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I’m back! My Covid vaccination didn’t cause me too much of a problem, but it certainly made its presence known. I had a crap nights sleep on Thursday due to the flu-like aches and pains it generated. I still felt low on Friday morning so stayed in bed but by lunchtime the effects had worn off and I felt right as rain. So much so that I was well enough to get out for a long walk and hit my daily exercise targets without any trouble – which was a bonus.

My spirits were further lifted by a phone call. Sometimes, as a Journalist, you wonder if the stuff you write ever has an impact or if it’s worthwhile. The current copy of RAIL magazine contains a piece I’ve written on ‘Platform 1’, the mental health charity based at Huddersfield station. On Friday I had a phone call from Bob Morse, the charities Project Manager. Not only did he love the article (which he thought told was pitched just right), he also told me that’s it’s already saved one life. He explained that a young man who was about to commit suicide had picked up his Dad’s copy of RAIL and read the article. Doing so spurred him on to change his mind. Instead, he’s contacted Platform 1 and they’ve taken him under their wing. As Bob said to me – ‘we won’t let him go now’. Those of you whom know me well will know mental health and suicide is an issue that’s touched my life. This news makes me feel that the job I do can sometimes make a difference. It would be unfair not to mention that the idea for the article came from RAIL’s Paul Stephen, who commissioned me to write it, so Paul also deserves credit for this. To get positive feedback on the stuff you write is always good. One of the reasons I enjoy blogging is that readers can (and do feedback directly). But to be told that something you’ve done has had such a positive outcome is very special.

Charities like Platform 1 are very much in the front-line right now as Covid has clipped the wings of many agencies who would normally offer help to people. The problem’s exacerbated by the fact lockdown has massively increased the need for these services, so anything I’ve been able to do to help has been worthwhile. If you think you can (practically, or financially), here’s a link to Platform 1’s website which contains all their contact details as well as far more about their services.

OK, it’s Saturday night and I’m not going to blog forever – it’s time for a night off. Dawn and I have picked up a fabulous food package from the Moorcock Inn which we’re going to start preparing shortly, so right now I’m going to leave you with the picture of the day. As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve begun the task of scanning old slides from a solo trip through SE-Asia that I undertook in 1991-92. Right now I’m on the first tranche of pictures taken in the few days after I landed in Delhi, India. I’d pitched up in the Paharganj, an area next to Delhi railway station (not to be confused with old Delhi) which was a fantastic if anarchic area. I still stay there when I go back and it’s not changed much in character in the intervening years. One evening I came across a wedding procession in the street outside. The Groom was riding a white horse and he was accompanied by friends, family – and a band with their own light-show. This being India – the light-show was both labour intensive and a hazard to anyone else! Imagine 7-8 people carrying these fluorescent tube ensembles on their heads – all linked together by flex like mountaineers roped together – only at the far end of the flex there was a pedal rickshaw with a big old generator on the back of it! All, this, in a narrow, busy street in the middle of the Paharganj!

I followed the wedding for a while and took a host of pictures whilst chatting to the family of the groom. We got on so well that they invited me along to the wedding! Me – absurdly under-dressed in a singlet, but that didn’t matter! It’s what I love about India – the friendliness of people. I’ve ended up going along to several weddings like this – although not in a singlet – honest (I learned my lesson and keep a shirt with me now). You’ll be able to find all the pictures of this and the rest of my adventures in a special gallery I’ve started here.

I’ve a favour to ask…
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