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A night out Well, I arrived at the theatre and to...
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Crackers Yep. It's official. Everyone's gone nuts...
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Another day in Newcastle I didn't get in my car a...
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Saturday, September 25

There they are
One thing I forgot to report about my musings on the journey home last night (if indeed I bothered reporting any of my musings directly) was that there seemed to be a distinct lack of people in town. I walked away from the theatre between 10pm and 10.30pm and the streets were pretty empty, as were the bars I walked past. Perhaps everyone had already made their way to late-licensed establishment, or perhaps everyone chose last Friday night to have a night in. The lack of people in the theatre may well have been a symptom of that (or a symptom of the fact that it was a relatively cultured show and Newcastle is a relatively uncultured city).

Anyway, Newcastle does have one hell of a population and it certainly knows how to celebrate its city-wide love of football. Today I walked into town starting at 2pm (I didn't go there directly) and managed to get caught in match-traffic - human-match-traffic, that is. There were just hoards of people headed for the ground. Apart from the staunch way they refused to budge when I tried to make my way against the flow, they seemed a pretty genial bunch. It is good to see a group of strangers united in a common purpose. I somehow managed to head home around kicking-out time at the stadium as well, and had to work against the flow of people heading into town from St James' Park. I found myself in the recently restored Leazes Park, and had a wander past the duck pond, which was nice. Anyway, I've missed out the amazing story of my trip to town.

A trip to town
Phew - I can tell you about my jaunt into the city.

My aim today was to clock up some miles on the legs and feet. This is part of my new-found lack-lustre attempts to put some health-conscious activity into my life again. This should include the avoidance of naughty foods, the favouring of good foods and the half-hearted attempts to do something that's more energetic than sitting in a car, or at a desk every week. So far, week 1 has gone well, but I'm weak and I fully anticipate the next chocolate biscuit being too much for me.

Anyway, I know myself and I know that I work best with a mission. I set out for town with a number of objectives:

  • get some new guitar strings
  • buy some Starbucks coffee beans
  • get a small radio to make walking more fun
  • pick up a photographic print I'd had made
Given that the radio would have been nice to have for the whole day, I had the excuse to walk into town via a rather awkward route - one which took me past a few places which might sell such an item. Once in town, I accomplished all of my objectives, visiting some of my favourite shops in the process. While I spent money on various things, I managed to avoid spending time and money on stuffing bad things into my stomach. The only edible item was a Starbucks cappuccino, which I even had with skimmed milk. Watch this space, this new effort will quickly disappear.

In search of radio
I'm a man of extremes. My objective was to buy a radio which doesn't tune with an analogue wheel - these things are next to useless if you walk since the FM frequency varies slightly and the radio should really follow the frequency. There are three sorts of radio that would do the job nicely for me (given that I wanted something that would sit neatly in my coat pocket):
  • A cheap cheap cheap auto-scan radio
  • A nice digital tuner
  • A personal DAB radio
As I'm a man of extremes, the middle one was not on my list - they cost £30 to £40 (as I discovered today).

The auto-scan radio will find a channel when you push its button and hopefully hang onto it as you walk. As I listen to Radio 2, I'm usually able to pick that up as the the first channel on the auto-scan, so if it goes off, I just press the re-scan button and it gets picked up again. I used to have a couple of these radios. The best was free with about 8 million cans of Pepsi and worked beautifully - sadly it got wet and broke. I had another one, with a built-in torch, about which I remarked would probably wear its own battery out if the torch were accidentally activated (say with something pushed against its button in a pocket) - this happened, proving me right. I later found how useful the torch facility was when I had to pull over on a dark road, worried that a tyre was flat in my car. Anyway, this latter radio broke as well. A replacement would have been nice - it should be worth a couple of pounds.

The DAB radio will find a wealth of channels and relay them in CD quality to your ears. I quite fancy one of these. They cost a minimum of £140 if you have one that's pocket sized. One can buy a unit for £70 if you want something that is the size of an old-fashioned radio (why they make new things look like classic old things is beyond me - like progress only works if you dress it up in nostalgia!?). In the end, my wallet resisted the thought of spending that much money on a radio when I could get 70 of the other sort for the same price.

Choosing to go first to a department store instead of the everything's a pound shop, I found the exact set I was looking for - it even had the torch. I bought it. £2. I also bought an unnecessary power tool. Well, it was cheap! I was going to buy a shirt, but my resistance to buying polyester was in force - some of those shirts were 100% polyester - that's just wrong. That whole shop must be a fire risk. One bit of static and the whole place will go up. I went to the pound shop second in order to buy a massive supply of AAA batteries for my new radio. They also sell autoscan radios. D'oh! I could have saved £1 on the radio I just bought. Then, in a bizarre twist of fate, I bought one of their £1 radios. Why not? It's only a pound. This one doesn't have a torch. I now have a choice of radios, or, better than that, can keep one in both of my regular coats - there'll always been one on hand, now. If one proves to perform better, then great. Life is too short to worry about £1 for a radio.

I'm now listening to a CD.


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