Horsepower at High Beech

advert
Posted on Jun 17 2014 - 10:42pm by
IMG_4031 copy
Being a cultured sorta chap, I instantly recognised the ad for Miller’s Tea Hut as the first line from The Teddy Bears’ Picnic, so naturally I assumed I was in for a big surprise but when I got there, it was exactly what I expected from a tea hut. You can pick up a cuppa or a can, sandwiches, biscuits and choccy bars — all at reasonable prices; and that in my humble opinion covers all the essentials for a spot where motorcyclists assemble.
IMG_4070 copy

It seems to me that once a location has become established as a bikers’ meeting point, there’s no need for the owners of the watering hole to make any inflated claims about the pre-eminence of their fare. Because as long as they can produce drinkable tea & coffee and something to stop it sloshing around — preferably without taking the piss too much on the price front — then on your average sunny Summer’s day they’re going to struggle to keep pace with demand.

IMG_4092 copy

Not that the Sunday we visited High Beech (19/6/05) was particularly average, at 33C it was the hottest recorded June day since the legendary Summer of ’76. So when we arrived at 10, the comparatively small parking area in the middle of the Corporation of London’s Epping Forest was already shimmering in the dusty heat. Stripped down bikers sat around on benches, while in an adjacent field horses grazed as a family of riders stood by chatting.

IMG_4027 copy

In the couple of hours we spent there, it was evident that it was a place where riders meet and talk — as often as not with total strangers — and it seemed to me that the conversation wasn’t all about horsepower. When we were at Box Hill, although I saw an enormous variety of machinery, right or wrong I came away with an impression that it was largely about the latest sports bikes and bhp. Whereas at High Beech it didn’t seem to matter if you were riding a single hp (measured at the hoof) grass reconstituting quadruped or a rubber shredding 130bhp bi-wheeler — all around us people seemed to be sitting around chatting amicably.

IMG_4185 copy

In my view the difference between Box Hill and High Beech, can best be summed up as the difference between Surrey and Essex. The quickest (and tackiest) way to illustrate this is a couple of typical ‘girl’ jokes.

IMG_4240 copy

Q: Why don’t Surrey girls indulge in group sex?

A: Because it’s such a chore having to write all those thank you letters afterwards.

IMG_4118 copy

Q: How does an Essex girl turn the light out after sex?

A: She shuts the car door.

IMG_4219 copy

So what am I saying, Surrey’s posh while Essex is proletariat?  Perhaps, but that’s an enormous generalisation — and besides you’ll know what suits you best. Personally I’ve had a soft spot for Essex girls ever since my teens. Unfortunately Billy Bragg has never quite managed to express why precisley, but if you’re familiar with Tom Waits’ “Jersey Girl” (they have the same reputation in the US as their sisters to the east of London have here) you’ll understand.

IMG_4225 copy

Dave Gurman

This feature first appeared in TRD issue 95 in July 2005. The hut is currently under threat, please take a moment to sign the “Save the Hut” petition and show your support.

 IMG_4221 copy IMG_4200 copy IMG_4196 copyIMG_4042 copy IMG_4175 copy IMG_4168 copy IMG_4157 copy IMG_4155 copy IMG_4154 copy IMG_4149 copy IMG_4147 copy IMG_4137 copy IMG_4118 copy IMG_4086 copy IMG_4057 copy IMG_4051 copy IMG_4012 copy IMG_4011 copy IMG_4009 copy

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

UKBEG

1 Comment so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Editor January 13, 2015 at 11:19 am - Reply

Leave A Response