Friday, 14 March 2014

Direction and Diversions

First, news today of Tony Benn's passing has filled the media with comment and reminiscences. Those of us lucky enough to have enjoyed his company for just a few minutes have always treasured our memories. We met him on a couple of occasions wearing our Labour Arts & Museums Association (LAMA) hats in the 1970s and 80s. Caroline Benn was one of our supporters. He was always attentive, charming and encouraging. Perhaps more memorable was when he stood on Lenton Boulevard addressing the crowd which gathered around him during the 1992 General Election campaign, when Alan Simpson was elected as our MP. The above photograph is one of a number taken by Susan and is taken from a sheet of contact prints (hence the size). I think this is how I will remember him.

My own wrestlings with mortality seem of little consequence, but I am counting the days to my 70th birthday and I am aware of the direction I want my life to take, but the way ahead remains littered with diversions, mostly of my own making. This does not make me unhappy. Quite the contrary. I feel blessed that I have the energy and enthusiasm. Long may it last.

Trying to sell our house is very much part of where we want to go and the process is made all the more difficult by Nottingham City Council's new planning ban on any more student houses in Lenton, where we live, and other parts of the city. Once again the winners are the landlords and the losers owner occupiers. My next blog will be devoted to what is happening and why the restrictions of Houses in Multiple Occupation is already working in unexpected ways, so watch this space!

Right now, I am working on my new website and my 35 'History Bus' day on 24 May, plus preparing for a Lenton local history 'housing' walk with members of West Bridgford Local History Society, and doing some creative writing. Then there are the daily chores. I suspect that everyone reading this lives the same way, except some of you have to work for a living as well.

Finally, just in case you haven't seen it, I am attaching a copy my Nottingham History by Bus Map, part of a work in progress. My direction has been in front of me for years, I love local history and travelling on buses. I have brought them together occasionally in the past and I am amazed that no one else has attempted to do what I am doing on a regular basis. We shall see, but this, along with writing short stories is what I want to do, plus play bowls and grow runner beans in the summer. Then there is loving Susan, still 24 in my eyes and, with her, I feel 24 as well. There will be diversions, most I know will be of my own making, but that's the me I've been living with for  nearly seventy years and I am happy with that insomuch as it doesn't keep me awake at night.

You can see a larger version at my temporary historybybus blog.

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