In this blogposting...
*Miss Simonova’s sand-painting
NOT in this blogposting...
*that bird in South Shields
*the River Wear Treasure
Anthea Lang, Gateshead’s local history supremo, had the great misfortune to bump into us all while we were disturbing the peace of Saltwell Towers during AGM VIII. She then proceeded to compound her bad luck by inviting us to join her for our next AGM. The consensus amongst truckshunters (a contradiction in terms if ever there was one) is that we should gratefully accept her foolish invitation.
Which is why AGM IX will take place at 1100 on Wednesday 4 November at St Mary’s Information Centre in Gateshead.
Amongst Gateshead Council’s many inspiring ideas of recent years - the Angel, the Sage, BALTIC, the Millennium Bridge - one of the brightest was to take over Old St Mary’s Church and convert it into a Heritage Centre. I’ve been several times and can confirm that it’s an awesome venue. The conversion from church to exhibition and meeting areas is both sensitive and startlingly successful, and the exhibitions staged there are fascinating to both local history enthusiasts and newcomers alike.
Although there is no cafe there, Anthea has said that she will lay on a cuppa for us. And even if she can’t (or has wisely changed her mind) we can pop next door to the Sage to slake our collective thirst.
Old St Mary’s is the church that stands proudly looking down at the Tyne Bridge, and between it and the Sage. There isn’t much parking nearby. Take a Quaylink bus from Newcastle city centre instead.
A splendid time is guaranteed for all.
UKRAINE’S GOT TALENT (continued)
Blog 175 featured an email I’d received from Maureen. She’d sent me a link to YouTube which showed a Ukrainian lass on their version of the unfortunate British tv show. Her breathtaking talent is ‘sand-painting’; using nothing more than grains of sand to draw constantly changing pictures on a flat, underlit, board. It genuinely stops you in your tracks.
Maureen has since sent me a copy of the narrative that accompany’s Miss Simonova’s performance. So do what I’ve just done: watch the clip again with a copy of the ‘storyline’ - see below - in front of you. It’ll move you even more, I promise.
‘Ukraine lost about a quarter of its population during the Second World War - about 20% of total fatalities. With the help of sand, Miss Simonova’s pictures show the Ukrainian loss of life during the German invasion in 1941.
The opening scene shows a couple sitting on a bench beneath a sky full of stars. Suddenly warplanes appear and the happy scene is replaced by sad faces. Then comes a baby, so the woman smiles again. But the bane of the war turns her into a widow. Finally, the sand picture takes the form of the Unknown Soldier of Ukraine.’
Thanks Maureen. And give Christine our love.
Peter, who also featured in posting 175, has given me permission to reproduce the contents of his email in full. So here are two colourful little snippets of Peter’s family history. Do you have any stories like this that you wouldn't sharing?
In an early posting, I mentioned St Rita. Peter says...
‘...my brother-in-law’s mother was called Margaret Rita but (and there’s always a ‘but’) she was supposed to be christened Marguerita. However, they couldn’t spell it in the registry office so she was called Margaret Rita instead!...
At her funeral service, when they close the curtain in the crematorium and play some music (like ‘Angels’ by Robbie Williams or ‘You Raise Me Up’ or ‘Angel’ by Sarah Maclachlan) she had ‘Just Wanna Dance The Night Away’ by The Mavericks blasting out!'
How’s that for style!
Thanks to Hildie for pointing out that the very first truckshunter blogposting appeared almost two years ago to the day - on October 31, 2007. As I sit typing here at home, those days seem like a world away and aeons ago. They do things very differently there now.
My aim from the beginning was to produce a posting about 5 times a week - a target which has, of course, changed since The Nightshift went off-air. Because I enjoyed doing it, and because listener reaction seemed to be so positive, I persisted with the blog until ‘official’ reaction at the BBC turned from total indifference to opposition. Last October, I was instructed not to mention the blog on-air as it ‘was not an official BBC blog’.
I was heartbroken and it seemed to me at the time that, if I was not allowed to ‘promote’ the blog during my programme, there was little point in continuing to write it at all. You, however, proved me wrong. The blog still has a gratifyingly large and diverse group of enthusiasts, many of whom leave no mark except perhaps an occasional comment or email.
Even more remarkable is the blog’s extension from the purely digital world into the real world of get-togethers, cups of tea and coffee, cakes, laughter and all the other stuff that happens when such an idiosyncratic group of people meet up.
I’ll never get tired of saying what an amazing community The Nightshift’s listeners turned out to be, whether or not they are able to turn up at an AGM. What has happened is probably - in its own small way - unique in broadcasting history. The credit for that belongs entirely to you: an immensely supportive collection of affectionate, innovative and charismatic listeners who simply refused to let The Nightshift die.
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