While I’m here in the UK, I’m being a good girl and filling up my orange bags with plastic. cardboard and paper. All power to a bit of recycling.
To take it one step further, here is one of my old columns from the newspaper days that never made it to the blog. All joking aside, it was a serious piece and worrying at the time. I’m sure you will be pleased to know that he made it home safe in one piece although sadly, some of his army colleagues did not.
”One hazy summer in the 80’s, a baby boy is born in London. Raised by a single mother who works hard to compensate him in finance with what he lacks in a father. He goes to school in uniform but on his feet are the latest trainers, his school bag emblazoned with the latest turtle, transformer or superhero of the day. Birthdays bring parties with lots of presents and theme cakes, Father Christmas brings the latest electronic craze or game, a new football strip and of course, more trainers. From the age of four this little boy holidays abroad nearly every year, staring excitedly out of the plane window as he eats from a big bag of sweets. He rides camels and horses, goes to funfairs and circuses, dines out in restaurants and always comes home to his own room with his own toys, a wardrobe full of clothes and a feeling of security. He knows he is loved.
One hazy summer in the 80’s, a baby boy is born at home in a small village in Turkey. Raised by a single mother who already has 4 children. He goes to school in a hand me down uniform and any spare shoes that sort of fit, he has no school bag. Birthdays are not remembered, there is no celebration & Father Christmas has no meaning. There is Seker Bayram and on this day, he receives sweets from most of the adults he encounters. On school holidays he kicks around the village with the rest of the boys, playing games with sticks or climbing on old bits of machinery held together with rope and when he comes home he sleeps in the same room as his brothers on a thin mattress on the floor, no toys but a great feeling of security. He knows he is loved.
Our London boy has now left school and is attending college. His clothes are more expensive still and the cost of his trainers could feed our Turkish boys family for at least a month. He goes to the cinema, pubs & clubs, dates lots of girls and always comes home to his own room complete with TV, DVD, Games Consul and mini fridge.
Our Turkish boy has now left school and is working long hours in a restaurant. He brings home his wages and gives them to his mum, a sum that would not even buy our London boy a designer T Shirt. His clothes are still handed down and the only shoes he wears are the worn out ones of his older brothers. He has never been to the cinema or set foot inside a pub and his experience of ‘girls’ is zero. Each night he comes home to the same room that he shares with his brothers and sleeps on the thin mattress on the floor.
Our London boy is now 18. He has spent the last year or so partying in Turkey, London and Greece, while working in bars which earn him enough to buy branded clothes and funny t-shirts, add to his collection of tattoos, get pierced and notch up more scores on his bedpost. His bank balance still subsidized by his over compensating mother where necessary. He is busy planning his return to London where he will ‘knuckle under’ and concentrate on his acting career from the comfort of a new flat that his mother is about to fund.
Our Turkish boy is now 18. He has spent the last 5 months in the army learning to push his body to the ends of endurance, survive without water and handle heavy artillery. He is busy learning how to survive his next excursion, the one that will take him on his first trip out of his country, the one he does not want his mother to know about.
At last our Turkish boy has his very own shoes……. We pray they will not be his last.”