Sunday, April 23, 2006


Liberation, isolation, ill communication

I think I knocked my mobile telephone whilst away on the school trip.

I turned it on a week and a half ago and the little screen came up, then promptly turned off.

"Funny" I thought to myself whilst staring at a dead phone. "It's not meant to do that."

But it did. I tried to turn it on again. And it turned on, came up with the welcome screen and then- OFF.

"Ah" thought I. This mobile 'phone is fairly new, about 3 weeks old so I wasn't expecting anything to go wrong with it. But of course I should never assume these things, and go wrong it has done.

I've sent it off to be fixed and so I'm waiting for it to be sent back.

So now.. what do I have?

Silence. Total silence. No messages, no-one ringing me. I am the 'billy no mates'. I'm sure many people think I'm rude. Or dead. Or both combined.

I have found instances when this has been a Royal Pain in the Arse as was demonstrated in my recent trip to North Wales with my lovely PPQ. We stayed at my dads cottage but when we turned on the washing machine and noticed water dripping into the downstaitrs bedrooms it was very difficult to contact my dad to tell him we were making an aquarium out of the spare room.

Just imagine it. I mean, how many phone numbers do you actually know off the top of your head. When it came to crunch who would you phone if you had no phone?

Well it was difficult, let me tell you that. You really do feel disconnected from your life, which sounds vapid and shallow and by god, it is. I eventually found dads number but I had to go around the houses to do it.

I have an address book at home which has some of the numbers on my phone, but not all of them.

So now I'll just wait.. Wait for my phone to come back in one piece and hopefully don't knock it again.

Monday, April 10, 2006


Lest We Forget

I didn't get much sleep last night. But then again, for one reason or another I haven't slept properly since Wednesday night of last week.

I've just come back from a 4 day school history trip to France with Year 10. I had to get up at 3am on Thursday morning to arrive at school for 5am and then leave at 5.30am.

The whole point of this trip was to visit the World War 1 sites situated in Northern France. This meant going to various cemeteries, memorials and later on for studying WW2, disused underground missile bases. Its been 4 days non- stop with kids who are; well, not noisy so much, but there is always a wall of sound wherever you go. Plus the fact that halfway through this journey it became my Easter break so in effect I'm working two days of my holiday. But I didn't mind. And all of those late nights telling the kids to be quiet in their rooms is not the reason why I'm so restless now.

Since setting off for this trip I've gone through many different emotions. I've had such a good time, not only with having a laugh with the rest of the staff after the day is done but also just talking to the kids, suddenly after and away from school both staff and teachers take on a far more relaxed role, whereby you can get a chance to talk to each other. In that way I suppose its been good to get to know some kids a bit better, some kids I'd never taight before and who I'd have probably never really noticed in school on a normal day.

I've also felt deeply saddened by a lot of what I've seen and heard.

All that I can say is that it has been the most interesting and thought provoking trip away I've ever had. I've learnt so much, at times I felt like a pupil myself, like sitting and listening intently the coach would pull up outside a cemetary and get a commentary from the history teacher as to it's signifiance.

Sorry, I don't usually do sombre posts but this whole experience has really affected me. And in a weirdly positive way. I'm glad I've seen evidence of what really happened, to see the trenches, the front lines, the photgraphs of war casualties that have never been publically accessible but give a more honest account of what happened.

I thought I knew about WW1 just from textbooks, films and documentaries on television. But to be there, to see all of the names carved in stone and the countless wreaths laid out, sometimes one on top of another; complete with notes from loved ones who will never forget. One wreath written by a great grandchild stated "You were so brave, we still love and miss you so much".

But I arrived back home last night around 9 o'clock. I came home, put my stuff down and away and talked to my lovely PPQ on the phone. I was a bit tired and just wanted to go to bed. But I couldn't sleep because I could not get the ideas and themes that had been covered in the trip out of my head. The sheer amount of deaths and casualties in WW1. ..The lack of communication from all sides.. ..The pain suffered by soldiers in the trenches... ..The designing of missiles and rockets for the first time that could cause major destruction... All of these reasons and more compounded together to create a real and definite thought- provoking reality. A confusion to attempt to place yourself in that time and try to comprehend the sheer weight of ones existence in a time of conflict.

I can't get these thoughts out of my head. They're still here now as I write this. When I think about the act of rememberance now, I think I can see it from a different viewpoint- a way of praising those who fell because that's all we can do, is to keep remembering.

If you ever get the chance do go and visit these places, you'll see for yourself another side of the wars that can't be understood by any means other than actually being there.

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