In this posting...
*Neglected Local Hero
*John Walker
*A Serious Man
*The Great and the Good
Now, read on Macduff...

For Heaven’s sake don’t forget to move whatever mountains that may get in your way in order to attend what may very well be the AGM to end all AGMs. Leave no turn unstoned to get there. We are gunna truly rock The Biscuit Factory at 1100 on Thursday 3 December - the last day of my 61st year. So I’ll be expecting a very great deal of tea and sympathy. Or just sympathy.

Apart from that, a splendid time is guaranteed for all.

Well, almost local. A huge round of truckshunter applause, please, for Craig Beevers, who has managed to overcome the built-in disadvantages of having been born and raised in Stockton-on-Tees to become the British National Scrabble Champion. He came second last year to an upstart called David Webb but this year he trounced all-comers - including the hopeless Mr Webb - and pocketed the £1,500 prize money.

According to the report I read, he was due to fly to Malaysia (of all places) for the World Championships sometime during November. Can anyone update us on this?

I suppose I shouldn’t be so unkind about Stockton. In a way, it has a lot going for it. For a start, there's the widest High Street in England (reputedly) in the middle of which stands a sumptuous 18th-century Town Hall. Next door there's a genuine ‘shambles’. Overlooking all of this is the ‘classical’ Parish Church which Sir Christopher Wren (no less) may have had a hand in designing. Add to all this the annual Stockton Riverside Festival, which is truly astonishing, and (of course) one of the termini of the world’s oldest public railway, together with the world’s oldest ticket office.

And that's not all. We couldn't possibly list the attributes of this noble and very ancient town without a mention of John Walker, the inventor of matches (see above). The first ones went on sale in the High Street in 1827.

But Stockton can’t have it all its own way. It rushes up the league table of ‘civic foolishness’ on two counts.

Firstly, the Town Fathers decided to demolish all that was left of Stockton Castle - the ruins of which used to stand at the southern end if the High Street - to build a hotel. But the second example of public philistinism knocks the first into a cocked hat. It even appeared on That’s Life as one of the daftest things a Council ever did.

It concerns the aforementioned match-inventor, John Walker (see above - again). A few years back, the Council decided that he deserved some kind of memorial so they commissioned a sculpture; a bronze bust of the great man, mounted on a small pedestal and planted in a charming rose garden specially laid out for the purpose near the site of his workshop. Naturally, they provided the sculptor with a portrait likeness of John Walker.

The sculpture was duly unveiled amid great pomp and circumstance. Everyone agreed that the likeness to the portrait was remarkable. The long flowing hair, the full round cheeks, the beard.

It took an observant schoolboy to point out, though, that the portrait the Council had provided was of an entirely different John Walker altogether. Apparently, it was a picture of a pompous, overfed and dull member of Stockton’s Victorian Corporation and, as far as I know, it is a bust of this boring old curmudgeon which still graces the rose garden at the bottom of the High Street.

Hildie and I met up again today for another Silver Screen movie at the Tyneside Cinema. It was called A Serious Man. Go and see it.

I don’t know about you but sometimes - during those increasingly common periods when I allow my mind to drift wherever it feels it wants to go - I find myself wondering (like a good truckshunter) about the everyday minutiae of the lives of the Great and the Good. What kind of toilet paper does Robbie Williams use? Who does Sir David Attenborough’s washing-up? Does Peter Mandelson buy his own facial scrub?

So, just in case you ever wondered how the Rich and Famous conduct themselves in these circumstances, I’ve decided to let you into some of the more esoteric secrets of my own daily life. Only occasionally, though. After all, I don’t want to end up on the cover of Heat or Radio Fun.

So here goes. Your first insight into what it means to be Ian Robinson making a day-to-day decision...

Today - Monday 23 November 2009 - I decided not to buy a new iron.

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


Sid said...

The World Scrabble Championship will take place during the dates 26th - 29th November. I have earmarked the website and will let you know how it goes.

Hildie said...

What a very jolly blog posting, Ian, it was a really cheery read!
I never knew all that stuff about Stockton .... I have connections over there ... and they've never confessed to any of it!

Buy a new phone instead!
More fun than an iron!

Have you any news of Kev?
Or Nev?

Sid said...

Talking of irons...
I had to wear a uniform for my last job. Pride in appearance was very important to me.
It would be about two weeks into the job when I complained to my wife about the ironing of my shirts.
After that me and the iron became very good friends. For 13 years I ironed the shirts myself....

Ian Robinson said...

Hey thanks Hildie :-))
Sid...yes please - keep us posted about the Scrabble Championships. As for you and your ironing - er...shame on you.

...please welcome new follower Jason to the family. You may remember him as Jason from Coldstream, both on the Blue Bus and on The Nightshift. I'm delighted to say I met him once when the Bus was at the Chain Bridge Honey Farm. More from Jason in a future posting...

Sid said...

A point of note...Jean MADE me iron them myself.

Ian Robinson said...

Quite right too.