Thursday, 1 January 2009

New year. New idea.

NRM CalendarIn April, which seems an obscenely long time ago, I started writing this blog with the intention of documenting my travels in the time I had taken off work. As you can tell from the derisory number of postings this plan didn't work out too well and I've not been nearly as far as I dreamed I would be going. In fact most people could manage to get about more in a standard holiday allowance from work than I've managed to do in 8 months free of responsibility.

The immediate excuses that come to mind involve a combination of the UK economy going belly up, petrol prices rising faster than house prices a couple of years ago and my poorly camper van (It's better now, thanks for asking). These are fair but to be honest, rubbish. Truth is that I have discovered I like having travelled much more than the act itself. And the thing I hate more is getting stuck in to the minutiae of planning a trip. Some people can head off without a care in the world and enjoy the fun of dealing with problems, such as not having a bed for the night, as they arise. Sadly, I'm not one of them.

Which all adds up to a pretty quiet blog. And that is embarrassing. So embarrassing that I have been pondering making this post the last one. A big "The End" would finish up the column and the web pages would sit unloved on-line as a memorial to a stupid dream. People would still trip over them, probably searching for "Jurby Junk" on Google, but there would be nothing new to read.

The trouble with this is twofold:
Some people have been whining about the lack of updates (you know who you are...) and so knocking this on the head would be tantamount to admitting complete defeat and accepting that there isn't much more point in leaving the front door.
Also the campervan is running OK at the moment (touches wood and crosses fingers). If the weather warms up a bit it might actually see some action.

So, I need to look at my limits a bit and try and work out how to "travel" on my terms. The trip I've enjoyed most this year was the run to Thurso. Now, I went there because I saw the place on a map and that created the urge to go. So all I need to to identify some places on maps and persuade myself I want to go.

This leads me to my 2009 challenge. Every year I get a calendar. No surprise there - lots of people do. My calendar is better than yours though, it's a National Railway Museum one showing vintage advertising posters for towns around the UK. These are great as while the UK railway system hasn't always been great at actually running trains, the marketing departments have often snapped up some of the greatest artists in the country to design the posters. Most present impossibly attractive views of the subject where the days are always sunny and the people smile all day. Every year I hang this on my wall and every year I wonder about trying to visit all the locations.

This year I'm going to do it.

So, here is the list:
The Yorkshire Coast
St Andrews
New Brighton (no I didn't know either. The Wirral peninsular apparently. Lovely)
The Broads
St Ives
North Wales
and er The French Riviera. Damn the calendar editor for wanting a foreign destination...

I'll try and do these by train and tick them off as I go. Next stop a map to work out where to go. In the meantime, visit the NRM website to see more posters, just so you understand what I'm talking about.

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