The redoubtable Neville Whaler (above) - one of whose guises is the scurrilous ne’er-do-well who wrote many of the Tipsy Duchess’s most appalling double-entendres - has emailed me with more news of the Tanfield Railway, an institution which has benefited from truckshunter generosity in the past and deserves to again.

So read and inwardly digest the following....

‘The Tanfield Steam Railway is running steam-hauled passenger trains on Wednesdays and Thursdays during the school holidays; also Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday 30 and 31 August 2009. The Railway is holding a Steam Gala with visiting engines, on Saturday and Sunday, 12 and 13 September with an intensive timetable. Enjoy a steam train ride, see the historic Causey Arch, view the locomotive shed and working engines. Refreshments are available on the site at Andrews House Station.’

So now you know and have no excuse not to spread the good word.

In a comment I made on blogposting 162 I revealed how my confused teenage sexuality began to sort itself out (as it were) when I realised how much I fancied the two hunks who took the leads in the tv cowboy series Laramie in, I think, the early 60s. I found myself making the same revelation during a recent conversation with an old friend of mine. This in turn led into a kind of ‘game of dare’ in which every gay man is ‘allowed’ to find two - and only two - women attractive. Every straight man is, in turn, allowed to find two men attractive. The rules can, of course, be altered for women.

My nominations, for what they are worth, were Fiona Bruce (whom I have had the extraordinary good fortune to meet) and Nicole Kidman. My (female) friend’s nominations were Susan Sarandon and Kate Winslet. I’m not sure what that says about either of us but it was fun finding out.

Go on - have a go. Nobody will ever know.

Just a reminder that the next AGM will take place next Sunday, 6 September at Tynemouth Station Market at about 1100. Bring a friend. A splendid time is guaranteed for all.

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

My friend Jean-Francois died of an AIDS-related illness in Paris on Thursday 20 August. He was 44.


Maureen said...

Sorry to hear the sad news about Jean-Francois, Ian. I hope that your Mam makes a speedy recovery too.
The two hunks were Slim Sherman and Jess Fuller, remember? I actually found a website with photo and quotes from the show.

Hildie said...

Jean-Francois... he was so young,
it's immensely sad that he has died.
I remember those two hunks ....
MIND, they WERE gorgeous, Ian!
Did you not like Little Joe, in Bonanza? Michael Landon played him.
He was my favourite!
Please, would you be able to let your Mam know that we Truckshunters send her our love and our very best wishes?

Hildie said...

Forgot to tell you ... I'm back in my own bed tonight.... oh, joy of joys! I have had a relative staying with me for the last ten days .... why do we do that 'ever so polite' thing of going into the room with the single bed and allowing the visitor to have the best bed?! I expect I'll do the same thing the next time she comes!
Anyway, just want to say "Hi" to Nev at Tanfield ... hope we can get back one of these days. Also,
"Hi" to Ada (from Walker) who I noticed has left a message today on our previous blog. Looking forward to seeing you again soon.

Sid said...

The Bowerman family hopes your mam makes a swift recovery Ian, and welcome back Hildie.
The idea of giving up the best bed and sleeping in the room with the single one affects me as well.
When I give garden produce away to friends and neighbours they always get the best, I'll have the cabbage that has split or the tomato that might be nearly soft. My gardening friends think I'm crazy, but that's just the way I am.

Sid said...

In the very early hours of this morning our Gillian took it upon herself to test the responses of the ambulance service, and the staff at the A&E department of the QE Hospital.
In brief, she had a seizure that didn't respond to treatment that we are trained to deliver at home.
I'm pleased to say that the fast response vehicle arrived within 3 minutes and an ambulance from N/cle was only 30 seconds or so behind him. They were brilliant. Gillian was stabilised in the ambulance before heading to hospital.
Gillian was discharged with antobiotics for an ear infection 12 hours later. Jean and I will be forever grateful for the effort and care they all showed last night.

Maureen said...

Thank goodness everything turned out ok Sid. We take it for granted, but we are very lucky to have a National Health Service aren't we? That's two of us been glad of their services this week eh Ian? I hope that Gillian is alright now and I expect that you'll be ready for an early night Sid.
I've just got back from Birkheads, driving through lightning and really bad road conditions at Gateshead and Washington. The good news is I don't think that you'll need to get the hose out at the allotment Sid!

Hildie said...

That was awesome, Sid, that response time! It was incredible!
I'm glad you and Jean have got Gillian back at home, safe and well, or at least on the mend.
Maureen, we ARE lucky with our ambulance service,you are so right.
That weather tonight was dreadful, the skies opened with a vengence.
Vivienne, do you know if Margaret
(up at Consett) knows about the AGM next Sunday?
I hope Ellie is still coming, I'm sure she will be .... and Ada will be there. Do you remember a lady named Audrey who was often trying to come? And Marion? Am I right? (who works in Durham)
Then there's Lawrence, wonder if he can make it?
Not forgetting J. Arthur either!
And what about Jim Little?!
Anyone else you know, who might be coming??
Have you got one of your weather forecasts for next Sunday, Sid?

Ian Robinson said...

Thanks to everyone for all your good wishes to Mam. I'll pass them on when I see her tomorrow.
Sid...Glad to hear that your emergency turned out OK. One way or another, quite a few of us have had cause to be grateful for the NHS recently. My love to Gillian.

Sid said...

Thanks to everyone for their kind wishes and thoughts for our Gillian.
She is in a quiet mood today, more than likely caused by the drugs she had yesterday, there is always a downside to most medicines.
Hildie, the weather forecast for Sunday isn't that bad. It is said to be fair, midday temp of around 16 degrees C, with a 13 mph breeze from the south. Now watch it chuck it down!!

Hildie said...

Hi Sid, I hope sincerely that Gillian has continued to improve as the week has progressed.
We'll have to keep our fingers crossed about the weather at Tynemouth on Sunday then!

Hi mim, I'm wondering if you are able to come along to the AGM.

I saw a driving school car on Tuesday ... you know they have adverts and information spashed across the side of them sometimes
... well, this one said
and my truckshunter mind was thinking that it surely should have said "AN AUTOMATIC".
What do you think?

Did any of you see that lovely, little Jack Russell terrier, on
"Look North" last night, who is in the hands of the police? A burglary took place at an Infant School in Gateshead, in the early hours of Sunday morning and the dog was found at the crime scene!
The police were hoping last night that someone might have recognised him on television , and led them to his owner. it's the stuff of The Nightshift Newsreel!!

Sid said...

We have an automatic at home Hildie, I'd never pass my test with that.....give me the old fashioned 'twin tub' anytime.

The police have named the dog Bobby. What kind of fool takes a Jack Russell on a burglary, you know you will only be dogged by bad luck.

Leroy La Strange said...

Hi, I'm Steven Leroy Sams, an old fan of Ians Blue Bus mad house.

Just thought I'd introduce Meesell like hinny.

I prefer to be called Leroy cos it's my "adopted Black" name (I play Blues influenced Bass guitar) I'm that hooked on the blues I actually changed my middle name to Leroy by deed poll, it sounds much cooler than Kenneth..... HeHe

So I'll be a bit of a regular from now on and I have the uncanny gift of talking rubbish at the drop of a hat.....

Catch ya's soon.

Leroy (La Strange)

Hildie said...

Hi Leroy
I think you're going to fit in with us Truckshunters! You may as well jump in at the deep end ... come to Tynemouth Indoor Market
@ 1100 on Sunday 6th September, meet the gang! Why not! The same invitation holds for all secret truckshunters out there!

Vivienne said...

Hi Leroy,

Welcome to the blog. We're always pleased when newcomers drop in, but even more so when they hang around. I guess that having the uncanny gift of talking rubbish, and being hooked on the Blues, made you a well qualified follower of Ian's Blue Bus exploits. However, I'm wondering where you've been since the Blue Bus days, and how you managed to find the Truckshunters' Blog!

Sid, I've been thinking about you and Jean after Gillian's fit, and hoping that Gillian has made a swift recovery. Thank goodness it happened at home, as you may not have had such a quick response to your caravan site.

Ian, how is your mum? I hope she too has made a good recovery.

After my recent fall, I'm also grateful to the NHS for their prompt attention to my head wound.

Gibside had to cancel another planned ABBA tribute concert on Monday due to the high winds, although the Sunday concert went ahead ok. Maureen, you must have experienced the same weather conditions on your way home from Birkheads.

Leroy, are you able to come along to Tynemouth Station on Sunday, for our next AGM?

Leroy La Strange said...

I'll certainly give it a try my Dear, but I can't promise nowt co I'm recovering from a Minor heart operation and I still get episodes of my cardio problem which prevents me from driving when it happens ......... but wee nahs eh! ah just might get there.

Leroy x

Leroy La Strange said...

Yo Vivienne,

Oh a lot of things have occupied me since those heddy days of the Blue Bus....... Mostly work, work and more work.............
Then this year a heart condition that I did'nt even know I had sort of sneaked up and bit me on the bum.
As for Truckshunters..... I heard
Ian mention it from time to time and with me being a real bonafide ex British Steel Shunting Engine Driver...... it stuck in my mind.

Nice to meet Ya anyway xx


Hildie said...

Hi Leroy
Ian would consider it truly
AWESOME to be in the presence
of a real, live Truckshunter.
In fact, I don't know what we'd be able to do with him, as he'd be so

Hi Vivienne
hope all is well with you.
do you know if Margaret knows we are on for Tynemouth this Sunday?
I'm sorry I keep asking you this, but I have an idea you know how to contact her.

Vivienne said...

Hi Hildie,

I've sent Margaret an email, but she should already know about the AGM, as she's a follower of Truckshunters.

Thanks Leroy for answering my queries.

Hildie said...

Thanks for that, Vivienne, I might send an email to Ellie & give her a reminder too. I may even give her Sid's weather forecast!
Do you truckshunters know there's a place in Newcastle called Amen Corner?
I'm probably the last to know...
I just noticed it the other day!
Must ask Ian about that.
I've had diverticulitis this week, according to my doctor .......
sounds posh, doesn't it?!

Leroy La Strange said...

Yo Hilde,

Is Diverticulitus, that problem where you have to follow diversions all the time???

(Sorry flower I could'nt resist that one.)


Hildie said...

Funnily enough, Leroy, that's a problem I had a few weeks ago ... trying to follow diversions! My sister and I were driving from Stockton to Dipton when some of the A1(M) was closed while they were working on a bridge overnight. We were trying to follow the dots on these yellow road signs, don't ask me how we did it but we came to the same roundabout, where the diversion started, THREE times. We decided to find an alternative route for ourselves and, consequently, found ourselves passing through some interesting places .... for instance ... a place called Heightington .... we went through there TWICE .... it took us AGES to get home!

Leroy La Strange said...

Hi there again,

Did you say Dipton, I'm all the way from Stanley, I think that nearly makes us family...... HeHe.

I like that with diversions.... I think they are just a scam to make it look like congestion is worse than it is........ but that's just me.... Ha!

I've never heard of a Heightington are you sure you were still in the north east ???


Hildie said...

Heighington ... sorry .... we didn't have time to read the sign properly .... we were in a bit of a hurry!
Stanley? well, I never!

Meg said...

Hi Everyone! I'm Wendy, Margaret's daughter. I'm so sorry to inform you that my Mum won't be able to make it to the AGM tomorrow. She's not at all well at the moment and isn't allowed to drive. She passes her love on to you all and says she'll be back with you as soon as she can. I know she's very disappointed about tomorrow but looks forward to seeing the photos and blogs about it.

Love Wendy xxx

Sid said...

Hello Meg, I know we have never met but I am sorry to learn that you are not at all well at the moment. A lot of us Truckshunters have had a trying time lately. Lets hope it soon passes, and we can all meet up safely soon.

Vivienne said...

Hi Everyone,

Where were you today? Was I the only one to turn up, albeit late?

I received a last minute request to work at Gibside today, so I'm going there after posting this message. I planned to meet up with you first, but needed to iron my work clothes, so that delayed me a bit, as did some roadworks, and a couple of Chinese girls who stopped me outside of Tynemouth Station to ask all about buses to North Shields. They couldn't understand why I didn't know how much it would cost them and how long it would take, etc! When I eventually went inside the station there was an announcement saying that the metro wasn't stopping at Tynemouth today. That could have been the reason why the girls were asking about buses, and possibly the reason why some of you weren't there. I hung around until 11.45am, but couldn't see anyone I knew. I checked outside for the smokers, and inside the station cafes too.

So I'm sorry I missed you, and consequently I didn't take any photos. I'll catch up with you later. I'm off to Gibside now.

Lots of love,

Vivienne xxx

Sid said...

You poor thing Vivienne, that was a lot of effort for very little reward. The metro not stopping at Tynemouth has a lot to answer for. It was the obvious way to travel to the venue, unless living out of town as you do.
I expect some intersting tales from those who attempted to get to the AGM.

Hildie said...

Vivienne, I knew you would be there ... I was looking out for you, Ada and Ian as you three were the only definites I knew about. Liam dropped me off at 10:45 on the side of the Station Market where the cafe is. I never went over to the other side of the market until much later in the day. I wandered around the stalls, and kept going right into the cafe and looking around for someone I knew. Around 11:30 I was at the bottom of those steps, listening to this young man singing "You are not alone, and I was really beginning to wonder how right he was when, much to my relief, I saw Ian coming down the steps. He had been involved in delays with the traffic. We looked around for anyone else we knew then stepped outside the station for a few minutes (for a breath of fresh air)
... we had only been out there a couple of ticks when Ada came over to us. She also had been involved in travel chaos due to the Metro trains being suspended. The three of us went back inside the market and sat on a table outside the cafe and continued to be on the look-out for you. We also were kind of looking out for Ellie, even though we didn't know what she looked like. We eventually decided that Ellie would know what Ian looked like and just kept watching around us for the appearance of Truckshunters. I feel so sorry for what happened to you and am at a loss as to how we missed you when we were being positively vigilant. I brought back home the 'Thank You' card I had taken for you, I wanted to thank you for your kindness when my brother died. Once again, I am so sorry about what happened today.

Vivienne said...

Hi Hildie,

You're not going to believe this, but I arrived at Tynemouth Station whilst the young man was singing. I didn't want to hang around the steps when he was performing. I looked around and couldn't see any of you, so began to wander around the nearby stalls. Then I saw a stall where they were selling cups of tea etc., near the railway lines. I thought you may be there, so moved over to where folks were seated. When I couldn't see you I wandered back to the steps. There was still no sign, but then I caught sight of the main cafe. I looked at the people seated outside, then pushed through the crowds to look inside. I went back the the stairs, and walked partway up, so I could get a better view, but still no-one! I wandered around the stalls, and after 15 - 20mins I decided I was wasting my time, and should make my way home, then onto Gibside. As I left the young man was singing outside of the station entrance. I bet if I hadn't been delayed by the two girls I would have met up with you, Hildie. I had a feeling that would happen, and was trying to get away from them! I'd been keeping a look out all the time I was in the station, so thought I'd be wasting my time going back into the cafe for another look! I bet that's where you were when I left!

I'm so sorry I missed you, especially as you so very kindly had a card for me. I'm glad that you managed to meet up with Ian and Ada. I was wondering about Ellie too, but hoped if she was there that she would recognize me from my photos.

For anyone who may be interested this coming Saturday is a Heritage Day, and there is free entry into Gibside and other participating venues.