Blimey, is that enough driving for you? Check out these two Google Maps, plotting my trip from home on Tuesday morning to Worcester, then to Darlington, Hartlepool, Stockton, Leyburn then (cos you couldn’t fit that many destinations on one Google Map) to Nottingham, Kibworth, Derby, Sheffield, home again, and straight off the next morning all the way to Edinburgh, where we’ll be for the next month.
I didn’t bother including the map for Monday’s trip to Barnet and back, and the preceding weekend’s flight and drive to Enniskillen and home. But add those on and you can see I’ve spent 10 solid days travelling, of which more than 24 hours were spent behind the wheel of a car. If I’ve ever earned my Edinburgh rest, of not having to drive for a month, I’ve earned it this year.
In fact I will be driving a little bit, with schools to do, and who knows what other eventualities might occur, but hopefully for most of the next 27 days my car will be parked up a long walk away, and I’ll get healthy with a lot of traipsing the streets of Embra.
I could certainly do to lose some weight. The big curse of travelling is eating unhealthily. I try to do better, but grabbing sandwiches at lunch, being unable to resist a hotel breakfast, and catering for myself in the evening means I’m inevitably eating less well than one does at home. I’ve gulped down a few slices of raw garlic in my hotel room, but it’s not as easy to do as when you’re in your kitchen. And there’s something about shop-bought food that’s more salty and sugary and less fresh than what your body needs. I talked to a comedian not long ago who’s developed gout and put it down to Ginsters pasties. So, let’s see if a month of flying and eating in our lovely new Edinburgh flat works its wonders.
Any big observations from my trip (which was, of course, to do a string of Comic Art Masterclasses which are well documented here)? Well Hartlepool is pretty run down, with a lot of effort being made to try and boost it, but with a lot of work to do. They have Wesleyan chapel whose roof is burnt out and that you can see ,from the neon Carling sign out front, spent its last days as a night club. Called The Wesleyan. It’s what he would have wanted.
Stockton On Tees is less run down, and included this Georgian looking building, with thick cobwebs in the window making it look like it’s been empty for 50 years, but panning up to the sign you can see it was a wine bar until quite recently.
I stayed in The George Hotel in Piercebridge, which is where the song My Grandfathers Clock was written, and was in the pretty market town of Leyburn in North Yorkshire when the rains finally came, ending the two months of blazing sun, most of which has been happening while I’ve been indoors doing classes, or sat in a chilly air-conditioned car.
Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries and art centres - email for details, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. View the promo video here.