Thursday, 1 February 2007

Voyage of Discovery

I waited until the day was waning. There were fewer people about and, as I got on the bus to Newcastle, there was a huge moon low in the sky, already brilliant in its fullness.

"Gateshead, please," I said. Why did I do that? My mind must have been on other things and now, here I was with a ticket to Gateshead Interchange, when I had intended to go directly to Newcastle.

At the Interchange, I got off and when the next bus came along, I got on that one.

"Newcastle, please."

In Newcastle, I realised I had no particular reason for being there.

I wandered round town, looking in the Waterstones Twins, where I found a BBC CD of Betjeman reading some of his own poetry. I decided to come back and look at it some other time. In W H Smith's, I flicked idly through the pages of Mojo, toyed briefly with the idea of using my fingernail to slit open one of the other sealed music magazines, but eventually found I hadn't sufficient interest. I lingered a while in Fenwick's deli, but couldn't see anything to tempt me for dinner.

I was definitely in full flaneur mode.

When the novelty had worn off, I got the bus home. "Black Horse, please." That's in the next fare zone, I reminded myself.

Last week I would have paid £3.50 for my travelling. Today it cost me nothing at all.

I have made my first journey using my Concessionary Travel Card. I am sixty.


ian gordon said...

I would have grabbed the Betjeman CD. In fact I didn't know they'd finally converted them to digital. I painstakingly did my own from the cassettes. The BBC recordings are more satisfying than those awful ones which were done with corny "wacky jazz" links. (But I confess to owning them all).

Winchester whisperer said...

Bravo! I bought a tape of TS Eliot reading his own poetry. His voice sounds so dated and overall it was disappointing, the worst bit being when the tape got caught up in the cassette player of my old Alpha Spider which made him sound as if he was reciting from the bottom of a drain.

Mr Zip said...

I always had a soft spot for the recordings made with Jim Parker ("Betjeman's Banana Blush" etc) and I see they've all been re-released on CD. The BBC recording ("A First Class Collection") is also £5 cheaper on Amazon, so I guess I was right to leave the copy at Waterstones.

Anna said...

Somewhere I have some tapes of Betjeman reading 'Summoned by Bells' - I must dig them out, I remember I liked them a lot. He doesn't emote like some other poets annoyingly do.

So glad you have your bus pass and that the transition was properly celebrated. It's a bit of a facer to hit 60, but once the shock fades it all goes on pretty much as usual.

Mr Zip said...

I've heard some of his reading of "Summoned by Bells." He has a somehow comforting tone.

I'm getting over the birthday now and beginning to realise that I'm still just as disorganised and daydreamy as ever.

Birdman said...

Quite normal that you seem to be taking a perverse enjoyment in attaining buspassdom.
It's like being a kid smoking fags for the first time or finding out about masturbation. It's a rite of passage.
Fuel allowance fever will be next.

Mr Zip said...

Masturbation? Yes, I must find out about that. Perhaps it'll keep me warm until the fuel allowance turns up.