Sunday, December 10, 2006

A Tale of Two Cities

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way."

This quote from A Tale of Two Cities came to mind when I thought of the past week. It was a week of contrasts...and unlike Dickens (I am unlike Dickens in so many ways - I am female, alive, dress more fashionably compared to a dead person, have not published a book and do my youthwork face-to-face) I was saying...unlike Dickens I will start with the worst of times because its better to end on a positive...its better to remember the good.

Some of the 'worst of times'...

The young people's disappointment being cut from the ITV programme after being told that our pitch had been successful...and my disgust that they should have to deal with that when all would have been happier never to have been told rather than to be told we were in the final and then have it taken away.

Jane, following a fare dispute, was locked in a Black Cab, trapped by the verbally abusive driver in the cab, terrified to the point of having to threaten to call the police and then having to call them and report the incident & her whereabouts and the cab number, before she was eventually let out, (her trust in black cabbies shaken somewhat but her trust in the police increased).

The second time we skated at Canary Wharf there was a delay because a woman had injured herself and could not be moved off the ice. We were shocked to be allowed in and on the ice while the woman lay there immobile with orange cones round her - they didn't even stop people skating when the stetcher came in to take her off. The 'business as usual' attitude just showed the greed of Capitalism at its worst.

News on Trident and the sickening feeling in my stomach when I think of Labour spending £25 billion pounds on nuclear weapons, 'a costly 'insurance' against unknown unknowns', as Polly Toynbee puts it in Dec 5ths Guardian 'This is about defence of Labour not the country.'

Some of the 'best of times'...

After a lively discussion and some Christmas Fayre, playing Silent Night and other Christmas Carols we were learning with Wendy, Thomas, Craig, Sarah, Keeley with Josh L, Mo, Josh S & Diane singing along with us and cheering (well Josh was more jeering than cheering).

Taking young people ice skating with Emma, Jon & Renu and watching them holding hands and picking each other up and looking after each other and having fun and the walk there and back and the different to normal conversations and laughs...even the conversations and laughs with parents who discover the next day that their child's sore arm turns out to be a fracture.

Making mince pies with Joe, who has Down's syndrome and seeing him hand them out to his classmates and teachers and being asked for the recipe (quite an achievement on my part considering my ineptitude in the kitchen kept me out of it in 8 years of volunteering at club).

Recording Feed the World with Junior Club Tayla, Jessie, Kelsea & Cloe and feeling their excitement when they heard their individually recorded voices come together with each others, the music and Bono's.

Holding a Christmas Party for the year 7 & 8 Group from George Green Complex needs Department at Club with the aid of Renu, Jermaine and Tony...the designing of their paper plate counters for the giant Snakes & Ladders game, the aborted game of musical hats, the visit from Santa Claus, the game of Pass the Parcel, the food, the dancing, the prizes, the singing, the gifts, the Santa hats, the music, the laughter, the awards...the left over games and activities we didn't need because they found everything else such fun we didn't need more.

A Tale of Two Cities

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