Tuesday, 24 April 2012
Ambridge celebrated 23rd April, St George's Day, with a peal of church bells. In London, 23rd April, Shakespeare's birth and death day was marked by giving away free books. In Bodrum, I started 23rd April by being blasted from my bed by a man who shouldn't have been let anywhere near a microphone, shouting the Turkish equivalent of "testing testing one two three" at 7:45 in the morning. This made for a grumpy start to the day and I have to admit that I have mixed feelings about Turkey's National Children's Day. I like the principle but not the practice. "Practice" being the main problem. Rehearsal after rehearsal with the poor children marching round and round the football pitch, banging their drums and tooting on their one note-horns for a couple of weeks before the event. As each child will hear exactly the same tune (Can I call it a tune if it has only one note?) every year for at least 8 years, is this much rehearsal really necessary? When my daughter was small, her first school had very big ideas for Children's Day, involving complicated outfits and dance routines. Unfortunately, the costume didn't include a hat and no matter what the weather is like for the rest of the April, the 23rd will be baking hot and the the littlest ones will be drooping with heat exhaustion after the march from school, never mind the parading inside the stadium and the walk back. Mothers are exhausted from staying up all night trying to finish sewing the 100 ruffles on skirts and sleeves (maybe that was just me - I glued them on one year and lost a lot of brownie points in the best-mother stakes). Teachers are all anxious that their class is not marching in time but trying to push each other into the path of oncoming cars and fathers just turn up and look uncomfortable and worry that their cars will be towed away by the traffic police. So nobody really enjoys it except those who have a very hazy recollection of their own school days and the odd passing tone-deaf tourist.