The Lady of Shalott

One of my favourite moments in The Railway Children (a film I know and love so much that it features in my blog profile!) occurs when the ‘kindly old gent’ (played by the impeccable William Mervyn) tells the eponymous children, who are alarmed that their exciting lives by the railway line may be disrupted by his plans, that ‘sometimes, amazing and wonderful things do fact many people live their lives in the hope of them.’

He’s right, of course. Sometimes events conspire to render you utterly and jaw-droppingly speechless. And the build-up to my 60th birthday has been like that. I’ve been knocked flying by an avalanche of cards and by a ‘virtual’ avalanche of emails and txts. I know you probably won’t believe me, but I was genuinely not expecting the tidal wave of goodwill that’s flooded my real and digital pigeonholes at the BBC and here on my Mac at home.

You’re amazing. I’ve run out of ways of paying you compliments; you deserve an on-air friend a very great deal more articulate and inventive than me! Thankyou all - whoever and wherever you are. Or, to paraphrase Uncle Mac....’thankyou, truckshunters - everywhere’.

Of course, after such a build-up there is always the risk of anticlimax; that The Birthday Special turns out to be a bit of a letdown for you. My apologies in advance if it did.

There was never any possibility of anticlimax for me, mind you. I've just got home from the studio, exhilarated and exhausted from this morning's proceedings. Wow!! That is one

Here are some more of the items on my Project 60/60 list. As with the others, your reactions and ideas are welcome...

Subscribe to BBC History magazine...
Sometimes I surprise even myself when I consider some of the things I don’t do. Why, with an interest in history that’s been with me since I learned to read and write, do I not already subscribe to a magazine which is probably the best of its kind in the English language?

Get to know the Netherlands a little more....
Ever since my first visit to Amsterdam six years ago, I’ve been fascinated by the Dutch people and the startlingly unique country they call home. Amsterdam is so seductive, though, that I’ve only ventured outside it once - to visit the charming town of Haarlem nearer the coast. So, as part of Project 60/60, my friend Sue (whose voice you may be familiar with) and I intend to visit Utrecht this year - and to go even further afield in the Netherlands if we can.

Sentimental Journey: Revisit every address I’ve ever had and take a photograph...
This is the biggie, really, and the one which, in many ways, I’m most looking forward to. Including the hospital in which I was born (it’s now a field!), I have lived at 17 addresses in my life. I intend to revisit each one - mostly, I guess, to stand and stare; to see what memories and thoughts they evoke; to find out if they have the power of association to unlock boxes of whose existence I may be unaware.

Most of my friends and colleagues seem to think that 17 isn’t many addresses to have had in 60 years. What do you think? How many different addresses have you had? And what conclusions do you draw from that fact?

...appears as an act of sheer self-indulgence for my birthday. Not only is it one of my favourite paintings; it's also up there amongst my favourite poems.

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.


Maureen said...

Hi Ian.
Thanks for the compliments. I'm sure that I speak for us all when I give a resounding reply of 'Because you're worth it!'
I love that idea of previous home addresses. I've actually already got a few of mine gleaned from estate agents websites .. or is that cheating?
You've GOT to go west young man when visiting the Netherlands. Try Hengelo and Enschide, near to the German border. It's still farming country with friesan cows in the fields, windmills and lovely old farmhouses. Every town has a Rijkmuseum, not just Amsterdam, with marvellous collections of paintings and artefacts. You'd love it!

Maureen said...

Sorry I meant east, fool!

Hildie said...

Hello .... this morning's programme was great fun, wasn't it? I felt as though I'd been to a party ... that's how it came over!

Inga said...

Oh dear, now we've even got this Freudian slip [?] in writing! LOZ, I think you might have an idea about this "shirty" business. You mentioned certain shirts "made of neon" in your limerick? Enjoyed last night's On Your Doorstep as always.

IAN, KEV - I'm afraid I lost the will to live after about the third or was it the fourth set of numbers? For sure when it came to doing all kinds of arithmetic :-))

HILDIE - you were the star of Ian's birthday Nightshift and you certainly deserve such a title as does the recipient. I was almost as excited about what he would find next in his bag of goodies as Ian was. By the time I clocked out, he still hadn't opened all of them!

SID, that was a lovely idea of yours - Ian obviously enjoys such trips into the world of nostalgia.

Hildie said...

Hello ... you know the bag of silly presents I did for Ian? Do you do that in your family? I'm afraid that's what happens in my family when someone reaches a birthday of note! When I had my 50th birthday I remember unwrapping one of the presents and finding a garden gnome! He was so pointless, but he certainly made me laugh! I thought it was lovely that Ian's fellow presenters sang "Happy Birthday" to him and that they brought him a cake. Ahhh! Wasn't it nice? And Sid's revelations about all that happened in 1948 ("besides your mam's big event") that was a brilliant idea.
And, Ian, you got SO many cards! However did they all know it was your birthday? That will have to remain as one of Life's eternal mysteries!

Loz said...

Hi everybody.... Hi Inga,

Glad you liked the most recent doorstep, it was a riot to record - a truly excellent laugh with Ian's tangent-busting interjections. Keeps you on your mental toes I can tell you, but Ian's such a delight to work with it's like sitting in a pub with a mate you've known all your life and flinging historical facts and figures around in an informal discussion - just with no pint to sup.

I absolutly adore doing these bits for the Nightshift/shirt - way more than even I thought I would, but there again with a guide like the boss at the helm, what should I have expected?

We also did a pre-recording for a future Nightshift on his birthday morning, and it was a pleasure to have played a little part in Ian's special day - well worth battling the snow to get there on time.

Have to admit with the forecast being so ghastly I decided to make sure of getting in before 9.30am so I left (and Ian's not aware of this lol) Cramlington at 7.00am, getting into the car park at 7.25, Journal in hand for a read, energy drink open and a cheese and pickle sandwich to be eaten as the snow pelted down turning Spital Tongues into a beautiful-looking landscape.

All very much worthwhile.

Now... the next doorstep.... hmmm better start researching now.... cheers gang - take care.


Inga said...

Re: water foot print
While Wendell has told me more than once exactly what Kev has said, I would like to take issue with the demand of using less cotton. What is suggested we use as an alternative? Polyester made from oil? We're up the creek without a paddle - it seems to me - on that one!

Maureen said...

Cor, Ian Robinson as Dr. Who ... Awesome!

Alison said...

Happy Birthday Ian!
For your 60th, why don't you write 60 of your most interesting career moments - funniest, interesting, surprising, touching etc! I think it would make fascinating reading!

Kind regards


Vivienne said...

Good morning all,

It feels like the morning after the night before, doesn't it? Thanks for sharing your special day with us Ian.

Alison, welcome to the blog. Please call back and join our little group. It's lovely to hear from someone new.

Ian Robinson said...

Thanks for the idea, Alison. It's at times like this that I wish I'd kept a diary...

Maureen said...

Welcome to the blog Alison.
Inga re your water foot print comment. I'm with you, where does this madness stop? It occurs to me though that we might arrive up the paddle without a creek!

Inga said...

Actually, Maureen, it seems we may not even have a creek !

Sid said...

Hello chums,
Ian mentions the Railway Children as a film he knows and loves, but I wonder if he is at all like me. When Bobbie is at the railway station, and the steam clears from the platform, she sees her father emerging from the mist. Running forward she cries "Daddy". By this time my eyes are full of tears and I'm looking for a tissue. And this happens everytime I see the film.

Maureen said...

Aaaah, Sid that's lovely. I'm glad I'm not the only one. I'm a hopeless case with films, I know I've enjoyed it if I've had a good cry. It'll be time to get my copy of "It's a wonderful life" out soon. Pass me a tissue someone!