Beverley Minster

It’s been pointed out to me in no uncertain terms (as they say) that not everyone is going to be as fascinated by Project 60/60 as I am. One man’s list of 60 things to do - or start doing - while he’s 60 is hardly the riveting raw material of cliffhangers and bated breath being, as it is, of direct interest and consequence mainly to the man whose list it is; the man who dreamed it up. Namely (of course) - me.

But I don’t agree. In my opinion, to draw that kind of conclusion is to miss the point. The idea here, in describing the success or otherwise of The Project, is to tell a story of One Man’s ‘Special’ Year; one man’s journey through a period he has deliberately designed to be challenging, sentimental and unknowable by turns. And the not very well hidden agenda is the hope that it may inspire bystanders, helpers, listeners, readers, blogsters and those directly or indirectly involved to transfer some of the impetus to their own lives, to absorb some of the ‘action’ and its consequences and to concoct projects and ideas of their own. If my plan works there’ll be a lot more than one story to tell when the year is up in December 2009.

I’ve dreamed up 60 items to go on the list. I’ve hoyed them all into a ragbag and drawn them out at random to draw up the final order of the list. So, in genuinely random order, the list starts like this...

Take a photograph every day at 1300....
This peculiar idea isn’t original; it’s part of the basic plot of one of my favourite films: Smoke. If you haven't seen it, you’re missing out bigtime! One of the protagonists - the owner of a small, street-corner tobacconist shop in Manhattan - takes a picture of his shop every morning at about 0800 just before he opens for business. He’s the first to admit that there’s no real reason why he does it - except that, since he started, he has a running record of New York street-life spanning all the seasons through many years of local change. Most of what his photographs show is insignificant and utterly unimportant in the Great Scheme of Things. But it becomes of more than passing interest to him and, through him, to his customers, all of whom are ‘ordinary’ people leading ‘ordinary’ lives. In fact, one of the purposes of the movie seems to be to show us that the ordinary lives of ordinary people can be wholly and totally extraordinary.

At first, I decided not to fix a time for my daily photo. I quickly realised, though, that I would find the temptation to ‘contrive’ my photo would become irresistible; that I would end up doing whatever it was I was photographing because I was photographing it. Whereas the idea, of course, is that the photo is an ‘extra’; that whatever is happening each day at 1300 would be happening whether I photographed it or not.

So be prepared for a pictorial narrative of the mundane and the predictable mixed - I hope - with the surprising and the unexpected. I’d be genuinely delighted - and fascinated - if you could see your way clear to join me for a while. Try it yourself, if only for a week or so, and we’ll compare notes.

I’ll be taking the first picture in this series of 365 at 1300 on Thursday 4 December. If you do the same - and it’s a digital picture, of course - send it to me and let’s see what we can make of 60/1.

The Aquarium...
I mentioned on The Nightshift a few months ago that an ex-colleague had ‘donated’ a brand-new unused aquarium kit to me. I have no idea how he came to possess it or why, possessing it, he had never actually taken it out of its box, filled it with water and put some fish in it, thus fulfilling the ultimate destiny of all aquariums. Er...aquaria?

Anyway, for whatever reason, he gave it to me. And now, it’s 60/2 of my Project.

As I’ve said on-air, I’ve always had a hankering to keep a small fish tank but, for one reason or another, I’ve never got round to it. Well I now have no excuses. 'I’ve got a little list' and the aquarium is on it. New skills and techniques to learn, new animal-keeping pleasures to experience. Grist - as it were - to the Project mill.

I know that, as far as exciting new adventures go, starting up a small fish tank isn’t in the same league as, say, taking the Inca Trail to Macchu Picchu. But everything’s relative; if you’ve never kept fish before, Macchu Picchu can wait.

Make a ‘pilgrimage’ to Beverley...
Three of the 60 items on my little list are ‘pilgrimages’ to some of my favourite places in England, discovered over 60 years of getting to know my native country. Beverley is one of the three. It’s not just a splendid little East Yorkshire town; it also has the very great good fortune to possess two of England’s most notable mediaeval churches - St Mary’s and the sumptuous Beverley Minster....

With the first three random items on the list I have an element of the ongoing ‘present’ (the daily photo), a challenge for the future (the fish tank) and a lifetime favourite from the past (Beverley).

Watch this space....

Post comments on this blog or contact me in any one (or more) of these ways....
text 07786 200954 (while the programme is on-air)
call (between about 0545 and 0630 Monday to Friday) 0191 232 6565
Ian Robinson, The Nightshift, BBC Radio Newcastle, Spital Tongues, Newcastle-upon-Tyne NE99 1RN

Please bear in mind that the views expressed in this blog are my own and NOT the views of the BBC.


Sid said...

Oh this is going to be interesting. I have my camera at the ready, can't wait. This has got to be another broadcasting first.

Loz said...

Hiya Hildie,

I heard the mention you made for all of us on Sue's show tonight - thank you very much, most kind.

I was driving back from the Silverlink where I'd just been to see "Quantum of Solace" or Bond 22, as some call it.

LOVED IT TO BITS, gritty, modern, superb.

Mind your mention warmed me up Hildie, as it was minus 5 degrees during that trip home.... brrrrrr.


Inga said...

May I remind everybody that 13:00 for you is 7 in the MORNING for me! I am neither presentably dressed, made-up or coiffured at that time but luckily I don't have any real neighbors so if I show up outside to take pictures I might escape being arrested for indecent public exposure :-)) ! If you don't hear from me for a while - well . . . .

Vivienne said...

Hi Everyone,

Inga, you must send us a photo of yourself taken at 7am, as you've painted such a wonderful picture!

Thanks Hildie, I too caught your kind message via Sue Sweeney.

Ian, I set myself a few targets for my retirement. Perhaps it would have been for my 60th year, but I retired 6 months before my birthday. So far I haven't achieved that much, but have climbed up to Penshaw Monument and have windsurfed this year.

Other goals include joining a choir. I can't sing that well, so it will have to be one which doesn't require auditions or solo performances. I can't sight read either, although I can understand manuscript.

Another goal is to become a volunteer for the National Trust. Gibside is my preferred option, as I live within easy reach, except when there are road works at Rowlands Gill, as there were on Saturday!!! It's not all good will, as volunteers can gain free entry into other National Trust properties, or they used to when my Father was a volunteer at Souter Lighthouse. That leads me to other goals such as visiting Lindisfarne Castle and Bamburgh Castle. I visited the latter as a child, but don't remember much about it. I wish also to become a friend of Alnwick Gardens.

Another goal is to attend a Cliff Richard concert before I die. Cliff's, 'Please Don't Tease' was my first record, and I was a fan long before we acquired a record player. I've addressed this one tonight, by booking up to see Cliff and the Shadows next October. That was a must!!! What an experience that was, booking on line. You got 2 mins to enter your details before you lose your seat/s. You were given about 4 mins to enter your credit card detils and have the card verified. It took me five or more attempts to get the first seat I'd been offered. Time kept running out, then I was offered a seat several rows behind, then further back again. Others must have been having the same problem, as I eventually got my original seat in row H. What annoyed me was the £6.75 service charge and £2 for an online ticket, which I had to print out. What service? I did it all myself!!! Also, there was no mention of concessions. So I had to pay the full price of either £55 or £60. At those prices what's another £5?

Another goal is to write a book, and our Famous Five Story gave me the inspiration to write children's stories. This goal gained support when I went to a psychic fayre a couple of months ago, and a medium told me I would be a highly successful writer. I wish!!!

She also told me I was a healer and should be working with them!!! I've yet to decide whether I'll follow this up. As my pension lump sum has dropped one third in value since Novenber 2007, when I invested it, I will have to find a way of covering my losses.

Well, enough of my list, I'm still trying to sort out my house from years of neglect. Working full-time in a demanding job and supporting my parents and two aunts left no time to look after myself and my house.

Good luck with your project Ian. I'll try to remember to take some photos at 1pm each day for the next week or so, but I may forget the time. So won't promise.

Maureen said...

You are right Ian. This has made us all stop and take stock. I love the photo idea although I don't know if it will always be possible at that time. I'll certainly try, and check out the film, 'Smoke'. It's like making your new years' resolutions early isn't it? only better. I'm trying to visit every 'Cathedral City' in England and Scotland at least. I'll let you know how I get on. I think this project is going to be AWESOME!
PS Sorry Hildie, I didn't hear much of Sue last night. Does that mean she didn't read mine for Ian and Jonathan? I know that she didn't in the last hour.

Maureen said...

Hi, I've just ordered 'Smoke' from for £3.99 free delivery if anyone else was thinking of looking for it. Sounds good Ian, looking forward to viewing it.

Hildie said...

Good Morning, I'm glad at least some of you heard your little mention last night! All you inspired people are making me think ... I should definitely be taking a leaf out of your book.
Now, what can I do? .....

Ian Robinson said...

What mention? Sue WHO???

Maureen said...

Hi Ian, check yesterdays' posting. I take your point, she's off my Christmas card list!
If I took a 1 o'clock pic today it would be my fireplace! I've been out this morning, it's horrible out there.

Inga said...

Vivienne - don't hold your breath re: my photo :-)

Vivienne said...

Good Evening/ Afternoon All,

I'm holding my breath Inga!
I too was pleased we hadn't started our group photo session today. I'd just arrived home completely frozen, and wet, after being caught in a snow flurry in Consett. All you would have seen was a blurred cup of cappuccino, as my hands were shaking with the cold. It took the best part of the afternoon for me to thaw out, and summon up the courage to go out again. At least my next trip was to the warm Metrocentre. I've just returned and the weather seems much milder now, and the frost has disappeared.

Hildie said...

Hello ... I hope you folk don't mind me asking this - it's a bit of a random request, but I thought maybe someone would be able to help. It concerns the search for a Christmas present for my son's girlfriend! She has a Sony Walkman MP4 Player. She would like a Dock/ Speaker System for it. My son spent a long day in Newcastle on Saturday in search of such a thing. He says that the ones he saw were for ipods, and were not compatible with an MP4 Player. I know this is a shot in the dark, but does anyone know what he needs to buy?
Consett is one of those places like Bishop Auckland, Vivienne ...
you don't go there unless you have to, particularly on a snowy day. You were lucky to get out alive. I'm sounding like Ian now.

Sid said...

Hildie, have what I think you are looking for. They have a great search system on their website. Under the heading 'electronics', search for mp4 docking station. They have several to choose from. You can normally read what other people think of the product. I have used Amazon lots of times for books and other items, they are great. Hope this helps.

Inga said...

I hope that some of you got a glimpse of the rare view of the moon, Venus and Jupiter [?] in very close proximity tonight. We were lucky with an almost cloudness sky and the view was truly breath taking!

Inga said...

Ian - WOW! That Warhol knows a good subject when he sees one! :-))

Hildie said...

Inga ... yeah, it's good , isn't it? It would make a super postage stamp, methinks! Inga, you haven't mentioned Radio Devon of late, are there no more puzzles for us to try and solve?
Here's one for you in the meantime -
Every dawn begins with me,
At dusk I'll be the first you see,
And daybreak couldn't come without
What midday centres all about,
Daisies grow from me, I'm told
And when I come, I end all cold,
But in the sun I won't be found
Yet still, each day, I'll be around.

Inga said...

Postage stamp? Hmmm, I think you've given me an idea, Hildie!
I haven't felt inspired by the puzzles lately. The one which followed the plimsoll line was about a British TV star - more or less a guessing game. It took about 17 days before someone came up with the right guess. The next puzzle concerned the invention of the fountain pen but it was solved on the first day. I only heard it once, didn't really have time to give it a lot of thought and within a few minutes someone called with the answer. The current one concerns three pieces of music. I'll try to write it down today. Your puzzle is certainly intriguing!

Hildie said...

Sid ... missed your posting earlier. Thank you for the information about mp4 docking stations, you're a gem, I have just passed it on to Liam.
Ummm, Inga, no idea what kind of idea I've given you - but definitely feeling in the mood for a Radio Devon puzzle!

Inga said...

I haven't figured your puzzle out yet, Hildie, and here's the one on Devon now: With a population of ca. 61 million in what to we [as in you guys] equal the US with 300 million?

Vivienne said...

Hi Hildie,

I'm guessing the answer is 'D' ?

Inga, I can't get your puzzle. Did you say it had a musical connection, or is this another puzzle?

Hildie, I was on route from an appointment at Lanchester when I stopped off for a bit of shopping at Consett. I went into one shop then raced back to my car to warm up!

Inga said...

Hats off to you, Vivienne - that has to be the answer.
Apparently the musical connection puzzle has also been solved in the one I posted is the latest one.

Inga said...

correction: . . . solved and . . .