Posts Tagged ‘Belgium’

In the trenches


Gabe went away in the early hours of Thursday before half-term holiday. The school history trip to the Belgian battlefields of the Great War had been over-subscribed and Gabe too late to express interest. But a couple of weeks before departure he took up a vacated place.

Trenches (real and simulated), cemeteries, chapels and the towns the war plagued were visited. Each student had a local soldier to research before departure and search for some marker of their death when in Belgium. Gabe found the site of the mass grave of 35,000 German casualties the most affecting. It was, he confirmed, the best school trip he has had.


Robin was picked for Sale’s under 12 team in the indoor winter cricket league. The step-up in intensity, particularly in the field, energised him. He coped well, bowling strongly and batting reliably, pushing singles to share the strike with the skipper, only swinging hard at deliveries aimed at his legs that he could shovel square. While his teammates batted, he hung on the edge of his group, likely as not returning to me to sit on my lap: an endearing mix of young affection and physical prowess.


choc towerOn her desk is built a chocolate tower. Weeks after Christmas and barely touched are chocolate reindeer, a selection box, Lindor, a bar of chocolate, a chocolate Santa and a tub of Heroes. That same ration barely saw Robin and Gabe into 2016. Eliza is unlikely to finish hers before Easter. It’s a sugary monument to her self-control and her understanding of the value of a pleasure deferred.


French trip


Just as Gabe had, three years earlier, Eliza set off in the early hours of a Sunday morning on a school coach journey to France and Belgium. The terrorist attacks on Paris had put in our minds the trip in jeopardy, but the school found the official advice favourable and Eliza didn’t want to miss out.

A couple of Christmas markets, ice skating, a visit to a chocolate factory, hours and hours on a coach and no educational value whatsoever – but she had a great time.

Robin and Gabe

The sodden autumn meant that game after game of football was cancelled. One weekend’s fixtures were lost when a weather forecast wrongly predicted frost. Meanwhile, Gabe’s revenue stream was interrupted as his chances to referee games were lost too. And during the idle time, Gabe’s coach was negotiating a mid-season relegation for the team after looking out of their depth in the first two matches in division two. In the New Year they will compete in division three with nine losses against them and in the division two cup competition, after the league refused to demote them for both league and cup.