Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Some more reflecting

I quite often have a review of current affairs and situations whilst musing alone. Most often when the weather is indifferent, and not much else to do other than read the paper, listen to the Radio , watch the news, and not infrequently have a shot at history.  At school history was a great bore as we were expected to learn most of it from handouts. Some of these were handme downs from previous failures such as me. The overall GCE success rate was not very high either amongst the more determined of us.  The modern history of the time was WW1 and WW2 and sadly did not merit much attention as that was something I could have contributed to in abundance. So - as today saw the 11th hour of the 11th day pass by once more it was right to pause and spare a few thoughts. The rain cascaded from the heavens most of the morning as if to jog me into thoughts of what it must have been like in those trenches in Flanders and elsewhere.  Shelter in such short supply and battles raging all around!.  I managed a hearty breakfast, and lunch, and all the while it poured down determined to remind me again of what it must have been like 100 years ago.  My thoughts spread to WW2 and the unbelievable atrocities committed in the concentration camps in Europe, and the Prisoner of war camps in the far east.  How man could inflict such awful carnage on man defies any worthy explanation.  In war we British have not exactly come out unblemished either. As if to make the morning fill up with more sad reflection there were images of recent British casualties on Facebook, and on radio a programme highlighting the effects of combat stress.  During the years of the operations in Afghanistan I was, (as were so many others) moved to tears at the sight of repatriation of fallen at Brize Norton. All the while I used to make infrequent visits to the MOD websites in which were recorded the casualty figures.  These were quite often several weeks old. The statistics painted an awful picture of what was taking place.  Somehow,  deliberately or otherwise these figures were never openly discussed.  Passing some time with a member of 3 Rifles who had been seriously wounded brought home at first hand what the young men of today's military have to prepare for and sadly endure.  To have one's  bowell shot out and live the rest of life with a colostomy bag does not bear thinking about. True, believe me!.  Isn't it strange how we can all get lulled in to the "it will never happen to me" feeling.  Talking through the experience with my new found friend stirred something which has made me a very appreciative individual.  Reading this one might conclude that it is time for the men in white coats to pay me a visit.  Not at all, I champion everyone of these countrymen of ours. Imagine then last Saturday on my pilgrimage to the International Rugby match travelling by train.  Leaving Pembroke at nine o clock the train journey should have been uneventful.  The timing was perfect, no delays along the way and arrived at Cardiff on schedule.  The journey was however marred by the boarding of passengers along the route.  The sight of so called Rugby Experts, exponents of the game, boarding the train at various stations en route  armed to the teeth with packs of favourite lager/beer, and consumed in haste, so as to be properly tanked up prior to arrival in Cardiff was extreme.  All this before what used to be normal opening hours for pubs.  Indeed by the time we arrived at Bridgend the croaking Calon Lan of Max Boyce fame was reduced to an unidentifiable chorus of foul language, and discordant effort at singing.  Land of song by damned!. The raucous arrival in Cardiff was added to by a further element of the tanked up 'boyos' who bellowed their way through the streets of Cardiff to further the refuelling process. And so it went on,  even in the stadium where there were Royal Guests, and lots of other eminent Welsh VIP's.  The bellowing, and booing during the taking of place kicks was surely not the way to behave. It was a good game of Rugby. My return journey from Cardiff as far as Carmarthen was if anything worse than my outward.  By now, fuelled by the distress of having been beaten by the Australians again, (only just), plus the after match refuelling, things were pretty dire.  Cursing, shouting, and urinating between carriages, some questionable 'romantic' performances. All this happening openly in the presence of ladies, and children. It was supposed to be a family day out also.  Please believe me it was not pleasant, and on top most of these fuelled idiots had the temerity to complain about the cost of the match ticket!! Heaven help. So, here I have a contrast of situations. Bravery, and Sadness on the one part filled with Gratefulness for Sacrifice and Determination, and on the other Disgust for what we have allowed ourselves as a nation to degenerate into. A society where we are now tolerant of unimaginable behaviour.  I am not straight laced but surely sometime sooner rather  than later we will have a jolt to bring back some common sense.