Catch Up

Inside the Big Top

Having got Crumble back up and running I have a few odds and ends to post by way of catch up and simply for record purposes.  The most memorable event of my summer was Speech Day at school, my oldest boys last. Three moments, each very different, struck home. 

 Speech Day started with the irrepressible Dr Seldon's entry into the Speech Day Big Top after we watched this.................... what other school....? 

Next up, among other performers, Samantha Quillish gave a beamer of a performance of Dvorak's "Song to the Moon." A haunting but beautiful piece, it left me strangely affected and reflective. Not a usual outcome for me I can assure you. You can enjoy it above although unfortunately, not with young Samantha singing. 


The best however, was a blinding record run by the Field Gun team who eviscerated the previous record, and by a margin.  Given the skipper and Flying Angel was my boy it was, of course, a proud father moment. Easily the toughest team sport in the world. The teams will again be at Earls Court for the British Military Tournament later this year.

Field Gun Fest at the British Military Tournament


The streaming cold that I've manfully endured all week and which has felt like a heavy dose of the Ebola Virus, will be swept aside with contemptible disdain this evening as I stroll into Earls Court for the opening performance of this years British Military Tournament

The successor to the 100 year old Royal Tournament, (which was stopped in 1999 by Tony Blair and his verminous Labour government), was launched to great success last year by, and in aid of, the Army Benevolent Fund. 

All the traditional acts are back this year and include the White Helmets Motor Bike Display Team, The Kings Troop with the Musical Drive, the US Army Drill Team chucking their rifles around with carefree abandon and the de rigeur Afghan reenactment shoot-up among others. 

Obviously, all these warm-up acts are to give the audience an enjoyable run in to the centre piece turn; the Command Field Gun Run. Described as the hardest team race in the world, boys from Wellington College will again be running in place of the teams of Naval gorilla's from Portsmouth, Devonport and the Fleet Air Arm who ran up until 1999 when HMG stabbed them squarely between the shoulder blades. Grown men could have cried to see a hundred years of fine tradition go down the pan.......... and they did. 

The Wellington boys, aged between 14 and 18, run with half sized guns. Nonetheless, with 200 lbs of gun barrel landing on your leg there is only going to be one outcome and they do seem to pick up the kind of injuries that make your eyes water. 

Not that I'm a proud father or anything, but one of the Crumble Kids is running. I asked him what the appeal of the Field Gun is. He said, "It's the hardest but most enjoyable thing I've done. Everything depends on the team, there are no stars. It only takes one person to slip up and everything comes unglued and bad things happen. You have to do your own job but rely on and trust everyone around you to do theirs."

Oddly, I'll be back tomorrow and Sunday...... perhaps I am a proud, if nervous, Dad ....


"Spare a Shekel for a blind man," Life of Brian


I spoke with a friend the other day who suffers from severe PTSD and he told me a quiet story.

"I was in town yesterday and saw a Salvation Army guy collecting money on the street. Suddenly, I was back in the middle of Lockerbie and I could smell the AvGas all around me. I started shaking. The Sally Anne were great there; handing out sandwiches, tea, cigarettes and so on. I started talking to him, he was a Scotsman too and believe it or not, he was there at Lockerbie. It's an awfy small world............... I've had the flashbacks all night though and I'm still shaking.."

With holidays4heroes we've helped my chum out with a few small issues; mostly where he's been abandoned by the benefits system at the behest of petty bureaucrats and left with only a few pounds a week to live on. We also have eight families in Spain this week and another ten going out next week. All either with a Dad who has been wounded in action or sadly bereaved. We also have some single soldiers going who are also in recuperation from their wounds. We have some good stories to tell though and I'll have a full update next week.

In the meantime, the boys at Wellington College in the Field Gun teams will be running tomorrow in aid of our little charitable efforts.

If you were minded to throw a tenner our way you could do so here. The boys have so far raised £600, it would be nice if we could make it to a thousand - that should get 2 families or 4 single soldiers out for some respite from rehab. As you know, we have no admin costs and holiday properties are kindly donated.

Grateful thanks.





Royal Tournament Revival


One of the early acts of rampant vandalism against our national heritage and institutions, perpetrated by Tony Blair and his cronies, was binning the Royal Tournament.

Whispers reach me suggesting it might be back on, albeit in reduced form which is not a surprise given the hatchet that's been taken to all the services whilst ramping up their commitments over the last eleven years.

Still, it'll be good to have it back in any form. Goodness knows we'll need something to cheer us along in the dark and grim days that lie ahead.

For aficionados, here once again is the Last Run of the Field Gun competition.