After 12 workshops which had run without any delays, diversions or other hitches, I might have guessed number 13 was going to be a problem!
Go to Newcastle they said.
You'll get some lively debate and really helpful input they said.
Doesn't take that long they said.
Only 2 hours 50 minutes on a direct train they said.
After 7 hours travelling when we still hadn't reached Newcastle but had experienced:
- Overhead line damage
- Points failure/damage - depending on who you listened to
- 3 trains
- A very long diversion
- A police raid (possibly - hearsay!)
- A grouchy taxi driver who didn't appear to actually want to carry passengers
- Lots of chocolate biscuits ....
....we finally arrived in Newcastle City Library for the final hour of the planned workshop.
I can confirm that lively debate and really helpful input was much in evidence, and I'm hugely grateful to Angela, Mark and all the attendees for getting on with answering the workshop questions in our absence and taking copious notes so we didn't miss anything.
So not quite how we planned to end our England-wide workshop tour, but we got there eventually!
Oh and before you ask, the train back to London only took 3 hours 40 minutes, during quite a bit of which I was sitting in the aisle.
If you didn't manage to get to our workshops - or even if you did, but have since thought of ideas you'd like to share - you can still feed in via our online survey. It closes just before midnight tonight: 3 June. In our next post we will share a roundup of the whole consultation process and outline what we are going to be doing during the next month or so as we work towards publication towards the end of July. Don't forget the document that forms the result of this process is just the start - the detailed action plan that will accompany it is how you will be able to track progress and hold people and organisations to account.