Wednesday, February 25, 2009

In search of George Orwell's motorcycle.

Eric Arthur Blair-otherwise known as George Orwell-and his Rudge.

Via: Orwell Today

In "Jura and George Orwell" a book written by Mrs Nelson who was the wife of the Laird of Ardlussa, Robin Fletcher, from whom Orwell leased his cottage in Barnhill, Scotland in 1946-50.

"...Transport was varied and unreliable. To begin with they had a rowing boat with an outboard engine and a motor bicycle which was constantly breaking down. Eric spent many hours sitting beside the road tinkering with the engine and hoping that someone would appear who had more mechanical knowledge than he had. My older children remember him (Orwell) often coming to the house, usually in oilskins, wanting help. He often carried a scythe on the back of his motor bike with which to cut the rushes which grew rapidly in the middle of the road..."

Journalist, Allan Brown, went to Barnhill in search of Orwell's Rudge motorcycle which was rumoured to have been abandoned by Orwell when he left Jura, Scotland in 1950. Brown found no sign of the bike and the locals were unable to help him in his quest. However a letter arrived from someone who knew a little more of the story. It seems that Orwell took the Rudge down to the jetty on the day of his departure and sold it to the skipper of a small boat who plied a trade selling Calor Gas around the islands. He in turn sold it to a man at his next port of call (Colonsay) who used the bike until the end of its life and then scrapped it..."

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