IT’S IN THE BLOOD: Jenny’s biking family spans three generations


You could say she was born to it.

Jenny in contemplative mood.

Jenny in contemplative mood.

Jenny Baumfield’s involvement with motorcycles is an interest she shares with both maternal and paternal grandparents.

Jenny's involvement with motorcycles began at an early age.

Jenny’s involvement with motorcycles began at an early age.

Not to mention other family members. As the photograph on the back cover of her History of the Nelson Motorcycle Club testifies, she learnt about the importance of maintenance at 9 months.

Small hands and fingers are a great advantage when cleaning Uncle's  bike at 9 months,

Small hands and fingers are a great advantage when cleaning Uncle’s bike at 9 months,

She had her first motorbike, a BSA Bantam at Intermediate school and the rest, as they say, is history. But her interests don’t stop there.  When she spoke at our society’s March meeting her real topic was her latest publication: Nelson 1914.  In this book she seeks to paint a picture of Nelson on the eve of the Great War 100 years ago.  As she perused the issues of the Nelson Mail and the Colonist for that year, she selected for each month items which she felt were particularly relevant and arranged them under thematic headings: transport, education etc.  In doing so she presents a fascinating picture of small town provincial life in one of our earliest European settlements.

Jennifer Baumfield: history teacher, feline friend and motorcycle rider with her diverse range of publications.

Jennifer Baumfield: history teacher, feline friend and motorcycle rider with her diverse range of publications.

With the beginnings of motorised transport, Nelson had its share of “teething troubles.”  Speed was an issue and visibility at night.  The water supply was troublesome as was the low pressure of the gas supply.  Summer drought – then as now – could cause even a Catholic priest to be taken to court by the Inspector of Public Nuisances for wasting water – allowing a tap watering a rhubarb plant to be left unattended.  A conviction, however, did not result because the question of who turned on the tap could not be established: local larrikins or the priest’s clever house cow?  There were cesspools in the town and the nightcart still did its rounds.   Road surfaces were bad and the outspoken local independent MP, Harry Atmore, could be a thorn in the side as well as an embarrassment to the Mayor.

The community, however, was very good at rallying around.  Without accident compensation in place, people realised the need for helping out when disaster struck.  Even children would break into their moneyboxes for a good cause.

Three of Jenny's publications to date.

Three of Jenny’s publications to date.

However, the book Jenny has the most personal involvement with is probably her publication on cats entitled “Our Furry Family” (with profits going to the SPCA).  She has had over 35 cats in her time so her love for the species is unquestioned.  Her near death experience at the same time that her most valued cat was run over gave everyone “pause for thought.”  Another incident involving a dead cat and its replacement could be entitled: “A Curious Coincidence.”  You will need to read the book for more information on this one.

Society members form an attentive audience.

Society members form an attentive audience.

Jenny is a fluent speaker and we all enjoyed the 50 minutes she took out of her busy schedule as a teacher, writer and motorcycle rider to share with us the things in life that mean the most to her.

Maryann thanks Jenny for her fascinating talk.

Maryann thanks Jenny for her fascinating talk.

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