Monday 14 November 2011

The last post

I'll take it as a compliment when one of the UK's leading plastic surgeons says "You must have had cosmetic surgery." On Friday night we were celebrating at the Old Boys Dinner. Acquaintances were being renewed, and it was good to see some people I hadn't heard from for more than thirty years. The conversation flowed freely. As freely as the complimentary wine allowed. Last year I organised the event; this year I threw my toys out of my pram when I realised this year's President was a fool (IMHO) and next year's is a well known buffoon. We held a two minute silence to remember the fallen, whilst in the background fireworks from some unknown party created sound effects that helped us all think of the trenches.

On Sunday it was Remembrance Day.

There was no sound in the school quad, aside from cable holding the flag clattering against the flagpole. It seemed entirely appropriate and remarkably atmospheric during the the two minute silence at the Remembrance Day Parade at The Boy's school. Then just before the drum signified the end of the silence, a bird noisily flapped its wings and flew off into the clear blue sky.

The whole event was incredibly poignant. Many standing in the autumn warmth and sunshine were moved to tears.

This year two people from the school have been killed in Afghanistan. Paul Watkins, a Gap Year student originally from South Africa who joined the Royal Lancers and Lieutenant Daniel Clack, a high-flying pupil, known to many who stood around the quad whilst the wreathes were laid. Dan Clack's parents attended the event, as did many of his former school friends - at the age of 24, it hasn't been that long since he was just another noisy schoolboy running through the ancient red brick corridors. 24 is such a very young age to die, and I'm not sure how any parent copes with that. Very sad. Very sad.

On Saturday morning The Boy was playing rugby for the school First 15. A match they won 44-0. The sweet taste of victory, and not a casualty in sight. That's the only sort of conflict I ever want him involved in.