Arwen's meanderings

Hi everyone and welcome to my new blog. My name is Steve and i am the lucky owner of a John Welsford designed 'navigator' named Arwen. I built her over three years with the help of my father, father-in-law and two children. She was launched in August 2007 at Queen Anne's battery marina in the barbican area of Plymouth. This blog is a record of our voyages together around SW England.
Arwen has a YouTube channel of her own. Search "plymouthwelshboy".

Tuesday, 3 November 2015


They came from all quarters, on scooters, walking, riding on the back of pushchairs, on the back of mopeds. The streets were filled with lively chatter and laughter; of intense conversations, parents bent low whispering intently. Smiles filled the streets competing with the early morning sun's rays.
They came dressed in all manner of clothes, Asian saris, burkas, track suits and jeans. Little backpacks depicting cartoon characters gripped tightly. Mothers stopped at the gates to chat, fathers gave children big hugs before heading to work. Children skipped through the school gates. The large tenement blocks disgorged their young inhabitants into the monastery school at the heart of the housing estates, the tenement quarters of El Raval district. At the school gate all religions met, from Sikh to Catholic, Islamic to Buddhist. All ages, all races, all religions, a multitude of languages. 

School gates are the same the world over. 'Be good'. 'Have a great day'. 'Do some good learning'. 'Have fun, work hard'. As we sat, lost in unfamiliar surroundings, we realised they weren't unfamiliar at all. To two teachers with 64 years teaching experience between them, it was business as normal. Tag was played in the playground. Football dominated the centre, children whispered conspiratorially on the fringes, all smiles and laughter. Another school day with humour and fun and intense inquisitiveness...and always the possibilies.........the next diplomat, nurse, engineer, inventor, architect, pilot, astronaut, care worker, business woman, firefighter, cafe waiter, artist, musician........endless possibilities, how exciting is that?

Three things struck a privilege it is to be a teacher.....and two........on that street today everyone was Spanish, European, another nationality too. Most were bi-lingual, many tri-lingual.  All seemed comfortable with their multiple identities. 

And three? Isn't it a privilege to be part of a continent of such diversity...............we are all European citizens.....and in Britain we need to be prouder of that than perhaps we are.

We are back in Barcelona......already lost.........and loving it!

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