THE ROAD TO CONCORDE
Concorde doesn’t fly. But that doesn’t matter. There’s one near you – mine’s at East Fortune and the Museum of Flight.
A thing of stunning beauty that will outlive flight itself. I saw it fly at Farnborough when I was at school. It was good, but not as good as a walk round it in its hangar.
Now it belongs to the people, I urge you to take the road to see it.
These poems were written after Concorde came to earth, in 2003.
GNER ran the East Coast Mainline from 1996 – 2007. It provided a popular and efficent service. In spite of its creation from the death throes of British Rail and the principle of public service and public ownership, it won many supporters. Its slim trains in deep blue looked like trains. For me, it provided connections to Edinburgh, where I met my wife, and London where I was born.
New Labour handed it to a bus company when its parent company ran into difficulties, and it failed to hand over enough cash for its operating license. I thought it should be remembered.
My mother lived on a farm in Northumberland as a child and young woman. This was part of our family from the 1890s to 1987 when her brother Edward died. It was a place that all of us called “the farm”, and was a spiritual home, while it still existed.
Ogle Hill Head commanded views of the whole of the county. Tall buildings 13 miles away in Newcastle were visible over the rolling horizons of farmland. The Cheviot Hills, 45 miles north, guarded the border to Scotland.
When we left, in two memorable weeks, we had to take what we could, whatever it had been, with us. These poems came from that time, or are about it.