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 happen...in 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 awesome...er.....nightshirt....
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?
THE LADY OF SHALOTT...
...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.