Blog 54n...The Missing Statues...
My mother brought us up to always be honest no matter how hard it was. She always told us we could trust some people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time. She was right to try and instill these values in us and I do try to instill as many values as I can into the ‘Intelligent-one’ and the ‘Cutey-pie’ in preparation for the big world. But sometimes I wonder what kind of people there are walking side by side of us along the way…
I once knew a young female Vicar who was brilliant in every sense of the matter and the way she talked to young people and old sometimes took my breath away and made me think long and hard about life. She once said something quite profound but also what I thought was strange for a Vicar:
“Look in the mirror…you see the face staring back at you? That’s the only face you can trust. Everyone else can let you down.”
It made me worry that if I couldn’t trust myself then who could I trust?
In teaching I worked as hard as I could and if there was a chance of promotion I steeled myself ready and took the plunge. Time and time again I trusted management when they said things like;
“You’re in line this time round, trust me I’ll put a good word in for you;”
or; “The interview is only a formality you’ll get the job...
...Trust me, produce this scheme of work… take the football practice…volunteer to do the Dance Festival...join the Parent Teacher Association... job’s as good as yours.”
Fool that I am I followed what I thought was sound advice, I did what I thought was expected of me and trusted that someone would see that I was capable of doing the job I applied for.
When I was told that it was a close shave, that the panel really liked me but the successful candidate was younger, more competent with today’s systems, confident with computing…blah blah blah…I realised that perhaps the only person I could trust to get me the promotion was me!
When my first ever true boyfriend told me that he loved me I trusted him to always be there for me…well he was, but he was also there for half a dozen others as well and when a Taekwondo partner [er yes I did do that sport…and I did get the green belt!!] told me to close my eyes and trust him he’d catch me I did…and of course I fell flat on my back because he had whipped the legs from under me and forgot to catch me! [I’ve since forgiven him as I was in love with him and eventually married him…yes my ‘Hubby’ is a black belt in Taekwondo!]
I have always been as honest as my mother would expect me to be and except for the occasional little lie for the benefit of someone’s happiness, this has been the case for the best part of 40 or so years!
It took me a long time to discover that telling the truth when a friend asks if she suits the colour of a dress or make up is not what they wanted to hear: eventually after losing many friends whilst growing up I began to learn how to smile and say something stupid like; “What a difference that shade makes.” Or agree that indeed their new boyfriend was trendy or better looking than the last one. Sometimes being honest meant being quiet or extremely tactful in the hope that they didn’t really want my opinion anyway.
I also learnt that in teaching telling 100% truth to a distraught parent that their child is an absolute nightmare is of no benefit to anyone…least of all to the child who would be punished for their behaviour; so I developed a different way of telling the truth; less brutal and more constructive: giving parents hope and the pupil a chance!
But is all this honesty and being trusting a good thing or plain stupid?
Read on and decide for yourself…
I live in a community that is slowly being surrounded by developments in the name of progress and quite often you can leave the house one day and have beautiful trees wafting in the wind and return at night to have just the bark pieces wafting in your face. For the most part when we are informed of plans that would have a detrimental effect on our community and lives we get the opportunity to disagree. But just lately without any warning several standard sized trees and bushes had been cut away, despite the fact that they had originally been planted to protect us from the noise and the pollution of the local motorway slip road [which was built after the houses]
Over a period of days these trees disappeared and I suppose we all became a bit complacent when we saw even more workmen in their yellow vests digging away.
Now for the past 14 years there have been a set of stone farm gate posts that were carved into the shape of Saxons complete with the conical shaped hat. These stone figures have stood proud and gradually became a landmark: everyone used them for directions:
“Turn left by the Vikings…go straight past the Vikings…or…if you drive past the Vikings you’ve gone too far…”
At Christmas a neighbour would brave the cold and dark and dress them in white beards and red hats…much to the surprise and enjoyment of the younger generation.
Sometimes people would hang birthday messages on them. They became a respected part of the community and would become an Historical part of the landscape…or so we all thought.
One afternoon in March ‘Bridezilla’ and I were returning from an unsuccessful shopping trip. She was grumpy because she has given up smoking and I was grumpy because I’ve given up chocolate [in a last ditch attempt to reduce my waistline in time for the wedding…I can dream…]neither of us were particularly happy as we approached the roundabout on the way home and saw a lorry with a crane and three workmen digging away at the Vikings.
“What the hell is going on now?” I shouted.
“No need to shout at me.”
“Here, go round again I want to see clearly…”
“For crying out loud I want to get home…”
She did drive round again, she also listened to me moaning and cursing and swearing about all these changes.[‘Bridezilla’ just thinks it’s my age that makes me grumpy; it is… but it’s also the lack of sleep, the hot flushes, the lack of chocolate and the niggling pain…I’ve very little patience these days]
So even though we had just parked up and she needed some cake ‘Bridezilla’ kindly agreed to drive me back to see what was happening. What on earth was I thinking? Anyway, we parked in the nearby lay-by and trudged across the newly cut grass verge and approached these three men who suddenly looked a lot bigger than they did when I was sitting in the ‘Bridezilla’s’ jeep…
“Er excuse me, can you tell me why you are digging up the statues?
“They’re going into retirement…” chirps the smallest of the three.
“Why?” Blabs me.
“The motorway exit is going to be extended…they’ll be in the way.”
“Where are you taking them?” I persisted.
“Oh locally, to the Council’s yard…” the big man smirked and the red head controlling the crane laughed as I said…
“Can the community please have them for the Nature Park?”
“You’ll have to ask the Council…” and they all beamed.
We walked away feeling a little silly and by the time I got home I was fuming. Humph! Extending the motorway! So I emailed a Councillor who very quickly emailed back that there were no plans for an extension. Something did not add up.
What has all this to do with honesty and trusting? Read on…
I was happy that the statues were safe and that as a community we could request to have them on the park. I was also happy enough that there was no extension planned and we just needed to be vigilant to make sure that no one snuck in an extra lane whilst everyone was out! Life goes on and 4 weeks later I was talking to a neighbour…the very one who used to decorate the statues. During our discussion he mentioned the loss of the statues and how sad it was to see them go. I recounted the fact that we could have them for the community if it was decided not to replace them on the roundabout. He was slightly confused and suggested I read the local paper; he kindly emailed the link this morning. What I saw brought tears to my eyes and made me feel furious.
The article I read was detailing how the statues were stolen and that the police were looking for any leads!
Any leads? Hell fire I was not only standing talking to the thieves whilst they were digging the statues out of the ground but I thanked them [through gritted teeth] for answering my questions. STOLEN! Who on earth would do that?
So now I am off to give my evidence to the police in an effort that just maybe they can be tracked down…I think they’ll be surprised to hear that the thieves did not come in the middle of the night but in broad daylight surrounded by traffic!
Which leads me to the question…
Is all this being honest and trusting a good thing or am I plain stupid…I trusted what the workmen said…they laughed at my belief in their lies…I'm going to be honest when informing the police of what I saw...will my honesty be rewarded by being arrested for hampering the police's efforts to track the statues?
What do you think?
One thing you can be sure of is that you can trust me when I say…
…it’s a good thing I’m not in charge of Stonehenge then isn’t it?...
Blog 54 o...coming soon...Next Wednesday...
Copyright© GML 2012
Copyright© GML 2012