ourselves to blame, I guess; too many enthusiastic drivers must have driven beyond their
skills, or luck, and crashed on the A68, and the cameras are their memorials.
The 701 doesn't have any cameras yet, though it does appear to. Somebody's got a
mock one in their garden near Tweedsmuir. This is the first pretend speed camera I've
ever seen. It looks quite convincing at a glance, before you realise it's set too low, they
never site them in gardens and the square lens aperture is a mirror. What's worrying is
that the place where it's sited is on bit of a wiggle in the road, slightly uphill when com-
ing from the north-east, and in the midst of a few houses; you'd have to be driving like a
maniac to be going much over 60 here.
Which is the other side of the coin for fast driving in the countryside, of course; coun-
try roads aren't just routes for fun driving, they're the roads that people live on, too,
and if you don't drive with consideration for those people then they're going to demand
GATSOs. It's that whole issue of having your own speed limits, modulating speed ac-
cording to perceived and likely risk and not just going on whether the group of houses
ahead has a 30 sign stuck in front of it.
A hot old day in Chester, sticky and still. It's good to see Gary and Christiane. They met
on a train when Gary was on his way to North Queensferry. Gary and I have been work-
ing on a soundtrack album of Espedair Street for a few years now and both of us had
made a few journeys, usually by train, to see the other and work on the songs. Originally
conceived as the soundtrack for a mooted film of the topic - another of Roger's scripts -
this project gradually took on a life of its own, especially after Gary had the brain wave of
getting other artists to record a song each, as a kind of tribute album to a band that never
existed. We've had a holiday from this for a year or so but now it's back on track and we
still intend to see what we can do with this idea.
On this occasion it was Gary's turn to travel to Scotland. The Virgin train was, to no
one's great surprise, running late and he asked this attractive girl sitting across from him
if he could borrow her phone to call me. (I think Gary compensates for having to use all
that electronic music gear each day in his work by resolutely not having a mobile phone,
laptop or PDA. Until recently he even went to a nearby café to pick up email.) Christiane
lived in Dunfermline, just up the road from us, and before too long Gary was making that
long journey from Chester to see her. This had the advantage for Ann and me that we got
to see Gary fairly often, but it also meant that Gary spent a lot of time on trains, and quite
often in trains that were stuck in stations. So he started train spotter-spotting.
As long as I've known him, Gary's been a great note taker; he always carries a note-
book (I don't, which is one reason I often feel I'm not a Proper Writer) so he started a
page at the back dedicated to the guys that hang around on station platforms watching
trains. Years after Gary told me this, Paul Merton on Have I Got News For You came up
with the same idea, but he didn't have the time to develop it the way Gary did. Gary had