Travelling to work takes on new meaning when you have to make a day long journey for just an hour of work, the length of a lecture.
Last week I left home before dawn to get down to Cornwall but hit trouble as early as Reading station. Standing in the freezing, snowy cold, trains were constantly cancelled, changed or delayed because of the floods that had hit the West Country the week before. The force of the water had dislodged several lines that ran close to rivers and so, although the tracks remained, the ballast underneath them had been washed away in many places. New landslips were being reported as I stood there. The poor beleaguered train staff did their best and in the end advised anyone to take whatever train was on offer if it was going approximately in the right direction. I did and with a coach ride, plus diverted train, plus car arrived eventually at Fowey by about 5 pm. I quickly changed, gave my lecture on behalf of the Fowey Harbour Heritage Society and went to bed. I left at dawn the next day, happy I’d done what I’d been asked but sad I didn’t have longer to enjoy this beautiful part of the world.
This week I went in the other direction, to Saltaire, the model village just outside Bradford built by mill owner and philanthropist Titus Salt in the early 19th century to improve the lives of his workers. Saltaire is now a Unesco World Heritage Site and the vast Salt’s Mills alongside the River Aire are home to a spectacular collection of paintings by David Hockney, the almost local boy who studied at Bradford School of Art before going to London and the Royal College of Art. Read More