07 July 2005

All sorts

The Brighton Non-Bomb

Today was supposed to be my youngest's school sports day. Gary left work, about fifteen miles away, at 11.30 for our 1.30 appointment to cheer the skipping and egg and spoon race.

We live at the end of a tiny little line that various train companies have tried to simply lose, and at least two (Connex and their French predecessors) produced glossy brochures depicting their kingdoms, that whoops, accidentally on purpose, left our little section of track off the map altogether. Sheer oversight, of course; officially.

At the other end of the line is Brighton, and in the middle as an alternative place to change trains for London, is Lewes. Gary turned up at Lewes station just after the 'suspicious package' was discovered at Brighton. The train driver who pulled into Lewes from Seaford refused to do an about turn and keep running a shuttle service on the basis that it was his lunch hour. He parked on the track and buggered off.

Gary valiantly struggled on, arriving at school by 2pm having taken a thirty mile detour by bus, followed by a mad dash. I wasn't there. What was there was a sign on the school gate that the grass was too slippery for sports and the event was rescheduled for Monday.

Oh, and the suspicious package turned out to be some silly blighter's suitcase, which he lost to a controlled explosion at about the same time that Gary was puffing and panting outside the school. Amazing. Don't tell the terrorists but if theres a suspect package found in Brighton it takes two hours solid for it to be disarmed.*

*A friend has read this and emailed me to ask if I knew London was bombed. Yes of course I know - three tube train carriages and the upstairs of a bus, all blown open. 37 dead at the last count on UK news and lots wounded or suffering from smoke inhalation and other effects of being close to a blast in a confined space. I spent all day wondering about a couple of relatives who work in the city. Half the people on Gary's morning train change at Lewes for London. However, the streets were mopped up and the tape back down by early afternoon. Perfect coordination - sniffer dogs, paramedics - you can bet that every single bus or train in the area was checked before being moved or used. Massive amounts of work. Meanwhile, back in Brighton it took two hours to dispose of a solitary suitcase. Thats all I'm saying - the system in London kind of shows that up.

Non-competitive Sports

There's an oxymoron for you. In the spirit of team work and 'everyone's a winner' our boy's sports day on Tuesday was arranged with no individual winners, but a team points system. You could earn your team/house either one or three points depending on how well you did.

Long jump past the first plastic flag = 1 point; land past the second = 3 points, etc.

This caused endless arguments because the children all kept a tally of their own points scores, although these were never publicly acknowledged by the organisers. A "How are you doing?" asked after the fourth game would have the boys scrabbling in disbelief if one had four points and another had eight.
"Oy, Hayden, Liam says he's got eight points. Bloody liar. He hasn't got eight points. Miss, Liam's lying, he says he's got eight points!"

It actually made the whole event even more competitive than if they had had a winner and a second place, because the interest became surreptitious and the cumulative scores could come as a surprise and, as some kids obviously thought, an insult or a lie. I saw much more sand shift from under little egos, much more sense of shame etc, than if this silly and so-called 'non-competitive' system had never been used.

Encrusted Thrones - a note to Doris.

Yes, I do hate it. But we live in a very chalky area so we are constantly battling calcification. It used to be so easy to sort out, just half a cheap little packet of citric acid in the bowl overnight would do for 20p what a couple of quid's worth of smelly coloured stuff in a duck shaped bottle could never achieve. Until 'they' found out that heroine addicts cleaned their arms with it pre-injection (or something) and banned the sale of it entirely.

I am amazed that TCP hasn't gone the same way, in that case. Did they think that removing it from sale would slow down heroine use? Isn't that like trying to cut cigarette smoking by banning the sale of ashtrays? Or do they think we will all want to try drugs once we fully appreciate citric acid's versatility?

Is it true you can still get the stuff as wine making kit? Do you have to sign for it or are you allowed to be a wine-producing smack head unmolested?

Is it some sinister plot to make drug users get sick quicker, or a coup d'etat by the world's manufacturers of ineffectual but 'sea breeze fresh' bogotry cleaners?

We'll probably never know.


Thaleia said...

Hi, yes sports... it's not really my kind of thing, maybe I'm not competitive enough ;)

Here via Michele's

Cheryl said...

LOL me either, but I was great at the obstacle race and three legged race. Coordination I can do, but all that huffing and puffing..... :-)

doris said...

Thanks for telling us about the Brighton non-bomb. I think you have perfectly captured the stoicism and the way we just aren't going to let anyone stop us. We can not wallow in what has happened and must get on for the sake of those families and friends for whom life has stopped.

The sports day fiasco is quite something. Madness.

As for the citric acid - is it really banned? Like any UK city, we have a problem with drug abuse and yet I know I have a large low-cost pack of citric acid in my cupboard. Recently bought from a small local ethnic supermarket I was told it is a good way to get Vitamin C.

I wouldn't be suprised there is partly a conspiracy from the cleaning material maufacturers to make us all so obsessed that nothing can be cleaned without their product.

Great post all round :-)

Cheryl said...

Ooh, send me a packet! Please!