Saturday, 26 September 2015

The Canny Chanter

Sometimes you book something so far in advance that it feels like it will take an eternity to get there and then, blow me down, we're suddenly here and off! This was very much the case with my beloved's Christmas present - mine to him in this case - and having booked this a good ten months ago we found ourselves on Wednesday night at the Sage in Newcastle for an evening with Art Garfunkel.

Who doesn't have a Simon and Garfunkel song somewhere stored in their memories of good times, bad times, sad times? For me, this varies from America to Homeward Bound to Old Friends with so many more along the way - all wonderful and surprisingly, Art can still sing them all.

But I am getting ahead of myself. First we had to get there... How hard can this be? Number 3 is at university in Newcastle, we regularly go to the rugby there - what could possibly go wrong?

Now that my beloved works away from home during the week a plan was hatched that he would train up to Newcastle and I would get on the train (he with my ticket as well as his own) at Northallerton and join him. Yes, I got to Northallerton in plenty of time. The platform was quite busy and I checked my phone that I was due to join my beloved in Coach D in seats 17 and 18 - how's that for attention to detail?

A few moments before the train was due to arrive, a train drew into the platform with Coach D right in front of me and everyone on the platform made a dash for it. I followed suit and by the time I had established that I was not married to anyone in Coach D, the train was on its way to Middlesbrough via Yarm and Thornaby. So now I was going to places I've never been before with no idea how to change my route. It's surprising how enticing the communicating cord or emergency brake looks when you find yourself heading the wrong way on a train!

No guard in attendance so I sat next to a very nice lady who was going to Thornaby and told her my tale of incompetence. She was very helpful and supportive (thank you!) and told me to get off at Thornaby and get the Darlington train which I did. Of course, I had to confess my incompetence to my beloved and after all the years of getting children on to right trains I no longer have a leg to stand on in terms of public transport.

Thornaby to Darlington and a very cold wait on metal seats (why?) on the platform and then on a train from Darlington to Newcastle. All of which took £12.50 and nearly two hours.

But we made it to Art almost on time and heard his beautiful voice in the acoustically wonderful Sage. Worth every minute of the unnecessarily fraught journey and something I will never forget.

On the way back in the taxi to the station with my beloved, the driver referred to Art as a 'canny chanter' which just proves that in Newcastle there's music in everything - including their speech.

Art Garfunkel now and then.

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