Categories
America New York Plane Travel

Come Fly With Me….

I’m early. Very bloody early. Very very bloody bloody early. As a rule of thumb, us Phillips’s are never this early. When I say early… I’m checked in and through security and there’s still 1 hour and 50 mins until the gate is announced… Let alone boarded!

I’d guess this is earlier than any Phillips has ever been before.

Sadly it's a bit too early to do some serious damage in here!!
Sadly it’s a bit too early to do some serious damage in here!!

Thankfully due to a quick reshuffle just before check in, my bag went through at the right weight…. Also, I appear to have shaken off the Phillips trait of getting a good frisking! I sailed through security painlessly!

Sitting here in this “world class” terminal, looking at all the shiny metal and glass twisting and twining as far as the eye stretches I think back to stories grandma told me. When air travel was still fairly new. Things were a little different. As she said to me “the world was a simpler place”.

The terminals were tents or shacks and planes were a little different to the beasts that rule the airways today.

While grand and flash looking (apparently the largest free standing building in the UK) terminal 5 just leaves me feeling a bit…. Lacklustre. Everything shiny, everything nearly new….I’m yet to have a “wow moment”….

Perhaps I’m being a tough critic…. Currently the outside world is still “asleep”. Surrounding the edge of the building is darkness littered with the orange glow of some sort of lamp. Perhaps when things light up a bit the landscape will change and I’ll have a wow!

To me, this terminal suggests, as probably is true that we are out the other side of grandma’s flying stories…. The golden glamour age of air travel is over… This is now as mundane as getting a train or a bus. (Not for me it aint!)

Talking of the glamour of air travel. There is the odd whispery nod back in time – “The BA Concorde Lounge”. Now that was something I always wanted to travel on!

Sadly, the plane which was the fastest commercial airliner for 27 years, is no more. In an industry which moves as fast as air travel (see what I did there!) That’s an incredible feat. It amazes me that since retirement in 2003, no one has yet come up with a magical tin can which can break the speed of sound twice, while also carrying passengers like Concorde did.

Enough reminicing, back to the matter in hand…. Where in the world can you get sourdough toast and a coffee for £4? Weatherspoons Heathrow. Admittedly, its quite a snazzy spoons, but it’s spoons all the same! You can’t go wrong. Not even at 6am!

Mmmn. Toast and Tiptree jam!
Mmmn. Toast and Tiptree jam!

Opposite from me, I’m not sure if you’d call it art, but is a world map. The world map has cast upon it different degrees of light depending on where in the world is currently experiencing daylight… Some could say I’m literally watching the world wake up! (For a spoons that’s pretty impressive I’d say!)

Wake up world!!!!
Wake up world!!!!

On that note, toast has been eaten, coffee has been drank, it must be time to gawp aimlessly at copious amounts of Toblerone and alcohol as displayed by the duty free shop…. Does law require every airport in the world to sell Toblerone?

I can’t promise updates as in depth and regular as this… (I’m killing time here!) But I’d like to try and write something once a day!!

See you on the other side of the Atlantic!

Categories
America Trip 2016 IT Personal Travel

Start Spreading The News….

Thinking back over the years, I started writing a blog as I was starting work. There are still posts on here (somewhere) from 4 years ago, documenting the first days of my apprenticeship. Unsurprisingly, things have changed since I started writing this blog!

People keep asking me what’s going on with my life… so here we go!……

In December I decided to leave my job of 4 years and take a short break from working. Having left school and then very swiftly starting my apprenticeship/work I barely had a chance to breathe. So many of my friends left school and went on to uni with their three month summer holidays. Many then went on, or are currently on a gap year / travelling. I therefore decided that now was my time to have some rest and do some travelling.

I’ve always wanted to go to America. Especially to New York, and so with that in mind, Last Friday I booked my flights…. Next Thursday, (11th) sees me board a British Airways flight for the longest flight I’ve ever been on. To the Big Apple, where I will be Visiting friends, family and seeing the sights. From New York on the 17th Feb, I fly down to Tampa Florida where I’m going to be driving around the state a little, again seeing friends and seeing the sights.

While by no means as exotic as some of the exciting travels which some of my friends have endured I’m rather excited none the less, and hope you keep some bloggy updates of my trip.

What about work? What are you going to do? In honesty, I’m still not quite sure. I’m thinking about possibly freelancing for a while – doing IT Repairs and getting people new computers as well as perhaps some contract work…. If your computer is broken then let me know!!

I’m rather excited about next week – Need to get a new suitcase as I doubt ours will last and then need to start packing!! Hope you update you all either closer to Thursday or once I’m in the Big Apple!!

Watch out America I’m coming for ya!

(Sorry Frank. Was messing about at home and just thought I’d pop this in for fun. #BedroomSessions)

Categories
Jewish Personal Religion

I am a Jew

Since Lord Sacks shared a video, “Why am I a Jew” Just before Jewish New Year, I’ve basically been thinking most of this and was going to write a blog post….. Then, just now I saw this video on my facebook home page.
It’s 6 minutes long, and probably 80% just one word, But well worth a watch. One word, of only three letters, it reminds me more and more that we are one big family.
To those who ‘aren’t Jew’: Watch, Learn – This is makes up what is part of the “Connection” I always fail to find the words to properly explain.
To those who ‘Are Jew’, or at the very least a little “Jew-Ish”… I promise you will agree with at least one of the statements in this video!

עם ישראל חי – The children of Israel Live.

Categories
Cruise Personal Uncategorized

Day 4 – 15th September – Gibraltar

So today we got up early, had a posh buffet breakfast in the nice restaurant, then had a quick game of shuffleboard before going out onto the helipad to watch us sail through the Gibraltar strait and into the port of Gibraltar.

'pon the Helipad!
‘pon the Helipad!

 

I see Gibraltarr
I see Gibraltarr

 

The views were stunning and we could see Africa pretty clearly! Soon we were docked and we popped into their posh restaurant for a buffet lunch before disembarking to go round Gibraltar!

We walked down the main street ( Called Main Street!) Then jumped in a cab to go for a tour of the rock…

The Caves were Really Pretty!
The Caves were Really Pretty!

The views were magnificent and the weather was lovely. We went down into the caves which were beautiful, before going to the top of the rock to see the views and meet the monkeys. They are very funny and sometimes scary and it surprised me just how close they will get to you!

On the way down we stopped at the Moorish castle which was really pretty as well as having good views.

Two Monkeys!
Two Monkeys!
Another Two Monkeys!
Another Two Monkeys!

 

After the castle we went back to one of the squares where we had some delicious ice cream and a drink but most importantly….. WIFI!!!!

It was quite nice to get back in the loop and see what was going on in the world! After the cafe we popped into WH Smiths and I bought some fruit gums, at English prices, in Great British Pounds (All foreign countries should be like this! Hehe)

Beaut Views... (Hello, Little Ship)
Beaut Views… (Hello, Little Ship)

After that we got a shuttle back to the boat where there was a 45 min queue to get back on!!! Captain Tony apologized….seems there were a few issues!

..... and The Moorish Castle!
….. and The Moorish Castle!

Entertainment that night was Mark Walker who was a “Comedy Impressionist”… we decided that it was fair to say that everything that the comedian last night wasn’t, this guy was…. mainly “Funny”!!

We were up quite late, knowing we had a day at sea to recover!!!!…….

Categories
Cruise Personal Uncategorized

Day 3 – 14th September

So today we’d planned to get up at 10. At ten past ten, the phone rings…. Although according to my tablet next to the bed its 9.10. I answer the phone to mother with then phrase “Which bit of 10 didn’t you understand?!”… She told me it was 10 past. OOPS!!

We got up and had a relaxed breakfast….then we played a game on the deck called shuffleboard…. Bit like curling without the brooms. It was fun but lets just say I wont be taking it up professionally!! (Dad and I lost considerably to Mum and Adam!!) We sat outside for a bit, walked down the promenade and soon it was time for lunch! All these activities are just to fill the gaps between meals right?!

At 2.30 mum and I went up to the bar at the top of the boat for the “Guest Choir”. We’d been promised a Gareth Malone style choir so we’re quite excited – we were even promised a performance from the bridge on the Royal Promenade!

What we were met with was nothing more than a shoddy karaoke with printed sheets. A few of us had expected a bit more organization. We were all just sat round mumbling words! Mum and I led the enthusiasm with a few others joining in and we had a laugh. (Huge Shout out to Rowenna, Janice and Nan!!!)

We told Dad and Adam we had to audition from 65 an were whittled down to 30 before making the final 12. They bought the story,but we felt bad so said simply “Not really, it was sh*t!!!!”… Ah we had a laugh!

We then sat out on deck and took in some sun!

Here's the Sky, not too sunny in this, but it was, I promise!
Here’s the Sky, not too sunny in this, but it was, I promise!

 

 

Mum and I went for the early show by “Fourever” – an Il Divo tribute act…. They were very good…. They did a whole range of songs in English and Italian, mostly from the comfort of “Westlife Stools”!

Soon dinner time came round and we went and had a lovely (as always) dinner to be followed by the Late night entertainment of a comedian….

Let’s just say, the late night bit was correct!!! Comedian was pushing it!

After the ‘comedian’ we went for a walk down the Royal Promenade and had a cup of tea before bed where I found 5 of the 10 Israelis we’d been told were onboard! We’ve decided to do something together for Rosh Hashannah together!

Off to bed we go before tomorrow’s first port call – Gibraltar!

Click here for Day 4!!!

Categories
Cruise

Day 2 – 13th September

Well….. dinner last night was lovely (Watermelon & Raspberry soup, horseradish crusted salmon, and raspberry sorbet!) We walked round the ship and had a look in the night club;

One old man stood with a drink(like he’d wet himself), two people stood by the bar…. And two people in a corner. BANGIN NIGHT.
We ended up in the all night cafe on the promenade with our dinner table friends…

This morning we woke up to a lovely breakfast (we went posh). I had delicious buttermilk pancakes. After breakfast I decided to go up to the cabin so jumped in the lift. In with me were two rather large people, their rather large son (in wheelchair) and who I’m assuming is grandma.

There was slight confusion over which button was pressed. I wanted 10, they wanted 11. The bloke said “press 11 luv” to the woman. She replied with “I ave, the light’s on an he wants 10” (pointing at me….) I then said “ah, the lights are on, but nobody’s at home….” To which she smiled and said “Oh well you clearly know my son then” (Pointing to boy in chair)!!!!!

Thankfully as she said that, the lift doors opened I jumped out saying “Ah that’s not very nice! Byee!!” Regardless of the fact we were only at the 7th floor.

Most of the day was spent in the jacuzzi, the freezing swimming pools and lazing round the pool doing very little. As I seldom have days of nothing, it was actually rather nice!!

The evening soon came round and it was time for our first formal dinner! We scrubbed up and made our way down to the royal promenade for a photo and the captain’s speech followed by dinner (beautiful melon, potato curry and a raspberry jelly-mousse)

 

#Liftfie (Is that a thing? It is now!)
#Liftfie (Is that a thing? It is now!)

 

Here we are all scrubbed up on the Promenade
Here we are all scrubbed up on the Promenade

After dinner we we to the late performance of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘Tell Me On A Sunday’. I can’t say it was my favourite musical, but the acting and singing was very good! Its a hard play to perform as its just one actress!

After the musical we met our dinner table mates up in the hot tub and bubbled away until about 1 am!

 

Day three…. Coming soon!!

Categories
Cruise Jewish

Day 1- 12th September

So, the day has finally arrived…. Cruise day. Its been long awaited and much anticipated, but as I find myself sat on my ones, in near silence, at the front of the ship, its clear that cruise time has very much arrived!!

We woke up this morning at some ungodly hour – before 8! *shudders* Put our cases in the car and set out early to Southampton to avoid the Boat show traffic…. and oh how we avoided the boat show traffic!!! In a Phillips family first, we were that early, we had to stop in a service station to kill time!!!

Boarding the ship was rather uneventful, but let’s get one thing clear – it ain’t small! I was expecting it to be larger…. Wider perhaps. Essentially however its a 14 storey floating 5* hotel!

We had a wander round…toured the Spa, Health club and Gym (I can say I’ve been to the gym today!) and then went for lunch!

Anyone who’s ever eaten lunch with me on camp knows how much I enjoy the prospect of a “multi-carb lunch”… The more different types of carb, the better…. I partook in pasta and bread, but could have added potatoes rice, different bread and I’m sure a few more…. I think this might continue!!

After lunch we carried on wandering and exploring… And checking if our cases had arrived. At 3.30ish we were called to do the evacuation drill – rather bland to be honest! (And the life jackets don’t have a cord to inflate them!! Bores!)

After the drill we went out on the deck to watch us sail away…. Soon we were out of Southampton and sailing!

Sailing, We are sailing..... (Byee Southampton!)
Sailing, We are sailing….. (Byee Southampton!)

 

 

At 5pm we went down to the conference room to do candle lighting…. We were joined by two stereotypical looking (and talking) “North West London Jews”… We’re yet to find our mutuals but they’re from Bushey – so I’m sure we will!! (Update: We didn’t)

Also joining us (late) were two young girls…. One wearing a long dress which went to her knee, and covered her elbows… she looked quite frum…. her friend however barely looked Jewish…..

They sat at the back and didn’t say much. As mum went to light the candles with the women from Bushey, they invited the two girls up with them…. When the blessings were said, the two girls looked rather confused (and horrified!) … They refused kiddish wine and weren’t interested in the BEAUTIFUL challah….

Turns out they were there by mistake, wandered in not knowing what was going on, and then scuttled out embarrassed soon after!!!

Lovely Challot and Sweet, Sweet Manischewitz!
Lovely Challot and Sweet, Sweet Manischewitz!

We’ve now unpacked and settled in, and I find myself in the quiet, sat out on the helipad at the front of the ship, in near silence. Just the water lapping the sides of the ship. The sunset is wonderful and it’s even not too chilly! Seems our adventure has really begun….

Sunset from the Helipad
Sunset from the Helipad

Now, it’s time for our first dinner (casual dress…thankfully!!)

 

Click here for Day 2!

Categories
Uncategorized

7th July

Today I’ve had a long day. It all started at half 6 this morning when the alarm went off. It’s still going as I write this now…..

At the end of today I’ll have travelled nearly 600 Miles (594 to be exact…. Calculated using road distance… so probably not 100% Accurate) Of those miles. Most of them have been by train.

The British train system while often in the media for negative reasons, Is definitely world class…. be it the London Underground, the Overground or National (“British”) Rail services. Today so far has been a dream… (and I hate to say it, it’s quicker, and less hassle than the car!)

I’ve been able to see all sorts of lovely sights out of the window as I whizz along at 125 Miles Per hour tearing up the countryside! (I’ve also finally managed to watch Frozen!)

9 Years ago, on the 7th of July was very different. I was in school. I was in the first period of the day, and all I could hear was Sirens. Those sirens were responding to the actions of a select number of people destined to ruin the lives of others.

On the 7th July 2005, Three suicide bombers took to the London Underground and one on a bus. They detonated bombs causing dramatic affects and scenes. All four of them were killed, along with 52 others, and left around 700 more injured.

I’d hazard a guess that of those 52 people killed or those 700 injured, very few of them had travelled as far as I have today by train the day or days before they were killed…. albeit a different train, but it’s still a public place whereby people should tolerate everyone and “play nice”.

I don’t seem to have seen many articles today commemorating the 7/7 atrocities… (It seems like some cyclists wearing a yellow jersey are more interesting) apart from one, detailing graffiti on the memorial – just just another example of the way humans will NEVER Learn, and people will never be happy to coexist with other people. (See Previous Blog here)

I rarely take public transport, being a huge fan of my car…. However it seems by fluke, in the last few years, every 7th of July, I take to public transport… a subconscious and coincidental memorial to those who lost their lives 9 years ago.

Categories
Camp Jewish Personal

Post Camp Depression

A non medical paper on the Causes, Symptoms and Treatments/Remedies.

 

After Camp, many people young and old suffer from a pseudo-illness known as “Post Camp Depression” (PCD). This blogpost sets to outline the major Causes, Symptoms and Treatments/Remedies of Post Camp Depression.

Update: Sometimes this pseudo-illness is known as Post Camp Blues (PCB). For the purpose of this paper, it will be referred to as PCD.

 

Causes:

What causes Post Camp Depression? Any combination of the following:

Loud Music:

From the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep, you are blasted with the top tunes of the moment. Breakfast to Beyonce, Lunch with La Roux and Dinner with DJ Capser (and his cheeky +1 called “Slide”). From the morning after camp, your body is expecting exposure to TUNES… but your mum won’t allow you to play any music before 11 am.

 

Hugs:

On camp, whenever you see anyone you get a hug. You sit down for a few minutes, you have a hug. Good morning *Hug*. Good Night *Hug*. It’s a LOT of hugs. Back home, you see someone at school/Work you can’t just give them a hug… or if you do, they’ll probably think you’re a screw loose.

 

Ruach:

Translated literally from Hebrew, Ruach means Spirit. But it’s more than just spirit…. It’s that sense of family you develop at camp. The Chants, the Banter, the feeling of togetherness.

 

Carbs:

You’re on the go from 7 am till 10+ pm… You need the energy. The best way to get that energy is Carbohydrates. Pasta, Pizza, Chips, Wedges… you name it, you’ve eaten that form of Carbohydrates on camp… If you ate that at home you’d feel sick, (as well as become insanely overweight etc) but on camp you use that energy!

 

Shabbatmosphere.

If you go on a Jewish Camp, and it’s over Friday/Saturday then you will encounter Shabbat.  (The Jewish Sabbath.. if you’re not Jewish, you can probably skip this one!)… the whole camp comes together as one family, the atmosphere is intense, and Havdallah is something else. Your first shabbat back home just isn’t the same…your Boobah whines that your taking too long to bless the Palwins no 10 and you should just pass it round already, and your family don’t do the “Nai Nai Nai’s” let alone Havdallah at all!

 

Symptoms:

 

Symptoms vary from Case to case, but usually include one or more of the following:

Facebook Statuses / Tweets:

“HAD THE MOST AMAZING TIME ON CAMP”… “MeT sO mANy AmaZing PeOPLe, Ova Da LASt wEEk”…… “missing you all so much”…. “So Tired, Just slept for 10000000 Hours”…

A common symptom. Facebook statuses and tweets about the amazing time that’s been had, or how tired people are. Eventually your whole news feed is filled with people from camp declaring how tired they are and how much they miss each other.

 

Nasty Photos:

You can guarantee that on the third day, when you’ve had about 4 hours sleep over the whole camp, someone will brandish a camera. They will photograph you looking like you’ve been dragged repeatedly through a prickly bush. This photo will then appear on facebook…. to be complimented by a shower of comments from people missing camp, constantly pushing the worst photo in the world, back to the top of everyone’s news feed.

Huskier than a Husky Dog:

You Over did the ruach. You sung so loud, chanted so hard, that you have no voice. Anything you do have either squeaks or grates into garbage… Sign Language becomes your main means of communication. Well done, you’ve had a good camp!

Reunions:

You’ve been home 2 days from camp, yet you have already booked tickets to some far out town (for those in London, that’s anything outside the M25)… Or all your local friends are meeting up together in town. You’ve just spent a week together, but you want another few hours.

 

Skype:

“Yes Mum, I know its 3am, But I’m on Skype still… I’ll go to bed soon”. Once it was MSN, Nowadays its Skype. What’s the maximum number of people that can skype at once? You bet most people just back from camp can tell you! Keeping in touch for hours, even though you’ve just spent a week with each other 24×7.

 

Countdowns Till Next Camp:

“OMG OMG only a Billion days till Summer Camp!!!! #Excited” I know someone that became a bit famous for this…. knowing exactly how many minutes and seconds till the next camp is not the first sign of madness, yet simply a symptom of PCD.

 

Over Playing “That Camp Song”

No matter how many times you play it, you still smile and laugh along. Even after the 10th consecutive repeat it’s still fresh. You don’t care how often you hear it, it’s good memories….Even if you could never quite master the dance properly on camp.

 

Treatment / Remedies

 

No single treatment or remedy has been proven 100% effective. As PCD shows a different combination of Symptoms in each case, I recommend at least two of the following treatments in parallel.

 

Organise Those Reunions:

Public places hate it when there are more than about 3 people in a group. Be the rebels that meets up with 30 friends from camp. (your sheer number alone will terrorise the old folk trying to do some quiet shopping). Go to the park, Play Guitar, sing songs… Recreate camp… Just not at camp!!

 

Learn The Maximum Number Of People Who Can Skype At Once:

Talk to your friends… keep your post camp relationship as close as your camp one! These people are likely to stay with you for a while… Let’s face it; if they can last a week with you 24×7, then the’re a keeper.

 

Dig Out Photos From Many Camps Ago:

We all have the photo from camp many years ago, when you’re in fancy dress or stood next to someone… and it’s funny… perhaps for everyone else and not you… but hey, no pain, no gain! Share that photo… share someone else’s photo… get the banter flowing, relive the memories.

 

Strepsils, Strepsils and more Strepsils (Or any other equivalent brand of throat soothing lozenge)

There’s only one way to cure that sore throat. Clearly it’s not by resting your voice… Oh no, its the repeated consumption of sickly sweet Strawberry or Blackcurrant Strepsils. On the hour, Every hour… maybe even half an hour… Without Kids going on camp, Strepsils would have gone broke YEARS ago!

 

Overplay “That Camp Song”

Make your Mum and Dad Hum it. Teach the dog the dance you couldn’t master on camp.  Play that song so many times you hear each instrument play each individual note…. but smile each time.

 

Shabbatmosphere-ise:

Ok, that’s an even sillier, even more made up word. But if you’re Jewish, Try and bring some of that Shabbatmosphere home.  Say the blessings together, Say grace after meals together… Sing the songs… and if your Booba Complains… Use the same selective hearing she uses, when you remind her that she owes you pocket money!

**MOST IMPORTANTLY:**

Apply for Next Camp:

There may be over 200 days until the coach departs for the next camp…. but who cares?! Book your seat, reserve your tent, register your ruach… get yourself applied and then post a bragging status about it. Apply as the first person just in case there is a prize!!!

Small Print:

Not all sufferers of PCD will suffer due to the Causes above. Likewise, not all sufferers will show symptoms, or be successfully treated by the treatments above.

Side effects may include Drowsiness, nausea, Sore throat, and addiction to Strepsils. 

Please read through included sheet before taking any treatment. 

Use only the prescribed dose and no more, else bad things may or may not happen to you.

See you next camp! :D
Categories
Bullying Personal

Grow Broader Shoulders.

Pinned to the front of my blog for National Bullying Prevention Month, October 2015:

If you ask me about my time at primary school, I usually go quiet and don’t have much to say. Often ALL I will say is:

 

  1. Christmas time I used to love going up to the church to sing carols. (and daddy was once father Christmas)
  2. Baby Spice once came to my primary school!! ( I used to be in LOVE with her)
  3. I had a friend in year 1 who was over from Germany for a year and we’re still in touch
  4. I moved Primary school in February year 5.

Those four things are all that spring to mind. Without deep thought, nothing easily comes back to me about my time at Primary school.

Everything else before that February in Year 5 has been covered with a huge mental plaster, stopping me from thinking back to those years….

I was bullied at primary school. Physically, Verbally, and mentally….. The bullying was so bad, that I had to move schools…..

Reception til year 2 was a separate school at my Primary school, those are years I can remember. The computer going up in smoke, Meeting Caroline from Germany, Lessons in year 2 in the hut at the back of the building….

Then we changed to the Junior school (literally the other side of the fence!) for year 3-6 (well, 3- 5).

I remember bits of year 3, Miss Conder, Reading a bit of Harry Potter (I think)… But then it began….

I remember a class project – to have a photo taken with your friends. This was to be put in a frame as a memento….. I remember turning up in the playground, with no one to have a photo with. No one wanted me. I was shoved in a photo with two girls who were best friends. I remember the photo (which I think I threw away) had me pulling the Fakest smile. While deep inside I was so unhappy.

But then year 4…. I don’t remember much of year 4…. not much at all…….

I’m not sure how it started. The bullying slowly crept its way into my life… when I think back, I remember struggling in Year 4 to finish my DT project, because every time we had a DT lesson, more of my Project was broken than I’d fixed in the previous lesson…. at the time it seemed mere coincidence…..

Toward the end of year 4, things took a turn for the worse. The name calling started. I know it started, but my memories are so vague… I blocked them out years ago, not wanting them to haunt me for the rest of my life.

I remember “Stupid”, “Jew”, “Idiot”, “High Pitched”, “Girl Voice”….
It’s amazing how spiteful 8 and 9 year old kids can be.

I’m not entirely sure when it got physical. Every-time I drive past the school and I see the green fencing, even to this day, I go cold and shiver a little.

I remember a number of times, Being held up against the fence. It’s oblong gaps providing slight refuge to my back being pressed against it’s metal bars. I remember what seems like hundreds of faces, yet were probably maximum 3, Crowding round me.

I remember the kicking, the punching, the name calling, the taunting. 3 or 4 against 1.

Writing this is making memories flow back that would never have come to me normally because they are usually blocked out.

I remember in year 5, we had to make a drink… Design the label… and make a radio advert…. I had a Jingle, I had a word art label…. and I had a bottle full of Blackcurrant juice and vinegar….. “Dooberry Ding”.
Our drinks were out on display in the corridor for all too see… well mine was, for all of one day…
By the second day, the bottle was empty, under the table.

The issue was deep routed. Routed within someone whom I thought was a friend. Who at first I trusted as my naive 8-10 year old self.
The main culprit was someone who, on a Monday night, I’d go home with, we’d go to Tutor together, and then his mum would drop me home.

He was the one, making my life at school hell.

The order of the events is blurry…. The mind can play wonders at trying to help you forget.

I remember I was “Computer monitor”. It was my job to turn the computer on in the morning when I got into the classroom. One day I noticed, the computer was already on when I got into the classroom… That night, at the end of school, I turned the computer off, flicked off the plug socket and left. The next morning I get to the classroom, and the computer is back on.

It took me a few days to realise the culprit…. one day I caught him in the act. Sniggering at me as I watched him do my Job. (To an 8 year old, this is important business!!!!)

The teacher told him not to, and he carried on.

The school building was old, and I never forget getting into the classroom one day, finding that snow had come through the tiny missing pane of window, creating a layer of snow on top of the computer screen…. and someone had switched the computer on….! (Bloody fool!!)

As time went by, things got worse… Pencils thrown across the classroom. More physical bullying in the playground…. I hear you cry “Where were the teachers?”… Well…….

I was told, that because I was kicking my way out of being held against the fence, I was equally in the blame… The cold words of the teacher resonate in my head… “People in glass houses, shouldn’t throw stones”…. and for the Verbal abuse, I was to “Grow Broader shoulders” and Ignore them.

Writing this, I’ve gone cold. Ice cold. I’m shivering just thinking about it.

Bullying does crazy things to you. While I came home from school every day, sad, cold and depressed, I also didn’t want to leave the school. My legs was bruised, my soul was beaten down, and my once happy smile was gone. Yet in a way, I didn’t want to leave what I already knew.

Eventually I was lucky. A place became available at a school one of my friends moved to in year 1. Reluctantly I woke up early one Friday morning to go and see the new school. As soon as I walked through the door, my mind was made up.

In what seems now, like a “goodbye sequence” only available to characters in EastEnders, we left the new school, arrived at the old one, told the head teacher I wasn’t coming back… had an afternoon of lessons, and left my mental and physical hell.

I remember crying at break time as I went to tell one of the other class teachers that I was leaving… I LOVED her lessons – possibly once a week (I don’t remember) we were split into abilities, and that lesson, was to me rest-bite. Away from the people who caused me hell and harm…..

 

I do not count the time after that February half term in year 5 as primary school. That year and a half contains enough AMAZING memories to make up for the years I blank out.

I don’t talk about the time before it simply because I don’t like to think about it. Each time I think, it’s like ripping that plaster off the wound. Changing the metaphorical dressing in my mind.

 

I also don’t talk about it, because people consider it  as a sort of “Sob Story”. I don’t need a Sob story. I’m better than the bullies. They stopped me when I was younger, they inhibited my life for a few years. I’m free of them. I don’t need them casting a legacy over me. I don’t need to use their behaviour to grant me merit.
I am my own person, and their words, their games, and their violence is not going to stop me any-more.