A pleasant late morning saw me out of the door in a thin fleece, a cap rather than the woolly hat. Not too chilly and no rain until around 6pm according to the forecast. So the lack of enthusiasm earlier in the day gave me to a relaxed stroll through a couple of miles before gaining momentum both in pace and mood. Yes, I know that momentum is mass x velocity so you can’t gain momentum in speed, only gain momentum in, er, momentum. Flirting more than usually with side streets previously untrodden by Spicer boots, I crept up unnoticed behind the back of Fareham before shouting ‘Boo!’ 7.2 miles so far according to Google Maps.
The customary Costa and a couple of high energy biscuits. I was served by a very attractive and shapely barista, but the second most impressive rack was that holding the newspapers, a tremendous selection, so I settled down with The Times. With a feature on the forthcoming anniversary of the start of the First World War, my memory was nudged back to a conversation during a journey with Matt and three of his friends. The band Franz Ferdinand came on the CD player and I asked the boys who Franz Ferdinand was. One of them muttered something about him being that bloke killed before World War One. “And did you know, boys”, I continued, “that he was Rio Ferdinand’s great grandfather?” The guffaws in the car when Matt responded, “Was he?” were to behold.
I found World War I much more interesting than World War II and was my favourite part of my History ‘O’ Level (covering 1871-1945), in which I got a B (an A* at A Level in today’s money). 100 years ago this year, so we will see a lot of fascinating stuff on TV, no doubt dumbed down. This is real history, not some other apparently life-changing moment like when David Beckham scored that free kick v Greece. An estimated 9 million people were killed in World War I, which is almost precisely the number of people watching that Beckham goal live on TV in England. Puts it in context, I think. Still the arguments go on, according to the article I was reading, about whether children can learn about WWI by watching Blackadder Goes Forth. I would say that, if it enthuses children in history, and gives at least some insight into the horrors, then it is worth watching. I worked with one criminology lecturer who said quite openly that students could learn as much about Police and Criminal Evidence Act (P.A.C.E.) from watching The Bill as any lecture (mmm, she said it!).
When I was studying statistics at university, I did set myself a goal later in life of getting a degree in an entirely different discipline, and I had earmarked History. With fees and other ties, it seems much less likely now but, when you’re young, anything seems possible. I am not a political animal at all but I was reading recently about the 1936 Jarrow Crusade – a protest march about unemployment from Jarrow, in the North East, to London. 281 miles in 22 days, but what struck me was that none of the 207 marchers carried a sponsor form. And when my late grandfather asked them whether they had a Just Giving page, they just looked at him in a very strange way. Charming! No wonder none of them had a job.
After that rather directionless digression, there were more digressions, and a total of just over 16 miles. Hailstorm, wet, cold, but enthusiasm replenished.