Saturday, 10 October 2009

Nearing 50

This bit of blogging has not seen much activity lately. That has been concentrated on . The more personal bit of our lives has not been idle though. We are in the countdown to being 50. What a bind especially when the medics tell you it is a good time to start taking insulin for Type 2 diabetes. All the cream cakes of youth catching up with one. However "To Drive the Cold Winter Away" (Loreena McKennitt, how I would like to meet her (although the three of us did meet other musical heroes a fortnight ago when we heard Gaberlunzie perform in a Kirkcudbridght pub - they were good, 21 years older than when I had booked Robin and Gordon at the Scottish Maritime Museum, they are now practically old but they can still sing, Gordon did a stentorian unaccompanied rendering of Burn's Such a Parcel of Rogues, quite different to what they've recorded and quite brilliant)), we've arranged a 50th bash. I apologise for the double brackets in the foregoing. Not brilliant English but did you ever read F. D. Maurice's theology? One of my heroes. He had sentences which exceeded a page in length. I do tend to offer something like a Ronnie Corbett Shaggy Dog Story when let loose. I remember I could never ever listen to an entire one of his as they physically made me sweat.

Back to the main thread. We are nearly fifty. I am an autumnal child. It was Bishop Richard Holloway, himself a November child, who spoke of the Gentle Melancholy of Autumn. I think a lot can be understood in my own life by remembering that I am a Scorpio born in November in Norwich in the old Norfolk and Norwich Hospital (not the new one which has a worrying reputation and to all intents and purpose saw off my beloved mother by not diagnosing Peritonitis within three days). And when all the details of my birth on 1st November 1959 are appreciated even more is understood. For whilst we may not be able to describe the exact moment of our birth, I have no doubts we remember it well. And the conversations we have had with our own daughter Clare born very premature in 2000 confirm this for us.

We digress yet again. I wanted to put down here what we've arranged for the 31st October. We have very many friends and acquaintances. Sadly we could not invite everyone. If you've not received the invite, sorry. But in three respects you can still join in. Those who wanted to chase the antique bus on its jaunt through the Pennines could. Yes, that's what we're doing, hiring a bus. Google Dreadnought XSL and you will find it. We're also having a ride on the South Tynedale Railway on public trains so we could see you. However access to the bus itself and to the party is strictly controlled. We have no room for gatecrashers and will spot any a mile away!

So here is the broader information. It is a for charity do and generous hearts who are prepared to donate to the good causes even if not coming on the bus or getting to the party will have their heavenly reward! Those who know me well will get all the "connections". Durham, the North Pennines, Auden, old railways and buses (a Lowestoft Lodekka (childhood)), Tynedale, Churches and the spirit & Farmhouse/Chapel Teas. Heavenly.

Robert Forsythe at 50 update and Boarding Instructions master


An update about the 31st October / 1st November Robert reaches 50 party. Bookings have come in well and 57 out of 60 seats are spoken for on the bus for Saturday. Some folk are additionally booking to shadow the tour in private vehicles and/or just attend the evening party. Hopefully some worthwhile photos of the tour will result from the shadowing parties.

Some reminders about joining:
The bus will start and end its day at Dreadnought Coaches Alnwick depot. Some individuals have elected to join the vehicle between Alnwick and Newcastle. This must be arranged between those involved and the bus company direct.

The tour will officially start at 9am outside Newcastle Central Station. A big red doubledeck half cab bus labelled Dreadnought should be obvious.

Those travelling into Newcastle from the Tyne Valley are recommended to use the local train service leaving Prudhoe at 08.24 (and other Tyne Valley stops). The connection off the local train will be held. Purchase your own train fare.

The route will be via Chester Le Street, Durham, Willington to Stanhope. Certain pick ups have been negotiated along this route.

We hope to be in Stanhope main street for 11am and a one hour coffee stop. After which we will process past Killhope and onto Alston for an extended afternoon stop allowing lunch and an optional South Tynedale train ride at either 14.15 or 15.30.

The South Tynedale Railway has been approached and have offered a group booking rate payable on the day. They say:

Adults £5.00, Children(3-15 yrs.) £2.25. Valid to two return journeys. Payment on the day is perfectly acceptable by cash , cheque or card (not American Express ).

They also say a steam engine is "quite possible" and, too, a visit to the sheds, suitable tough footwear recommended.

Alston will be left promptly on the return of the 15.30 train. The destination will be Stocksfield Institute. The ladies of the Snods Edge Church Hall Sunday Afternoon Teas have agreed to cater for the party. They will donate their profit to the Tynedale Hospice. A Pennine Chapel style high tea with lots of corned beef pie and scope for kiddies games. This is from 6pm-8pm. The bus will leave the venue at about 8pm for Newcastle Central. Any trains running commencing from the 8.47pm (South) should be connected with. We will check the timetables nearer the time but would intend that options from Edinburgh to York could be covered for those wishing to be home on Saturday night.

May I stress that the costs of the bus hire and of the catering for the party will be met by myself and Fiona. If you receive this email, it will be because we have understood you to have committed to come along. If for some reason you change your mind, please let us know immediately, so that seats can be re-allocated. Your booking is presently allocated ______ seats. The party venue is not dry and we invite guests to brings drinks of all types. You could stock up during the day. We will provide tea, coffee, squash.

Sunday arrangements will be low key and arranged on Saturday. Church attendance at Roman Catholic, Anglican or Baptist venues should be possible and a Sunday lunch meeting in one of the local hostelries like the White Swan at Ovingham. For those not wishing to go to Church (I would quite like to thank God for making it to 50), there is a recommended walk up Whittle Dene in Ovingham.

A present is not necessary. We want for nothing aged 50. A donation of timetables to the Forsythe Collection is always welcome. We will solicit donations by cheque to one of two charities. Tiny Lives, the Newcastle Hospital's charity for premature births and Sarnelli House, an orphanage in Thailand which our friendly neighbour Davina Radford works with (she will be on the bus). Please make any donation out to either The Tiny Lives Fund or Sarnelli House Orphanage.

Finally, we shall be incommunicado the Friday-Wednesday before the 31st October making a little excursion to Eurospoor in Utrecht.