Wednesday 19 October 2022

Rally - A clarification

Apparently quite a few folk were surprised to see a certain ex-journalist on Mull at the weekend after having said that he wasn't going to Mull at all, and then even more surprised to see a short report on this very page on his experience while there. Some folk even wondered if the chap in question had a change of heart and decided not to retire.

Nae chance, the big chap didn't actually tell any real 'fibs'. He didn't go to Mull as a journalist, he went as a spectator. There is a difference. As for the wee roundup report, that was based on just a few observations from the sidelines, and maybe you'll allow such personal indulgences from other 'spectator outings' in future.

So anyone expecting a review or report from this weekend's final round of the Scottish Rally Championship in Kielder will have to look elsewhere. Having said that, the big chap may well appear in the background but only as a spectator, and for the first time in a very long time, he won't make up his mind till the last minute. If it's cauld, wet and windy then he won't be going, but if it's to be fair, fine and dry then maybe, just maybe.

That in itself marks a big change in lifestyle. In the past, reporting duty demanded a physical presence at events. There are some 'journalists' around who will write reports from the luxury of home by phoning those who finished well for a few quotes plus a bit of background info. Then they will scour social media for film clips and information to add a bit of colour, but that's not the way the majority do it.

A proper job requires a physical presence. Wet feet, chapped lips, sunburn and midge bites - it all adds to the experience. There's nothing to beat standing under a flapping eezi-up trying to extract information from drivers and co-drivers, and if they won't tell, then quiz the service crews who have to fix the bluidy things! That cannot be replicated in a phone call.

Speaking for myself that means I don't HAVE to be there on Saturday, because I'm not reporting. However, I will have the luxury of deciding the night before whether I WANT to go or not, and that hasn't been the case for over 50 years. Admittedly, it's a weird feeling.

There were other reasons for going to Mull. It was the 50th running of the event and I just had to visit the cairn at Dervaig to tell Brian of future plans. And here's an odd, little known fact, there was another very personal reason too. My birthday is on the 15th of October each year. That means I have spent more of my birthdays on the Isle of Mull than I have with my own family at home! Maybe it's time to fix that!


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