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Blog – for crying out loud


Today on the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day it matters not that one of my eyes is crying, indeed probably no problem with both of them leaking a bit. I joined a decent-sized crowd of people in the town centre and croaked through a couple of hymns and the National Anthem (a whole octave down from where I used to be able to sing – I guess that’s better than part of an octave, which would have sounded appalling).

I feel drawn to this event each year although have missed many. I do not have any distant relatives lost in the war – at least, not those to whom I have  any real connections.  But there is something compelling about the collection of people with their thoughts, standing side by side with others I do not know, remembering images from newspapers, television, imagination. Respectful and sombre. Recalling my father in law who was a prisoner of war in WWII.

The remembrance parade and outdoor service are always haphazard – many people seem to have no idea it is on, there is plenty of ambient noise around town and we are in the way of people trying to go about their shopping – but today we managed a tolerably quiet 2-minute silence and at least one of the bugles was excellent. Only one cadet had to be escorted away with his face whiter than his hat.

I love the mix of people who attend. Some elderly, many much younger and with small children. Quite a few very smart coats, jackets, ties – some medals of course, and plenty of uniforms in the parade – but also people in running gear or walking boots who are just taking the time out between other activities. I don’t see this as any less respectful.  An abundance of different types of poppy this year gave an extra element of interest to the casual spectator in the longer parts of the prayers.  Actually, talking about attention span, it was amazing how many people really couldn’t hang around after the silence.  We are so busy these days that we can’t wait a few more minutes for the procession to wind its way back to the church.

I was pleased to see on Facebook later in the day a full set of photographs of the ceremony around the war memorial in the village where I grew up. I don’t believe I ever attended as a child but somehow it was still nostalgic. Do we just make up what’s important from our past?  Probably.  But if it is uplifting somehow, then why not?



Balcony for one

On holiday on my own. Bit weird now I think about it – have previously just spent days alone tagged onto work trips, not actually set off on my own. But this balcony would not have worked for two. Who would have thought I could sit outside and read without a jacket in Sofia, Bulgaria in November?

Cinema Paradiso

Someone recently told me I should make sure to say yes to things.  You regret those things you didn’t do much more than those you did.

I was invited to an outdoor film showing of Cinema Paradiso in a neighbour’s back garden last night. Coldest evening so far this year – didn’t really fancy going in the end but remembered the advice.  Arrived to find a change of plan – turned out it was too windy to set the screen up in the garden.

I don’t think I’ve ever previously been to a party where random neighbours wearing multiple layers of underwear and furry boots sat on a sofa and cried gently together – but it worked a treat.  Particularly when someone went and fetched a rather wonderful homemade sloe gin.

Glad of the extra hour in bed this morning…

Start at the end

I have just resigned. I have worked for the same organisation since 1989 and it’s time to stop. I think you know when it’s time – when you’re in one of those offices where they use three letter acronyms for everything and your favourites are WTF and FFS.

I’m calling it retirement.  I’m actually not quite old enough for that – believe what you like – but I just want to do something else with my life before it’s too late.

Hopefully I will be able to leave at Christmas.

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