The Anonymous Widower

Why Do I Like Travelling?

I was asked this question by a journalist this morning. But somehow it must be in the genes.

My father had been a great traveller before the Second World War and I know he’d gone all the way to the South of France and Geneva by train. One tale, that I can verify is that when he needed to buy a new guillotine from Griegs in Glasgow, he drove all the way up with his Scottish deputy and guillotine operator; Frank Black, or Mack the Knife, to see the machines in the factory. That was something not many people did in the 1950s.

Even at University, I was a bit of a traveller and one summer, I hitched to Glasgow to see a football match, before taking the train down to Manchester and then Paignton, to see friends.

C might have picked up the bug from me, but we were not beyond hitch-hiking together, as we did once to come to London, to tell her parents we were going to get married.  I was 20 and she was just 19.

Package tours were not for us and some of the first real holidays we had were when we took our Austin Maxi, down to the South of France, with the three boys in the back. And that was generally before they’d built the Autoroutes.

Later we would drive to Syros and Crete in Greece and Rome in Italy. On one trip we went over the St. Gotthard Pass in August in a severe blizzard and then came down the other side into Italy with rocks falling off the mountains in heavy rain.

We also swapped houses with a couple of Americans and we were in the States for six weeks, travelling as far East as Boston and as far West as Minneapolis.

We didn’t do boring.

After the children got fed up with us and left home, we continued to travel. We drove around Malaysia, took the train from Bangkok to Penang and I flew C and myself, all round Australia in a light aircraft.

We also had some memorable trips in my own plane.  Perhaps the longest was going out of Southend and reaching Naples.

Even when C was dying, she was planning another trip, where we would drive around Thailand.  Sadly, she hadn’t realised how ill she was, so this trip never came about.

Since her death, I have continued to travel and in fact, my stroke happened on a round the world trip in Hong Kong. I have visited every ground in the English League in alphabetical order by public transport and now I have started a series of fly out-rail home journeys.  The first was to Budapest.

Pencilled in to be done over the summer are Palermo, Sumburgh, New Quay, Lisbon, Stockholm, Odessa and Ferranfore.

This weekend it’s more mundane, in that I’m going to Burnley to see Ipswich in the last match of the season, by train from Kings Cross.


May 1, 2013 - Posted by | Transport | ,

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