Monday, 4 October 2010

GCSE’s, bus stops, speeches, dreams - and wishes and whisperers…

A grainy picture taken at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester last Thursday evening. I had to use the camera on my phone; we were told cameras weren’t allowed. It didn’t stop some of the other parents with their zoom lenses and flashes though. Still, it captures the moment and shows off Holly’s new red hair well enough.

There was music (piano, violin, flute) readings, photographic slide shows, a long promotional speech from the Headmistress. I already knew that Holly’s school was in the UK’s top twenty and that they had a 98% pass rate at ‘B’ and above for GCSE. All of the parents must have known, we're reminded often enough when we get the requests (demands) for 'donations'. But hey, what's another twenty minutes or so, especially when followed by another guest speaker, a woman who works for customs and excise and has an OBE, Tamsin Somebodyorother.

And then the girls filed up one by one to receive their certificates – all one hundred and eight of them.

Tamsin Whatshername’s speech was actually very good. Her messages were clear and she expressed them well - be yourself, follow your dreams, and have a go at what you want no matter what other people are saying that you should do – listen to your conscience, do what you think is right and ignore the whisperers.

I hope that Holly was listening as she sat there waiting to get her ‘certificate’ (not her certificate at all really, but a piece of paper ‘in lieu’ of the real certificates that hadn’t arrived in time). I hope that she was listening hard.

I was listening, listening to every vowel and consonant and wishing that Tamsin Thingummybob had been the speaker at my school back when I was sixteen and so full of promise and hope. Back then I could have changed my world, I could so easily have realised my dreams before I started listening to the whisperers; letting them have too much control, too much say, of and in me. It could have been so different if (back then in that time that lives on in my dreams sometimes) I’d followed those dreams rather than storing them up for now.

Don’t worry I’m not going to say ‘I could have been a contender’, but maybe I could - don't quite know a contender for what though.

I was still listening as Tamsin Whatdyermacallit finished her talk with this. I’d heard it before, it always strikes a resonating chord, and this time was no exception. I hate Mark Twain sometimes.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

Damn you Samuel Langhorne Clemens.

If only I’d known my dreams back then and what they could become. I know them better now, I know better now, but I think I may have missed the dream realisation bus. Maybe I’ve hung around for too long at the DR bus stop whispering with the whisperers, not listening to myself and listening to them instead.

As Holly shook Tamsin Whateverhernamewas’s hand and received her bogus certificate I made a wish, a few actually. I wished that Holly never gets held up at the DR bus stop listening to the whisperers, I wished that she knows her dreams, follows them, and dreams them into reality, I wished that she catch the trade winds in her sails, explores, dreams, and discovers, and finally I wished that I’d be able to still remember Tamsin’s other name when I got home.

Oh well, as long as my other wishes come true.


  1. I was listening, clearly more than you: Tasmin Woodeson OBE, actually I got this from the programme but at least I'm using my initiative :P

  2. Not that closely Ginger - it was Tamsin and not Tasmin... Ha ha!

  3. Best wishes to Holly, whatever direction she takes. It is frightening how early they have to make potentially life changing decisions. I'm glad you reminded me about the Twain quotation; I will use it with William sometime.

  4. Do you think you would have listened to Tamsin Thingummybob when you were 16. I don't think I would have. And I wonder how many people can attain their dreams AND stay true to their conscience.
    The problem with regrets is that you sort of assume that the things you didn't do would have worked out OK and so things would be better. Maybe you would just trade shit for shit.

  5. Mr Twain also said something like ' good and you will be lonesome, be lonesome and you will be free..'But thats another story.

    What applies here is something the late great Stephen Bruton wrote '...what makes you grow old is replacing hope with regret..'.
    Be careful.
    Keep the balance.
    Or it will eat you up inside.

  6. Philip Morgan commented on Facebook:

    You have the heart of a Lion. I never tire of your enthusiasm and sheer love of life which comes across so much in your blogs.

    I say - grr.

  7. Carl Smith responded on Facebook:

    I agree with Phil.I shall start to call you Richard.

  8. Beware the whisperers, know your own mind.