Earlier this week I received a call from the BBC. Now don’t get too excited as it wasn’t (yet) The One Show requesting that I become their cycling-travel expert. Perhaps one day… It was my friends at BBC Radio Leeds. If you remember, shortly before I set off on my latest transcontinental jaunt in 2015 I was interviewed at length by Martin Kelner on Radio Leeds for his One-on-One slot. You can listen to the complete interview by following this link to the CyclingEurope iPlayer. (I do hope that you don’t take all this seriously…) This week, Radio Leeds wanted me to talk about my favourite tourist destinations and for about five minutes on Wednesday morning, I did just that. If you live in the catchment area for Radio Leeds you may have heard me.
Perhaps it was this exchange that, when I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t sleep, had me thinking back to my previous encounters with the media. One memorable moment came as a result of me tweeting this back in July 2015 whilst I was cycling through Norway:
Goodness, that caused me all kinds of trouble and I think to this day I am a man who strikes fear into the heart of the Sortland tourist office.
I ended up being interviewed by the local newspaper who featured my comments (along with the tweet) on one whole page of their newspaper – shown here – and the Facebook page of the newspaper received several hundred comments as a result of what I had written. Admittedly, some were sympathetic with what I had tweeted but many were not happy about “this English writer” who had come to their town and, effectively, slagged it off in a tweet. Anyway… Time heals. Let’s hope so. But last night, in my sleepness state, I Googled a few bits and pieces and discovered that not only had my tweet resulted in many Facebook comments but it had also inspired a group of students to make their own video about Sortland. Now here I come against the brick wall that is the Norwegian language. I can just about hear my name in the first part of the video but as for the rest, it remains very much a mystery. If there are any Norwegian speakers out there I would love to know what they are saying.
I would also love, one day, to return to Sortland and discover that actually, it’s not the dreary place that I thought it was back on my visit on a wet Sunday afternoon in July last year… Perhaps they might invite me back.