Many years ago, as a young boy, I received the present of a book listing important historical events by day. For a long time I kept this by my bed and would often look at it before getting up in the morning to see what incredible events happened on that day in history. Often I would try to picture in my ‘minds-eye’ how the events of that day might have unfolded and dreamed of what it would have been like to have been there. From this I think my love of history and, in particular, local, personal and unwritten history has developed. I hugely enjoy reading of the same historical event from a number of different perspectives and I am constantly amazed by how two people in the same place could have such vastly differing recollections of the same events.
I no longer have that book but still often have a quick look online to see what happened on this day in history. On 25 November 1783, Britain evacuated New York city, its last military position in the United States. In 1867 Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel patented dynamite and in 1983 the world's greatest robbery of 26 million pounds worth of gold, diamonds and cash was stolen from the Brink's-Mat warehouse at Heathrow Airport.
Sadly, the biggest thing happening in the world today seems to be a record breaking online shopping bonanza. The internet and the printed press are awash with adverts and articles telling us that this will be the biggest Black Friday ever. Thousands of deals. Great brands. Unmissable discounts and free delivery. And, while I love a bargain as much as the next person, I find myself horrified by this seemingly insatiable demand for the latest product or thing. Luckily, here at school, we are essentially immune from this (except for the PTA Christmas Fayre). Despite what we might have been told by the press, our children are fit and healthy. They have a good diet and the right balance between work and play. Watch them in the playground at break-time and you will witness their instinctive understanding that a good experience or adventure is far better than any amount of material goods. They run, jump, skip and laugh with friends because they know, without being told, that these are the things that will bring them lasting happiness.
I hope you have had a happy Friday!
John F Gilmour