MEMORIES OF BRIAN HODGES “THE CAMERA MAN”
By TONY ROUT
What can we say against Brian Hodges ”Tich” to his friends. Generous, industrious, always willing to help others at his own expense, husband, father and grandfather, but most of all a trials enthusiast. A lifelong motorcycle devotee, he had a reputation as a good mechanic and he helped the local lads repair their bikes, including me.
Then call up to the Army for two years. Here he honed his skills in “taking the mick” out of the Corporals and Sergeants. One year was spent in Aden, which is a very hot country and I remember going into the Bull at Brenchley one Christmas and seeing a tiny dark skinned Indian like man crouched over the fire. It was Tich! Back home he soon put all his weight back on.
By then his younger brother Robin “Minnow”had started riding Trials and we went off to Trials in the winter and Grasstrack in summer.
One ambitious trip was in 1962 to the Intercentre Grasstrack Championships on his old, ridged, Triumph tiger 100 outfit with Robin in the chair and me pillion. The destination was from Brenchley to Pershore in Gloucestershire, about 140miles.
We set out at 7am, got there at 1pm and back at midnight frozen to the marrow and very saddle sore! Only one breakdown to adjust a slipping clutch.
Then married life took over for many years.
Late seventies, when Robin started riding again, Brian and I joined the Owls and got involved with organizing events etc.
In the eighties Brian got the video bug. Instead of just walking round, following his brother, Brian started filming the Trials riders. The early ones were not as good as he only got the riders feet!
They quickly improved and video nights at the clubhouse were very popular. This soon expanded to a regular Tuesday night showing in each of our houses with drinks and snacks provided.
Tich, Robin and I had a pencherant of giving the hundreds of riders nicknames. They only had to vaguely resemble someone well known to be lumbered with names like Gene Hickman, Captain Mannering, Kojak, and Max Wall etc. etc.
Brian also had a habit of calling out “Well done” to a rider just before they fell off in the mud!
Another ruse we had concerned cousin Wally Hodges. He was living in a cottage by the old Seven Mile lane near the church. When we drove slowly past early on Sunday morning we would all lean out of the window and shout out as loudly as possible WALLY! Always wonder if he knew who it was!!
Brian also hated bureaucracy of any kind, but came up against it many times in his career as a plumber.
One funny story is the time he and peter were called out to a public building in the middle of winter to repair the water system. This called for a key to unlock the door to the roof. They were told the woman dealing with job applications had the key, so Brian approached her in his working clothes and she says “yes what sort of job would you like my man?” Instantly he replied “Yours will do very nicely and you can go up on the roof and fix the plumbing”
We had many a good long weekend away following the South East Team in the national Team Trials competition. This took us from Cornwall to Northumberland, Hampshire to Lancashire, Devon to Yorkshire and East Sussex to Mid Wales.
I always did the hotel/ doss house bookings and made certain if we shared a room we had separate beds, just to put Bobs mind at rest.
Brilliant events, sadly gone now.
The list of happy times is a long one and Brian would always say “we had the best years ever” and I know he was right
Goodbye old Mate
Brian was often at Tenterden centre events beavering away with his video camera, whilst giving a running commentary to those within earshot.
He will be missed by us all. Another character gone and fondly remembered.