I have had a simply wonderful time this week with Reidski and there is lots I want to say about our time together but there is something I have to say first.
Tragedy can strike anywhere and at any time - of course I know that. Any one of us could get knocked over the next time we set foot out the front door. But something happened this week which I have found really distressing and I need to acknowledge it before I get back to the trivia that normally occupies my simple mind.
This week a 17 year old lad went missing whilst on a school trip in Ecuador. He was swimming in a river with some of the other 18 teenagers who were on the same trip, completing their Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award when he went missing. The visit had included helping out at an orphanage and climbing a live 20,000 volcano. They had saved and fund raised for over two years to make this trip reality.
I don't know the lad who was waved off on the coach at 1.00 in the morning by his friends and family but who won't be coming home to them. I do know two of the other lads who were swimming with him when he disappeared. Both of them are very frequent visitors to my house. I am devastated for them whilst feeling that selfish relief it wasn't one of them, for their families who are my friends, for one of the teachers on the trip who I know to be a really great person, for all the others on the trip, but mainly of course for Aaron and his family. For something which should have been the experience of a life time to end like this is more dreadful than I can express.
My daughter is now swearing she will never ever go on a school trip again, and part of me wants to say 'Damn right, you are not', but I can't. I have to try and make her understand that everything we do is a risk, and that some things which are so worthwhile can involve more risk still, but it doesn't mean you shouldn't give it a go. I thought it was marvellous that the school was providing such an opportunity for its students and I can't change my mind about that because it has ended in this terrible way.
Nor can I wrap my kids in cotton wool - but just now that is exactly what I want to do.
Guilty - How do I plead? I plead "Guilty" your honour. Though I did spend six weeks in Ireland in the summer of 1974, visiting amongst many other places the youth...
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