'Tornado' enters Newcastle


Earlier today someone asked me how long it has been since I was made redundant and I was astonished to realise that it’s only been three weeks and one day. I’m serious here; I was genuinely taken aback. It already seems like half a lifetime since I parroted You’re listening to Ian Robinson’s Nightshift on Radio Newcastle, the BBC for the North-East. In fact, it’s starting to feel a little ‘unreal’ - as if it was all a dream and that I never actually did the job at all.

I was warned that this may happen. When you are made redundant - specially from a job you did for many years and/or a job you particularly enjoyed - you feel a sense of grief and loss followed by the uneasy sense that your previous ‘working’ life was almost a figment of your imagination, even though you know it wasn’t. It was very strange indeed this morning to say that I’ve only been away from the BBC for a few days. It’s a funny old world...

In this connexion, Maureen asks a very pertinent question in her comment on blogpost 123, to which the answer is an unqualified YES. Please do continue to send me the sort of material you sent for The Old Nightshift. Jokes, puzzles, trivia, lists, curiosities...whatever takes your fancy. It’s all grist to the proverbial mill, after all, and will be very welcome.

Many years ago I was pleasantly surprised and gratified to learn that there really is a saint called Rita, a name that has remained obstinately unfashionable since, I guess, the early fifties or even before. After all, how many Ritas do you know?

And it wasn’t just the mere fact of St Rita’s existence in the canon of Roman Catholic saints that was so satisfying; it was also the rather splendid list of things that she is the patron saint of. Widows, baseball, sterility, parenthood, loneliness and (wait for it) lost causes. What a truly awesome combination.

Naturally, it is in her guise as the Patron Saint of Lost Causes that I have decided to invoke her name in this (and future) blogpostings. Let me explain...

One of the things I had intended to talk about in the very last Nightshift of all was the ill-starred and woebegone campaigns which, during my nine years ‘in office’ at the BBC, I had taken it upon myself to launch. (Wow; what a complicated sentence. Take a second or two to read it again.) Let me see now...there was Let’s Save The Apostrophe, Bring Back Andy Pandy, Give Sherlock Holmes A Knighthood ( - just imagine; Sir Sherlock Holmes and Lord Watson of Baker Street).

Not all of my campaigns were entirely frivolous or playful, though. In my final programme, I had intended to list the ones which I thought were worthy of continuing, or even re-invigorated, support. But, things being the way they were, I didn’t quite manage to stick to the script. (The story of my life, really.) So I intend to use the Truckshunter blog to give as many of them the oxygen of publicity as I can so that they don’t end up in The Book of St Rita - the catalogue of lost and forgotten causes.

So over the next few days and weeks expect to be roundly harangued by yours truly on the subject of...
...the need for trams in the north-east
...the floodlighting of The Angel
...restructuring the scoring system in tennis and football
...an honour for the Donkey Man
...the abolition of Clock Change Night
...the redistribution of Bank Holidays
...the removal of that statue...
and many more of the bees which have nested in my bonnet over the BBC years. I’m sure you will be able to remember even more of them and will know equally well that not a single one of Robinson’s Campaigns has even approached success.

Let’s grab the baton and proceed. Let’s carry the torch of reform onward and upward. Let’s pick up the ball and run with it. Let’s put an end to ludicrous metaphors like these. (I sense yet another campaign...)

Watch this space.

Council Meeting doesn’t seem to be a light-hearted enough way of referring to our out-of-school shenanigans so I’ve been giving some thought as to how we can develop our relationships now that their raison d’etre (The Old Nightshift) has disappeared. It occurs to me that we might (for example) call ourselves the Fulwell Mill Rabbit Society, the Armstrong Vickers Dahlia Group or the Coquetdale Underwater Golf Club. What do you think? Any other suggestions? (Keep it clean and decent.)

Whatever...please don’t forget that the AGM is on Thursday 26 February from 1800 in the Coffee Lounge on the second floor of the Tyneside Cinema in Newcastle. Bring your grandchildren and teach them a lesson they'll never forget.

...elephants are the only animals with four knees... the coriolus effect - whereby the direction in which the water goes down the plughole depends on which hemisphere the plughole is in - is a myth...

Post comments on this blog or email me: truckshunters@googlemail.com


Hildie said...

That's a bit tremendous, that posting! I SO enjoyed reading it, it was just like switching on the radio for a few minutes!
Elbow has just won a Brit Award ...
see, we're on track , Ian. There's hope for Jack Kirkpatrick yet! xxx

Sid said...

I'm with you Hildie,its thoroughly enjoyable.

Loz said...

Hi gang,

Yes I have finally managed to retrieve my head from the clouds following that flippin' virus thingy from a couple of weeks ago.

In 27 years of working self employed I have never lost 5 consecutive days to illness, till now..... grrrrrr!! previously 2 days was my worst.

Still I lost 10 lbs in weight which is a very good side effect.

Currently I'm drinking 3 litres of fruit juices a day to replenish my vitamin and mineral count.... Cranberry juice.... gorgeous.

Loved this post today Ian, and it's odd isn't it only three weeks. Amazing.

I really want to push the Jack Kirkpatrick honour big style, as it means so much to me that our bloke gets his gong.

I shall be trying everything to make the AGM and of course Ian, now I'm back on solid foods we can as arranged resume the Motorbike Hill breakfast tradition.

The pic above by the way is of an elephant who hates the rain - so they made him a mackintosh all of his own... awww bless.

Cheers Lawrence

Sid said...

Welcome back Loz, glad you're on the road to mend.
I read that Gibside Hall is to join in with the National Trust plan to create more allotments. What a great idea. Fancy an allotment Vivienne....

Ian Robinson said...

I neglected to credit the pic that heads this blogpost. It was sent to me by Neville Whaler (whom God preserve) who has now sent this update about the loco:
'This morning she was named by dear old Charles and Camilla, and the event included an overhead Tornado jet flypast, and RAF band send off for her, hauling the Royal
Thanks Nev. See you at the Tanfield Railway on Sunday :-))

Hildie said...

I saw them all on 'Look North',
.....Tornado, Charles and Camilla,
hope you saw it, it was funny, Charles couldn't see the piece of paper he had in his hand
for steam! He had to flap the steam away in order to read his 'naming' speech!

Maureen said...

Hi everyone, I've just found this new posting after, how many days? Musn't have ticked the box, I thought that you were all very quiet. (For those people who don't know, you can tick the box to receive any follow ups when leaving a comment, very handy, except when you forget, like I did!)
Lovely to see that you are back in full flow Ian, let's shake a few people up eh? Mind, I'm not too sure about spotlighting 'Our Angel' have you heard about the plans to build toilets and carparks there? It was meant to stand alone, before long we'll have a burger van alongside!
How about the good things that have been achieved, like the lovely job that they have done on the restoration in our local parks, especially Saltwell Park and Mowbray Park? We could give virtual bouquets for the good things going on?
Thanks for giving me permission to recycle my 'titbits' It's become a habit now when I read something that I think you (or someone!)might find interesting!
Didn't know about St. Rita, now that will be stored in my 'things that you'll never know when you might need them file'!

Audrey said...

Hi everyone. My name is Audrey and I'm in Washington. I don't have a computer, but pinch my daughters whenever she visits. I have so enjoyed catching up with all your news as I've missed the programme a lot. I would like to join your happy gang when you meet at the Winter Gardens in Sunderland. I would also like to thank Ian for replying to Lynne's email, she lives in Scotland and would tune in thanks to WIFI radio. This is my first attempt at a blog by the way :)

Sid said...

Welcome Audrey, and well done on your first blog.
As you can see we're a friendly bunch on here. I hope you keep calling back.

Ellie said...

Hello, everyone -
Good to have you back Loz and welcome Audrey. I'm new at this too. Is there going to be a get-together during daytime hours? If there is I'll try to be there but will have to get directions. I don't know Sunderland at all...(and am the world's worst navigator!!) Meanwhile enjoy the meeting at 26th at Tynside Theatre.
Hope you are really ticketyboo Laurence!
Ian - Loved the spiel again x x Hildie is right - was almost like listening to you onth'radio, lad!
Am off to make caramel shortbread.

Maureen said...

Hi Audrey welcome to our little gang, I hope that you take every opportunity to join us. It's lovely to see new names appearing.
Caramel shortbread, Ellie one of my favourites. How come I've stopped baking now and weigh more than I ever did? Don't forget your pancakes on Tuesday folks!

Audrey said...

Thank you all for your warm welcome. This is all new to me.

Sid said...

To follow on with your suggestions Ian how about something like...
The Cheesescone and Chocolate Digestive Millionaires Society.

Hildie said...

Hi everyone
just have to tell you ......
I've got a fascinator!
I'm pretty tickled-pink about it - just got it today! It's my nephew's wedding on 28th. March so my sister and I went shopping for wedding outfits. You might remember my nephew, Ross, he sent a postcard to The Nightshift from Kos ... Ian enjoyed calling him 'Ross in Kos' ... anyway, he is marrying his girlfriend Rachel .... though he's not in Kos now, he's in Consett!
Though, yesterday, he was in York. It was his 'Stag - Do' .... he and his friends went there by train, actually to York Brewery, surprise, surprise! Lawrence would have liked it, they brew all kinds of real ale.
All of that - just to explain why I've got a fascinator!
Audrey, hello!!
Ellie, hello again!!
We are so pleased to have new people joining us on the blog, especially when they keep coming back. We're easily excitable, you'll have to forgive us!

Ian Robinson said...

Wow Hildie I'm real jealous...no, seriously...if you're intending to come to the AGM on Thursday afternoon/evening, any chance of wearing it? Or at least bringing it? I want to know if I should get one...
AND...welcome, Audrey!!

Vivienne said...

Hi Folks,

Well Ian I'll certainly bring my camera on Thursday, especially if you're going to wear a fascinator too!!!

I'm delighted you've joined us Audrey. As Hildie said we get really excited when a visitor drops in, and even more excited when they return. I'm really impressed that you've taken to blogging so easily. It took me several attempts before I worked out how to sign in and post comments.

Well folks, after a full weekend at Gibside I feel like an old hand now at this volunteering lark! I've posted some photos on murphyanddorastravels.blogspot.com
I can't wait to post those of Hildie and Ian in their fascinators!!!