Showing posts from September, 2009

An ambition fulfilled

Having grown up here on the south coast of England and then having spent the rest of my life elsewhere on the coast (Liverpool, St. Jean-de-Luz) bar 4 years (in Paris), I have always felt a natural affinity for water, the sea, etc. and love the freshness of a cool coastal breeze.
However, until last Saturday I had never had the opportunity to go out on a sail-powered vessel of any kind. My most memorable sea-going experiences had been in the small fishing boat that covers the 20 min. crossing from Tenby (S. Wales) to Caldey Island and its Cistercian monastery (see photo in previous article), being tossed every which way, covered in sea spray and loving every minute of it. And the fact that I adore rollercoasters (the more extreme the better - Oblivion at Alton Towers? Piece of cake!) has always made me think that I would be able to cope with the wave and wind-induced movements in a yacht. I'd simply been waiting for a kind benefactor to come along and offer me the chance to go out…

Turning back the clock

Well, I've now been teaching for just over a week at my old school in Southampton (St. Mary's College), 22 years after having finished my time there as a pupil... and the whole thing seems very surreal, as if I am in a waking dream. I'd been back to the school's attached Brothers community many times over the years as a Brother, but (perhaps subconsciously) avoided going around my old school in detail. Now, going round as a teacher, I am seeing the place through 2 sets of eyes. 5 of my former teachers still work here. They have given me a lovely welcome and made me feel right at home. All sorts of memories, smells, sights, sounds, have come flooding back. This is not an unpleasant experience. Though it does have a very melancholy edge to it concerning the Music block and the Music class where I learnt Music and also had my piano lessons.
For my Music/piano teacher, mentor, musical and vocational inspiration and good friend, Stephen Parry-Williams died 2 years ago of pro…

Pardon for football fan Shields

Some excellent news today about Michael Shields, the young Liverpool man convicted in Bulgaria of attacking and seriously injuring a local man after Liverpool's European Champions League triumph in 2005.[Extract from BBC NEWS | England | Merseyside | Pardon for football fan Shields]
Liverpool fan Michael Shields has been pardoned by Justice Secretary Jack Straw after being detained for four years over an attack in Bulgaria.The 22-year-old, from Liverpool, was released after Mr Straw ruled he was "morally and technically innocent" of the attempted murder of a barman.He was found guilty in 2005 after his team's win in that year's Champions League final.Mr Shields and his family were said to be "absolutely ecstatic".Mr Shields' parents, Michael Snr and Maria, have campaigned for his release since he was convicted.Joey Graney, Mr Shields' uncle, said the family would like to see the Bulgarian authorities re-open the case and for the "real culpri…