Sunday, 25 April 2010

ANZAC Day 2010

It may not surprise many but I have interest in family history along with miltary history. Today as my son was marching the the St George's Day Scout March I was thinking about ANZAC day.

As per normal we had arranged for the Wattle wreath to be delivered and to the cenotaph.  Every year there is a new florist assistant and I always ask for their boss, she understands after 22 years in the Navy.

Here is a poem which I think says it all of why we march and continue to march.

I saw a kid marchin’ with medals on his chest.
He marched alongside Diggers marching six abreast.
He knew that it was ANZAC Day - he walked along with pride.
He did his best to keep in step with the Diggers by his side.

And when the march was over the kid was rather tired.
A Digger said “Whose medals, son?” to which the kid replied:
“They belong to daddy, but he did not come back.
He died up in New Guinea on a lonely jungle track”.

The kid looked rather sad then and a tear came to his eye.
The Digger said “Don’t cry my son and I will tell you why.
Your daddy marched with us today - all the blooming way.
We Diggers know that he was there - it’s like that on ANZAC Day”.

The kid looked rather puzzled and didn’t understand,
But the Digger went on talking and started to wave his hand.
“For this great land we live in, there’s a price we have to pay
For we all love fun and merriment in this country where we live.
The price was that some soldier his precious life must give.

For you to go to school my lad and worship God at will,
Someone had to pay the price so the Diggers paid the bill.
Your daddy died for us my son - for all things good and true.
I wonder if you understand the things I’ve said to you”.

The kid looked up at the Digger - just for a little while
And with a changed expression, said, with a lovely smile:
“I know my dad marched here today - this is ANZAC Day.
I know he did. I know he did, all the bloomin’ way”.

D. Hunter
(A veteran of Shaggy Ridge with the 2/12 Battalion in WW2

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

The grand saga of the half-term school trip

Like many children in the UK our youngest,  the boyo aka Rh, has been off on a school trip.  He was expected back on the 15th April, 2010 after 10 days in Canada on a school ski trip to Whistler. Aint he a lucky duck

Then that volcano blew its top and shebang went all the plans. Eyjafjallajokull,  well if you have a name like that no wonder you lose your cool cause I spit and splutter just trying to say this volcano's name.

After 5 days in the same clothes the boyo has arrived home. I picked him up from the school and helped to drag is bag the 10 doors home after he travelled for 35 hours on various forms of transport to get home from Amsterdam. This included buses, trains, private taxis, ferry bus transport, trains and minibuses.

It turns out he was hosteled in Rotterdam so they had to be bused back to the airport to finally get their luggage back from KLM.   The reason why KLM kept their luggage the group was a first priority group for when planes went back into action. Thanks guys for all your help but we have to get this party of children home and back into school can we have our luggage now.   They caught a train through Holland, Belgium and were then stuck thanks to the French Train strike.  They organised a local taxi service to drive the kids from the closest Belgium border town to Dunkquerke.

After waiting around for a good 8 hours or more with the kids at the Dunkquerke ferry terminal the school party was then picked up by a Dover Bus service who were doing a roaring trade by making sure there was a bus on the ferry as this ferry crossing was not allowing foot passengers.  The Dover Bus services were selling seats on their bus.  So the kids are loaded put on the ferry, cross over at 2:30am in the morning and were then unloaded in Dover ferry port.  At this point shanks pony ala their foot falcons (walking) was implemented out to a taxi rank so they could get to the train station.  If you have been to Dover ferry port it is a bit of a long walk for tired people.

After much mucking about  and bit of a cross country zig zag on the trains, as they could not get direct train, the kids arrived at Liverpool Lime Street.  Fortunately the Leading Teacher called from Warwick station and suggested that they were all picked up by mini bus from Lime St station cause she believed that they would not make another transfer onto the local metro train and then shank's ponying back to the school for pick up.  The kids were picked up and brought back to the school where I was on hand to help the boyo walk home.

One of the first activities we did was a stripping once he got inside, so his clothes went straight in to the washing machine.  They were almost standing upright on their own. He was then pushed into the shower were he fell asleep under the water.  After being fished out by his mother to which he was most indignant about. He was then tucked up into his bed.  Not sure what he most indignant about his mother fishing him out of the shower or his mother waking him up.

He has risen since he has got home yesterday but he obviously turned into a locust again on me.  Food has been disappearing at a great rate of knots as he inhaled a 20" pizza by himself.  The food to stock the fridge that I brought yesterday has disappeared and I have had to buy another complete week's worth of shopping to restock the fridge today.  I wonder how long this lot will last.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Grand National Week

Well we survived the Easter weekend including getting the boyo packed and on a plane on Wednesday in time to go off to Canada on a School ski trip.  Like all school trips were the children have to be at a certain location by a certain time we had the no show of school bus to transport them to the airport.  Thank goodness the school teacher whom was organising this trip had factored in additional time to cover the need to get a replacement bus in and get the hour or so the international airport.  She also factored in the M6 traffic , definitely showing off her prior experience and understanding of sodds law.

Work wise it was a total nightmare driving in and out of Liverpool  for work as I had to pass the major roads round Aintree to get home.  The drive on a couple of nights took over two hours but the plus side was seeing a stroppy police horse decide that he had had enough of people, traffic and everything .  Think one large stroppy police horse kicking out his back legs and refusing to be loaded into the police horse box transporters.  This is at Switch Island, which is a large major intersection and links to two motorways.   The other benefit has been the spring flower show which has been.  The sun has been out this week so we have had some glorious spring days, which I was wishing I was out in, but I had to do that swear word thing which pays for more yarn. 

I have managed to finish off some more baby knitting but this week was doing itsy bitsy of this and that.  I also got some spinning done and I did my first plying.  I was so proud of my plying and I had to show my hubby.  Silly Billy you really think he would be interested in plying and making of yarn.

Kotaatok:  Look Look I have plied  (bouncing and waving a piece of yarn in a small skein in front of husbands place so fast that he does not have a chance to focus on it)
Hubby: That’s nice dear…..  (OMG has she really flipped... keep calm.. don't frighten her or she will go off on one. Do I need to call those men in white coats from down the road for her now?)
Boyo had to call home on the Friday night so he could draw the Grand National Calcutta tickets for my rav swap group.  That was done and I now have to contact everyone and tell them of the outcomes.  Without the boyo in the house we have been missing something.  It just has not been the right for me not to have him home.  I have coped with other school trips, scout trips and European trips without me. It seems to be that he is on the other side of the world and I just simply miss my boyo.  I know that I am not the only one his dog has been mopping and the boy would be surprised to find out that his sister is too.  Her problem is there is no-one to bait and agitate.  She is also missing him for his ability to shoulder most of her chores which we thinks we are not aware of.   Nope now is the chance to make her catch up with chores that she has failed to complete.  Are you up for a cuppa?  Uggy make that two for us......

Monday, 5 April 2010

Happy Easter Celebrations

I would not call our household a devout Catholic house but we do celebrate many of the holidays as opportunities to gather and focus on the family and the extended family.  As a fusion household we have a blend of many family traditions and beliefs (orthodox, celtic, roman, wiccan, animism) together and celebrate the family and the season. I am known by the local parish priest as the submarine as I appear only occasionally in his flock.
While we do some Chocolate as part of Easter we also make other types of gifts.  We make up Nests.  The idea behind the nest is a bit like Xmas stockings where lots of little things are in for the recipient. We also have a Egg Tree where egg ornaments are displayed from previous Easter nest gifts.  This year for friends and family I have knitted Easter eggs and placed them in a small nest.
The whole Easter week has some significance as a family tradition starting on Palm Sunday.  This is an point when I take a deep breath to try and plan my week, working out what we have to do before a large family gathering during the next weekend.  Dependant on the local public holiday calendar and what options I have with work we try to start Easter with Holy Thursday as a time to organise and clean out the house in preparation for the weekend.  It think this our version of the old tradition of Spring Cleaning.    Ry this year was an alter server in the Cathedral for the Lundy Mass.  Her father was quiet proud of his daughter the altar server, so we had a good start to the Easter celebrations.
On Good Friday we are up early to have a vegetarian breakfast before dawn and the start of fasting.  We have things to do and we do a frantic spring clean of the house so that when we head off to Benediction we have have worked hard.  The last chore before heading to benediction for my grandmother would be to cover mirrors and photos.  These covered objects would remain covered until Sunday morning.  With tired bodies and a satisfying ache from hard work we attend Benediction and follow the Stations of the Cross.  After this period of reflection at church the family we spend the rest of the afternoon preparing our Easter egg wax designs and keeping the fast.  Dinner on Good Friday is normally Borscht and bread or Swiss Eggs, this year we had Thai butternut pumpkin curry soup.  In the evening of Good Friday I start the doings for Tsoureki and other yeast work such as hot cross buns.  
Saturday is always very busy for us as all the baking and the preparation for the celebration meal is done.   If there is enough time and we have the ingredients available I will make Easter Custard Tarts which are a real favourite for the Hubby.   The problem with the tarts is that they have a really low shelf life in this household. Hubby!! Get out of those tarts they were for tomorrow! - is an often heard phrase. While the baking is tootling away I prepare the Sunday roast by working the marinade into the roast.   This year I made a honey and lavender lamb roast. 
The spring cleaning process between Lundy and Good Friday church services to enable us to reflect about the change in seasons. Some of the eggs which are decorated on Friday are used for the smashing games on Sunday to help in the celebration of life and our family joy of being together.