The Parish Church of St George the Martyr, Waterlooville


On 11th November Mr Jim Bettey and his wife Jean came to give us a very interesting talk and showed us slides of their trip to Morocco on Wheels.

Eighteen months ago Jim and Jean had their 1991 BMW Motor Bike transported by Moto Motors to Morocco. This cost 150. Then they flew with ‘Blue Atlas’ which was only French speaking to Morocco. They had maps, phone numbers and back up facilities if they should be required.

There were only two women in the group, the photographs of the Moroccan women were taken by Jean or the other lady in the group because the men would not be allowed to take pictures of any females in that country, it is forbidden to have any contact with them.

One member of the group, Nobby Clarke has since died from a heart attack on 27 August 2009.

It was very hot, 50c in Morocco. It took four hours to fly there. There is a population of 34 million. The largest city is Casablanca.

They stayed in a hotel called La Memara. One slide showed a line of horses with carts behind them, waiting for someone to come along to be transported somewhere, this is called Horse Park Parade. Jim said it was very smelly and the British people had a different name for this Parade due to the smell of the manure.

They went around the market at Marrakech. Jim bought two watches. One stopped almost immediately but the other is still working.

Vic, another member of the group, unfortunately had a crash on his bike. He was lucky that there was a crash barrier at the side of the road, most roads do not have one! He had some cuts and grazes on his legs. Whilst his bike was being sorted out Jim collapsed at the side of the road and was unconscious for 17 hours; he had food poisoning. Jean had to arrange for the bikes to be picked up and then Jim and Jean were taken to the Land Rover and driven to the next hotel by which time Jim had come round, otherwise he was told that he could have been taken to hospital if he was unconscious any longer. When he did feel better he drank two litres of water.

On the second day they got back on their bikes and rode to Fez arriving late evening. They stayed in Hotel Batha. Jim was told to eat seven boiled eggs which did the trick and he had no more upset stomach trouble after that, whereas most of the group did have at one time or another.

Jim liked the Berber town with the snow on the mountains. They were given Mint Tea which is what the locals all drink, they don’t drink alcohol.

They saw donkeys carrying huge loads and the women carrying heavy things and the men walking along with a stick prodding the women to keep moving.

There are sometimes no doors or windows in the houses, at night a sheet of tin is put up to cover the gap in the doorway of the house.

Taxis will not go to a destination until full; he will keep calling out to anyone do they want to go to wherever and he won’t drive off until all the seats are filled in the car.

Priscilla Barlow

Winter Edition 2011

St George’s Ladies Group