Although it’s been a couple of months since I last wrote anything, it’s not through lack of motivation, but more through lack of time and the inability to stay awake long enough to not only write something, but to do so in a manner that can be read.
Even now, I'm concerned that I may revert to gibberish as, since 23rd September, I've had just one day where I haven't worked. Clearly bad planning on my part, but necessary, and a combination of both civilian and military work.
The military side of it was that I have been lucky enough to attend the Intermediate Command and Staff Course at the Joint Services Command and Staff College in Shrivenham. I felt very privileged to have been able to attend, particularly with the history. However, having said that, the premises at Shrivenham are relatively new, as the original Army Staff College was located in Camberley, Surrey, in the grounds of the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. Having completed this course now means that I will have an added edge when applying for Staff Officer posts.
The course was hard word, lectures every day from 0830 - 1730, and homework most evenings, but the social aspect was also very enjoyable, there being a formal course dinner night, syndicate nights out and beer at only £1.10 a pint!
As I said, though, I had had to do my civilian job for the five days prior to attending the fourteen day course (no days off), I then had to attend the Squadron the day after I got back, having a day off on the Sunday, prior to working two full weeks with a European Paediatric Life Support course that I was teaching on during last weekend. It was therefore quite a relief to be making my way home yesterday knowing that I had a whole two days off!
And then next week I have a shortened week as its half term and my daughter is staying. Pity, though, that No.1 son won't be staying for a while as he has now started his history degree at The University of Hull. He was a busy boy before he left, though, not only passing his driving test, but also buying himself a car. It's very strange seeing one of your children driving, believe me!
Also, just before I went on the Staff course I received notification that I had been awarded the Volunteer Reserves Service Medal, which meant that I had to rush about getting a miniature and having it mounted prior to the dinner night. As for the full-size one, it was being engraved prior to dispatch and still hasn't arrived from the Medal Office, so although I will have the ribbon on my service dress in time for Remembrance, it is unlikely that I will have the medal.
This will be my last Remembrance with the Squadron. In the eleven years that I have been with them, I have only missed two, in 2003 when I was making my way to Preston to deploy to Iraq with 5 Medical Regiment and in 2008, when I had been ill and attended the Remembrance parade at my old school. Next year, I plan to be back at my old school again.
One of the strange things about being away on these courses and living in the insulated environment of a military unit is that you are often not completely aware of what is happening "outside the wire". Although there were newspapers available every day, I found that I only really had time to flick through them, and although there was access to television, I didn't actually watch any. My connection to the outside world was Radio 4 via my clock radio. So, although I was aware of the whole Jimmy Savile thing, I wasn't fully aware of just how serious it was, or just how far it had spread!
I was a child of the 70's, and I can remember watching Jim'll Fix It on a Saturday evening, which was when I first became aware of this person. The concept of the show was that children wrote in and asked him to arrange for them to meet a celebrity or do something daft. I never wrote in, but m'Julie apparently wrote in loads, although she was never chosen (perhaps a lucky escape!) Although I always thought that he was a bit odd, the revelations that have been made about him are a shock.
However, what is a bigger shock to me is that, now that about 300 people have come forward claiming to have been abused by Jimmy Savile, there seem to be numerous people also coming forward who either worked with or knew him claiming that they knew what was going on. The question that I have is "Why did they allow it to continue if they knew?" I was particularly shocked by the "revelations" that the nurses at Stoke Mandeville Hospital knew what he was up to, apparently telling the patients to "pretend to be asleep" when he was around. Yet they didn't report it, therefore breaching the NMC (or UKCC as it then was) Code of Professional conduct.
Sadly, we will probably never get to the bottom of the whole thing and will also probably never know the whole truth as Savile died last year. There have been various "co-conspirators" named by several of Savile's alleged victims, but not surprisingly, they have denied everything.
Earlier this week, there was an article in one of the newspapers which suggested that much of what was happening here was linked to a paedophile ring that was being run by civil servants at the very heart of the British Government, in Downing street itself. So with that in mind, I wonder how long it will be before this whole issue disappears from public consciousness, replaced by some even juicier scandal?