run through the stage/talk "strategic planning" with the Clerk of the Course! Your's truly still had to get to the the other end of the stage to pick him up - ie, the long way round. I still had to do the radio bit and report/listen to the Medical channel for instructions.
The first time he did it was on a particularly long fast stage and, trust me, the Course cars don't hang about in there. The first car is the Time Keeper. He makes sure the marshals are in post and the stage is ready. Second car in is usually the Clerk of the Course and his car is well on speed to wake the spectators and the marshals up. The third car in (usually) is best described as a high speed snow plough to scare the living daylights out of any errant spectators/marshals. Then the competitors are set off at 1 min intervals when the Clerk of the Course declares the Stage in full use.
When John got to the passage control at the end of the stage his chariot was waiting for him! How? Medical Vehicles are exempt from following the Official Route and years of night navigation rallies had given me the insight to knowing which were the quickest roads to use.
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Dormouse
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Re: All the Johns I have known

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Now, being stuck outside the stages with the CMO car is a real bummer for a rally fan but, hey ho, someone has to do it as they say. The regulations stopped us entering a stage but it didn't stop us parking in a firebreak road beside it. John decided he would be supplementary MO at a stage near Stonehaven. It had a Double Caution bend in the middle and every rally fan worth their salt knew this meant rolls and crashes. It had lots of marshals, a radio post, a static GP on site, a Saint Johns ambulance (also in the firebreak road) and the Stage Commander was a medic too. So, off we trotted for a full 30yds and reported to the Stage Commander.
All was going as expected and there were masses of spectators (behaving themselves) and a handful of photographers (not behaving themselves).
The Double Caution bend was at the end of a fast section going down a slope into a right hand bend and history said there would be a few rolls and there were. But this year was at a whole new level of excitement. Why? Because a young Colin "crash it or win it" McRae in his Nova was on the entry list. Right on cue he barrelled down the slope and rolled off and ended up straddled on top of a tree stump. Hordes of fans tried to lift him off but it was taking too long so Colin screamed at them to roll him off and then back on his wheels. The crowds dutifully did it and off he shot to the delight of his fans and the photographers. Colin, God rest his cotton socks, was living up to his early reputation and the rest is history as they say.
Last edited by Dormouse on 17 Jun 2021, 09:50, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: All the Johns I have known

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Now all of you are going to be well bored with all these rallying anecdotes so, just to prove there is life outside motorsport, I am going to talk about G gauge.
One of Doctor John's abiding passions was railway modelling. That and shooting. In fact, one wall of the loft above his 4 car garage was all about model trains from Z gauge to G gauge. Not content with rows of glass cabinets, he had an outside G gauge rail layout around his garden elevated on 12" wooden piers so he could cut the grass. It was about 300 ft of track by the time he was finished and it all started inside a wooden garden shed with holes cut in the sides to let his trains come inside to his own "marshalling yard" or just scoot off on different layouts.
He used to pack 2 suitcases one inside the other when he went on holiday to the States because he would fill the second case with Carriages, Track, and The "occasional" Loco. Prices in the States were in dollars what he would have paid in pounds here and at one point you were getting almost 2 dollars to the pound! Those were the days!
John didn't really buy many American style locomotives - he preferred the European style - but track, carriages and scenery he bought by the suitcase load. His collection was impressive especially on a warm summer's evening when the Gin was flowing and his dogs chased the trains round the garden.
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Re: All the Johns I have known

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On to my next John - Big John. What links Big John to Doctor John is that they both caused eyebrows to be raised in my wife's ward. How? Doctor John ( now Consultant John) was doing a ward round prior to his day's surgery and as soon as he saw LOML, he strode up and immediately gave her a huge hug. The collective dropping of jaws from doctors and ward sister downwards was palpable. The " how does a nurse know a Consultant" question was deafening by it's silence! But, that was Doctor John all over.
Big John, one of the charge nurses, later joked about LOML and Doctor John and made the mistake of slapping the side of her hip with the back of his hand ( in the days when PC hadn't kicked in and men weren't afraid to be seen as friends and colleagues in a female dominated environment). He recoiled in pain as the back of his hand stung. Now, LOML will not argue when I describe her as having a figure (and temperament) of a cartoon Tasmanian Devil, and she has no womanly padding around her hips. Big John hit hard bone when he least expected it and it hurt him more than LOML. "That will teach you" she said. "And it's none of your business", much to the amusement of the rest of the staff.
Big John was called Big because he was. You got a crick in your neck every time you tried to speak to him face to face. He had to duck under door lintels. But him and his wife were a great couple and Big John was an excellent nurse and we all got on fine. I especially remember the Ward Day Out that was a walk over the hills from Glen Doll finishing with a Pig Roast at the end. If you wanted to spot where the main group was you just looked for Big John and the rest were underneath him on the horizon. Me! I was part Sherpa/part Shepherd as I walked back and forth helping the stragglers up the steep bits/down the steep bits and all the other bits in between. Big John was warned to keep a decent plate of Pig Roast for me or I would set the Tazzy Devil on him. He did.
For all his good points, however, he was not one to roll over to his seniors. Mind you, neither was Tazzy Devil and quite a few of the staff back then. As a result, this lead to the likes of Big John being passed over when rightful promotions came along to the point where he left the NHS and worked offshore in the Oil Industry. He went on to become an ANP (advanced nurse practicioner) well before they became common in replacing junior doctors and made more money offshore too.
If there is a point to this diatribe, it is the prudish, cleekiness that pervades our society that holds back the real deserving workers and that is exactly what Big John personifies for me.
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Re: All the Johns I have known

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Time for Automatic John now , I think. Automatic John had one of those telephone voices that immediately attracted my wife's attention. She also said she loved my telephone voice but left "it" unsaid when she commented on John's appearance in real life not matching her expectations and then looking at me.
Automatic John smoked a pipe and owned a rather rare Daimler XJ coupe. His workshop was a magnet for all sorts of people, like Chunky - the nicest, gentlest person around until he put on his motocrossing helmet. John got quite a bit of work from Offshore Oil companies once they realised he was capable (and cheaper) at rebuilding transmissions. John reckoned there wasn't anything he wouldn't try to work on and he had a lot of knowledgeable friends in the trade to call on. He was super pernicketty. I once gave him a hand to remove a car transmission 3 times until he was satisfied it performed to his standards.
I showed John the article on a racing conversion of a AP Mini autobox and he seemed to think that it was feasible. So, every BMC AP box that came in after that, he gave me the job of stripping and inspecting before I could get a cup of coffee. Funny, he never let me rebuild customers boxes, only my own ones.
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Re: All the Johns I have known

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Automatic John like me would eventually succumb to telephone fever and take a break where phones were few and far between. His destination of choice was Rannoch Moor Hotel because he loved the long drive out across the open moor. That and his favourite whisky on the shelf in the bar. He reckoned that both helped him relax and rewind.
He didn't have many hobbies/distractions and his long suffering girl friend was very tolerant of his "variable working hours" but, come teatime, his workshop became a magnet for all sorts of interesting people. If John was still working then there was a hierarchy of tasks to take part in or you got the dunt. If you could assist in any way with the job in hand you did. If you could not assist in the job you went out and got the fine pieces in and had the coffee (and tea) on and made sure it was available in copious amounts at the right time. Automatic John suffered hanger on's poorly.
The upside of this was that the people allowed to remain were all from diverse backgrounds and the craich was excellent. Some people only stopped for half an hour but the conversations were always absorbing. I reckon that this camaraderie kept us all sane and made us better people and I have to applaud John for his discerning taste in mates.
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Re: All the Johns I have known

Post by Dormouse »

Graphic content. DO NOT read if squeamish!

I am going to combine two Johns here. One very real and one very definitely fictitious to protect his identity and all those like him.

I am also going add the caveat that if you are at all squeamish DO NOT read this post. There, I have said it twice so you have been well warned.

This is the tale of two John's. J D and Para John. J D loves his boy's toys _ Beemers, motorcyles, and golf. Para John was an ambulance driver in black serge when I first met him and he graduated onto being a paramedic in greens as time went by.
J D has/hopefully had the undying faith that he was a superb biker. He believes/hopefully no longer that what ever he does is his choice and his choice alone and doesn't involve anyone else. Until one day he just didn't quite make that pass against on coming traffic on his sports bike and ended up with a completely shattered right ankle as he glanced of the off the bumper and headed for the greenery. Lucky? Well that depends. He had lots of other sore bits, a shattered bike along with points on his licence and a long spell in hospital. To boot, he needed lots of care at home, physio, and it wasn't guaranteed his ankle would ever be right again. What about the driver he overtook? What about the two drivers coming towards him? What about his wife and family? It won't matter how many questions I ask there are always going to those who justify J D's rights.
Let's move on to Para John. A nicer, amiable man you could not meet- until you get to know him as close friend. One fateful day early in our friendship it turned out he was called to an RTA. It involved police, fire brigade, and ambulance. A combine driver had been moving his machine from a field on one side of the road to the field on the other side. he had pulled up onto the verge and left as much room as possible as he went to open the gate into the new field. It was a clear day, no fog or rain, low hedges, all his lights/flashers on, reasonable space to pass the combine yet, for some reason no one has ever fathomed, a biker came blatting round the gentle bend and impaled himself in the combine. More than one of the responders threw up when they saw the sight. The combine driver never worked on a farm again. It took hours to investigate and clear the site. Dozens of people were involved one way or another. The speed at impact was officially designated as in excess of the speed limit. Another family and friends were grieving and couldn't find answers.
Let's concentrate on Para John. John and I belonged to a few local clubs together like the Fishing Club. It was at one such meeting that invariably involved meeting up in the pub that he admitted to me that no matter how much he tried, events like the one above haunted him. Since most other people's idea was to go to the pub to meet up, because that solved everything, he was fearful that he would just end up drowning his sorrows in alcohol with no other outlet for his anxieties/nightmares. Back then PTDS was poo pooed. "Friends" wouldn't speak about it and backed off not wanting to get involved, bosses stuck their heads where the sun don't shine. What was he going to do other than get bluttered to wipe out the pain! After a long heart to heart and a another long chat with our wives we all decided that John could have the bottom half of our garden as an allotment where he didn't have to go to the pub or vegetate at home and they could borrow our Humber Sceptre for days out and even holidays (John didn't have a car, ambulance drivers weren't paid a lot). The neighbour's rumour mill went into overdrive when John spent lot's of time in his new allotment and having cups of tea with my wife while I was working but who gives a F***. What they didn't know they just made up! The same people would have shunned him if he talked about His Weakness. Hell mend them. John, and lots like him, face these things day in, day out. So who actually gives a S***. Me for one.