Saturday, 28 June 2014

With this Haribo I thee wed...

One of my favourite adverts on the TV at the moment is the Haribo one, where a group of adults are in a boardroom discussing the sweets, their voices dubbed by children.

In it, amongst other things, they discuss that the jelly rings can be used as flotation devices for gummy bears which is really rather sweet (pardon the pun).

Well, the other week a couple from Northampton actually used them as wedding rings.

In a story which was widely reported, the pair from Kingsley were unfortunately burgled the night before their wedding and their rings were among the items stolen.

So, being resourceful types, they decided to use Haribo ones as substitutes.

Due to heat through, the rings had to be consumed during the service because they'd started to melt - and nobody wants a melted Haribo stuck to their wedding dress or suit, do they?

Here's wishing them all the best and that the originals are either found or suitable permanent replacements can be purchased soon.

Another story which made me smile last week was the one about the petition in Ireland to have the song 'My Lovely Horse' from Father Ted made their entry for next year's Eurovision Song Contest.

I'm a huge fan of Father Ted.  I watched it from the outset, and I think it's one of the funniest sitcoms ever to have graced our screens.

Sadly, the Irish Government didn't share the enthusiasm of the petitioners, and this motion was rejected. 

I think that this was a mistake, as it would probably have won by a landslide.  Or perhaps that was the plan - in a similar scenario to the episode of Father Ted in which the song appeared, they didn't want to run the risk of winning and having to host the 2016 competition. 

Expect to see Jedward again then - just remember to arrange alternative viewing or go out that night if that prospect fills you with dread!

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Sports Day - for parents

Guess what the two words were that I dreaded most during my years at school?  Sports Day.

In fairness, 'Maths test' would have come a close second, but even now my heart sinks at the thought of donning PE kit and heading out onto the school playing field as I wasn't gifted athletically.

Imagine my delight then when my daughter's class - as part of their topic on Ancient Greece - decided that their parents should compete in an 'Olympic Games'.

So, one cloudy Saturday morning most of us headed to the Recreation Ground to take part.

My husband and I were both entered in various events.  Some parents had perhaps wisely recruited other family members to take their places.  This, however, resulted in my middle-aged self competing against young, sporty 20 year olds - not exactly a level playing field!

But I 'held my own' as they say and achieved a respectable second place in the discus, and third in the javelin (out of five before you suspect that there were only three competing).

All was going well until husband sustained an injury in the 100m sprint.  Bravely (or foolishly) I offered to replace him in the 4x100m relay.

What was I thinking?  I haven't run since I used to run for my bus at University 20 years ago.

Sadly, my team was burdened by me having to run the anchor leg.  I was doing OK until one Dad - the winner of the 100m sprint - flew past me, leaving me trailing in last place.

But I finished to the cheers of my team, and everyone else present who felt sorry for me, and I had a good laugh about it.

I even won a medal for my second place in the discus.  Not only that, I felt a sense of achievement for giving it a go.

Maybe Sports Day isn't so bad after all.  I'm just glad we don't usually have a parents' race - otherwise I might be tempted to replace myself and Mr Bach with more athletic family members! 

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

What are 'British Values'?

Mr Gove's been at it again. This time he's decreed schools should promote 'British Values'.  This is in response to the 'Trojan Horse' plot. 

But what exactly does the term 'British Values' mean?  The world of social media didn't take this entirely seriously and various things were suggested - my favourites being 'still buying your undies in Marks & Spencer' and 'apologizing when somebody else stands on your foot'. 

There were also the inevitable comments about the weather, queuing, tea drinking, general British awkwardness about paying, tipping etc.

I asked my Facebook friends for their suggestions.  Fortunately, I got some sensible responses (thanks everyone).  Here's an abridged version of what they think:

Manners; consideration; taking responsibility for your actions; supporting yourself and your family; having a picture of the Queen in the school hall; knowing the words to the National Anthem and singing it; celebrating St George's Day; respecting our way of life; having fish and chips on a Friday and roast beef on a Sunday; self-reliance; tolerance; compassion; accepting that we're all different, don't assume that we're right and others are wrong; keep trying; learn English if you live here.

Nobody offered 'Keep Calm and Carry On' which has unfortunately become overused, but used to be one of my favourite expressions.

I would also like to add: doing voluntary work, giving to charity, helping those less fortunate than ourselves, having a sense of humour, keeping a sense of perspective, protecting the NHS, being honest and hard-working.

'British Values' means different things to different people, but the strong overall message I got was that people are fed up with 'political correctness' and the feeling that if we're patriotic we're somehow right-wing, which isn't the case at all.  

Why should we be made to feel embarrassed to fly a Union Flag or the St George's Cross unless there's a major sporting event taking place?

Perhaps that's the message we need to be teaching our children - let's be proud to be British again.  So, Mr Gove et al, how about we start by making St George's Day a Bank Holiday?

Saturday, 7 June 2014

D Day commemoration 2014

You'd have to have a heart of stone not to be moved by the D Day commemorative services that took place on 6th June.

Seeing the veterans, proudly wearing their medals, some of them meeting up for the first time in years, brought a tear to my eye as I'm sure it did to many others.

Then there was the lovely story about 89-year old war veteran Bernard Jordan who went missing from his care home in Hove, only to be found safe and sound in Normandy with his comrades.  He was determined to be there and had made his own way when he couldn't get a place on the accredited Royal British Legion trip. 

The second world war is a distant memory for most people now.  Yet we owe these people so much, for without them our lives today would be very different.  The bravery, sacrifice, fear - it's hard for us in the modern day to comprehend.

I asked my Dad about his memories of the war, as he was a young boy living locally at the time.

He remembers the American B-17s flying over his house en-route to the airfield at Grafton Underwood.  He and his brother would watch them flying out and then watch them returning - they could see the bullet holes in the planes as they flew overhead on their homeward journey.

Like a lot of people in this area, my grandfather worked in Stewart & Lloyds on the PLUTO (pipeline under the ocean) project.  He didn't know, as everything was kept top secret, but the pipeline was to supply fuel to the advancing British troops in Europe.  

Last week when a Dakota flew low over our house en-route to Normandy it caused much excitement, and I also love to see the Lancaster, Hurricane and Spitfire from the Battle of Britain Memorial flight when they fly over too. 

I'm just glad I'm able to see them in peacetime, and that their presence is a source of joy, not fear.  For that we must thank all the brave people who fought for our freedom; we will remember them.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

May Day celebrations, 2014

There's something quintessentially British about May Day celebrations isn't there?

I attended my daughter's school event just before the half-term holiday. The skies periodically blackened over, but thankfully it stayed dry, unlike last year when rain stopped play completely.

There was Maypole and country dancing, a picnic lunch with a vintage tea party theme - sandwiches and cupcakes on little stands etc - with the girls wearing pretty frocks and the boys smart trousers and shirts.  It was lovely, just what a traditional May Day should be.

At my primary school we also had Morris dancers who used to whack each other with ceremonial staffs with probably a little too much glee.  That tradition seems to have died out, I can't think why.

Some things never change though and we remain at the mercy of the great British weather.  I remember driving through a nearby village over a Bank Holiday weekend and seeing the following sign with reference to their annual fete - 'If wet in Village Hall'.  I think that should be our motto, it sums up most of our Summers and the spirit to carry on regardless.

The half-term holiday was pretty much a wash out.  Many hardy friends were camping for the week, setting off with hope in their hearts and a tent in their roof-box.  There's nothing quite like the sound of rain bouncing off the canvas when you're trying to sleep, then putting on wellies to stomp across a field to the nearest loo in the dark and driving rain.  I'm relieved I stayed at home.

Back to the May Day celebrations, my daughter's name was drawn out of the hat to be an attendant for the King and Queen.  This is an achievement that I never managed - I was never an attendant, or May Queen, or Carnival Queen. 

At my primary school, the kids were allowed to nominate and vote for each other, and it was always the same people who got chosen - you know the ones, the 'cool kids', and the ones who bribed their peers with sweets in return for votes.  Needless to say, I wasn't in either one of those categories.