As a brass player of nearly 30years Rememberance Sunday has never been an ordinary day for me. Back in 1987 when I first joined a brass band as a 17year old Armistice Day was always meant a freezing cold March and playing dust old hymns in the towns garden of Rememberance. In the shallow days of my youth I remember the irritation of having to get up early on a Sunday morning and marching with a load of old men in blazers and grey flannels wearing their berets and their medals. To my shame I once thought to myself this can’t go on forever, soon they will die and nobody will be left to March.
The garden of Rememberance was on the seafront nd when the wind got up you landed u with sand in your bell and the March cards would be ruined. The Solo Cornet played the last post and Revallie then the strange piper woman played her bagpipes. Some old bloke in a dress said Godly words then we marched them back to the RAFA Club where we had food…….the best bit. It never got to me……it was just another band job with irritating old soldiers and something we did before the carolling started.
As the years went on I started working for SSAFA The Armed Forces Charity and started to talk to Second World War Veterans and their widows. To them the War was real, it was their youth. Next Rememberance day our principal cornet was 18 and I realised that it wasn’t about old men marching but young men going to war. I have two brothers and suddenly I realised that in another time I could have lost them both. I had never let it in it was never real. But from that day onwards it was real to me.
2009 Harry Patch the last fighting Tommy died and a link to the First World War Was forever lost. It was that year I visited The Battlefields of France and the Thiepval Memorial and found the name of my Great Uncle Tommy who perished but his body was never found. I put a poppy in Rememberance…..now it was personal.
Since 2011 it has been my honour and privelige to play the Last Post at Bodelwyddan a small church in North Wales that has Commenwealth Graves of Canadian Soldiers. It s a job I take seriously.
This year we commemorate The Battle of The Somme. My Great Uncle Tommy died on the 10th July 1916. Tomorrow is the centenary of his death. I will place a poppy wreath on the Grave stone of my Great Grandparents where he too is commemorated. It is not an unusual story, it is the history of many families. I shall play the last post for Uncle Tommy and remember him for we mus never forget.
Last week was one of the most challenging weeks of my life. After a long time avoiding and ignoring my various debts………….they came knocking………big time. I will not bore you with the details here, suffice to say that Saturday, our five year anniversary consisted of phone calls to Step Change Debt Charity finally facing up to the level of my debt. There was incredulity and tears as I was forced to lay bare the details of my debts and the minutiae of my spending, down to the last penny, justifying why it would not be possible to reduce the amount of cats we had as four were over 15yo and on borrowed time and that time would sort it out for us. Little did the poor girl know on the phone that we would not eat so that they could eat. The future looked bleak the bailiffs were on their way and we had to wait till Monday to do something.
I have been a volunteer for a charity for the past 22years and have helped hundreds of people in my time with debts and the like and for the first time in 22years I approached them to possibly help us. I spoke to a wonderful woman on the phone and I cried as I told her the story. She came round to see us the following day and went through the assistance form with us as I had done countless times for others. She was kind and non judgemental and very patient. As the visit drew to a close she asked for the bailiffs number and paid the outstanding sum for us. This was a gift to us from the organisation itself and I cried. It was a recognition of my 22years volunteering as well as my partners ex service history. I cried, cried with relief that the bailiffs wouldn’t be coming and cried that my voluntary service had been recognised. The charity is SSAFA The Armed Forces Charity and that day I was so proud to be involved with such an empowering organisation.
Be kind in your interaction with others, considerate and non judgmental for you never know when the boot will be on he other foot. In the darkest week of my life the kindness of a stranger changed my life for the better. It is the little things that are important. Today It was confirmed that funds had been granted for one of my cases which will enable a young man (who has been in hospital for six months) to come home. He will be home for his birthday which is on Saturday and his wife’s birthday is on Monday.
Be nice to people, you never know when you might need them x
The events of the past day or so have left me reeling. I have even turned to drink after nearly five years of relative sobriety. I never thought that it would come to this. I never thought that the UK would be so short sighted. We are truly mushrooms, kept in the dark and fed shit.
I’m scared. Really scared. For the first time since I was an anxiety ridden teenager growing up in the dark days of the Cold War in the 1980’s I am genuinely terrified. Back then I was an impressionable young woman terrified by the threat of nuclear war from Russia. I watched the Protect and Survive public information films with total terror. I lived with anxiety that my young life could be snuffed out at any time by nuclear war. I was so scared that I joined CND my life was blighted by the threat of annihilation.
Twenty years later I watched in horror as the planes crashed into the Twin Towers and I feared that life would never be the same again. The anxiety of my youth which had finally faded somewhere between growing up and moving on had returned. On September 11th 2001 I was due to attend a counselling session. This was part of an ongoing plan to assist with my depression. I remember thinking that life would never be the same again and spent the whole of my session talking about the event. The world didn’t end but was forever changed.
Over the last few months I have watched in horror as people are set against each other to divert attention from those who are really corrupt namely the establishment and the government and I have been concerned if not outraged at the evil rhetoric spouted by the government and the press about immigrants and benefit claimants.
America seem on a collision course to elect Trump as President and it is truly terrifying. Then came the shootings in Orlando in a Gay club. Things were hotting up becoming ever closer to home. Then last week Jo Cox was murdered and I am truly afraid again. I am afraid for all of us, fighting amongst ourselves destroying our own. Life will never be the same again.
I would like to think we will learn from this ,I fear we will not. I pray for the strength to live in peace and tolerate our enemies so that it becomes the politics of love not hate. I am a Christian and I seek the strength of my beliefs to share love not hate so that I am not frightened anymore.
i will pray because I believe in prayer and I don’t know what else to do…………..I wish us all peace and love, we need it now.
I am angry. Angry that all my time is been taken up. Angry that Europe is everywhere. We can’t turn around at the moment without being bombarded from all angles. Whether it’s the EU Referrendum debate or the European Football Championships it’s all that seems to be on the telly and in the press.
I made my mind up a long time ago that I would vote to remain in the EU and no amount of scare tactics can get me to vote Brexit. In my mind it’s a no brainier . Granted I do find it difficult to realise that I am on the same side, supposedly, as a man I hate with a passion but I know it’s the right thing to do for me and my family. However I truly fear that we will not win this referendum. Today’s society is too full of selfish small minded individuals who buy in to the media hype. It is the very people who have been helped by the EU that are shouting the loudest about wanting to leave. These people are the foot soldiers that voted the right wing Tories in people with ideas above their station. People who believe that big business and banking success will somehow be shared with them as long as they ar good peasants and vote leave. To quote from Brassed Off “born bastards stay bastards”.
I feel that Dodgy Dave is not worried in the slightest about the result of the Referrendum. In or out PM or otherwise he will still be filthy rich nothing will change its win win for him. But for us the result is vital. We need to think about our vote, we need to use our vote wisely. Immigration, now there’s a thing. I’m Welsh and for years we have had our way of life changed and our resources stretched by mass migration from England to Wales. Rhyl was once described as a shit hole. A result of dumping lots of people with social problems in a small seaside tourist town with a seasonal economy. Powder keg. Where were these foot soldiers then? Buying our bungalows using our social services and our nhs. Cos it’s okay for them to do this NOT!!!
Please think about your children and the next generation.
Wales is stronger in Europe both the EU and the football
Today is your official birthday
you chose to wear vivid green
we really couldn’t miss you
That colour was worn to be seen
Your soldiers marched so smartly
in their tunics of bright red
Im sure that you would rather
Have just had a cup of tea in bed
Its not that I’m a republican
I’m not against your clan
But really Phil The Greek
what did you ever see in that man
He’s a miserable old bastard
A bigot and a racist too
In diplomacy and tact
He hasn’t a fucking clue
But all in all I like you
You’re not a bad old dear
Now where’s my OBE?
Ah well , maybe next year