Thursday 3 June 2010


photo Guardian Newspaper

Am I alone in feeling more and more nostalgic or is it just me? Hang on, that’s not write, er right – sorry I’m tired, I’ve been working like a dog. and i should be sleeping like a log. But when I get home….

I mean, does everyone feel nostalgic about stuff or are you on your ow…hang on I’ll get there eventually – is it just me or does EVERYONE get nostalgic as they get older?

There, I did it! I’m writing this tonight for tomorrow (which is now today) but I really should be sleeping, I’m totally creamed and tommoroow – oops – is another full day including the unenviable task of working with Mr… know who. But krissie is on her way from the airport and who knows, if I can stay awake I might see her before she sets off to Paris for the weekend.

So do you?

Get nostalgic about things?

Just the other day I saw a photo of the Glasgow to Mallaig railway line, a single track running John-Buccan-like across the Scottish moors and I came over all kleenexy.

Mind you it doesn’t take much these days, my daughter calling “daddy” from the other room, the final scene from Doctor Who episode Rose, a comment on my blog….

I walked along the Glasgow to Mallaig railway line once, not all of it you understand but a section where sheep grazed and any train would certainly have to have stopped as they wouldn’t budge for me and my friend Bob.

Do you know Bob?

He was my best friend at school and we once took a train from London to Split in old-Yugoslavia, a journey of about three days just so we could send a postcard to all our friends saying, “Hey man, we split to Split.”

We spoke like that in the good old days.

Bob’s last name began with an N, and he once confided that if he became a dad he would name his child Michael Andrew, or Mary Anna so that his/her initials would be M.A.N.

I wonder if he ever did. I trawled the Internet looking for a trace of him, last thing I knew he was on a farm in Denmark, but no luck.

So anyway, we went to Mallaig together, hitchhiking from London this time.
A brilliant plan until we got stuck in Grantham where NOBODY would give us a lift – probably because they all chose Margaret Thatcher as their member of parliament.

So we caught a coach to Glasgow and started again.

We wandered to a nearby roundabout and stuck our thumbs in the air.

I don’t remember why we were heading for Mallaig, maybe it was/is the gateway to the Western Isles and I think we had official permission to land on the nature reserve of the Isle of Rhum and get bitten to death by midges.

A car stopped.


“Where ye oft to?”

“Mallaig”- a stupid thing to say, as it was miles away and we were in an industrial estate near the coach station.

“Me too, hop in.”

The driver was a fireman – it was his weekend off and he was heading for the Mallaig Highland Games where he hoped to supplement his pathetic salary, that would force him and his fellow fire-fighters to strike against that evil woman Thatcher a few years later, by winning one of the events.

As we drove north and west he explained how there were cash prizes and his speciality was the 5000 meters, and then invited us to the games to watch- he was very confident of winning.

When we arrived we watched people tossing cabers around and hurling things and someone in a kilt even danced over a pair of crossed swords – it was brilliant, nothing like southeast London where Bob and I usually hung about.

Then came the big event and our friend stripped out of his tracksuit and wandered over to the start.

There were only two runners!

And cash prizes for the first three places!

I looked at Bob. I was 17: Fit, healthy and school cross-country champion.

And skint. All i had to do was finish and i would be in the spondoolies.

You know that person who said – he who hesitates is lost?

They were right.

Our friend won, collected his winnings, said goodbye and drove back to Glasgow. Bob and I wandered around town until we found a semi-abandoned shelter on the football pitch and we slept there for a couple of nights until the ferry took us to the lunch appointment with a thousand vicious midges.

We walked down the railway track one day for something to do, it was beautiful, peaceful and the thought that a train ran along such an unspoilt part of the world was very comforting.

The fact that it still runs I find even more comforting.

Now, where’s my Kleenex?


Janet Bianchini said...

Get your Kleenex out again! -here's another comment! Really enjoyed reading this lovely piece of nostalgia.

popps said...

Thank you janet, sniff.

Mary said...

Gives new meaning to BitsnBOBs. Hope you keep trying to find Bob ... and Alan for that matter.


popps said...

sniff, sniff.

popps said...

plus a he he he Mary!:-)

Vicki said...

Pls pass tissues over here next. Have been feeling very nostalgic and loved this post.

popps said...

Good, so nostalgia is everywhere - but is it what it used to be?

Mary said...

Your blog proves that nostalgia is alive and well and living in France, Italy, Canada, Ireland, England. I remember seeing you with your journal once or twice but I just thought you were using it to help juggle your busy schedule. Nice to see some of its pages reproduced here.