The Danish Broadcasting Company (DR) arrived in Liverpool this weekend with their mission- to produce a television-series around Europe, visiting each member state and discovering the views of the people on the EU.
Along with the flm crew, two members of the European Parliamant, Dan Jorgensen and Morten Messerschmidt joined the team to pose those indepth, searching questions.
Dan was a pro-EU and Morten an EU-pessimist.
Their objective on Saturday morning when I met them, was to look at opposition against the EU and they wanted to see the Polish community in Liverpool. They particularly wanted to discover how the Polish people were actually contributing to society.
We felt that a visit to the Liverpool Polish Saturday School in Old Swan would be very interesting and positive. It would be a story that would show the Polish community’s awareness and feelings of responsibility to intergrate youngsters in the British society, while keeping a cultural heritage in mind.
Well, we were right!
On Saturday morning, I had a particular class of 13yr-14yr olds, that I teach PSHE to. Thats Personal, Social, and Health Education. We discuss all things political, topical, historical and geographical for 30mins, as a warm up before their actual formal curriculum lessons. On this occasion, they had the best lesson ever. The film crew entered the classroom, very informally, along with the producer and MEP’s who made themselves at home with their jokes. They sat on the “little” chairs infront of my group, who were all seated on the carpet and then, bombarded the children with a torrent of questions which they superbly answered.
I was delighted with the childrens responses to questions about the EU and how they, and Britain, might fair when entry controls are lifted at the end of the year, especially when Bulgarian and Romanian immigrants arrive.
What do you think about voices that fear for more immigrants in the UK?…. seemed to be the one question pressed more often to the children.
Questions about their likes and dislikes in a foreign country, what they miss most?, Is it easy to get new friends?….. what they feel they will contribute to the society here?….searching questions…about what challenged them upon arrival?…but they all had an answer and didn’t shy away from any. The crew delighted in the filming of a traditional Polish dance in full costume, courtesy of the after school Cultural dance club.
Their visit took them to experience the delights of a Polish shop and the taste of Polish meats and confectionery.
In all, they truly gained an “experience” and had their questions answered in full, both from the staff, parents and children who were all interviewed on the day.
I would like to thank Dorthe Gad Thuemoes and her team who certainly gave us an “experience” in Pan European relations.
The morning was an unforgettable experience for both children and staff.
Two and a half hours from Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport, is what I consider to be my Shangri-La……a peaceful rural retreat.
Miles of coniferous forest with abundant wildlife, of deer, wild boar, elks, wildcat, fox, capercaillie, even the European beaver recently introduced and causing havoc, chewing the odd trees along the highway.
A pleasant place to read all those books you ever wanted to, even with all the wildlife distractions. But, having all the amenities of the supermarkets, library, walk-in centre, church, schools, pubs, restaurants and even a town IT centre to name a few of the establishments, right on your doorstep.
When I arrived the other day, there was a metre of snow, and it just kept on comming. To my surprise, I noticed on my way to getting bread and general shopping the following morning, a large bird circling in spirals….a heron I thought…but no…too big. Surely not a stork! It’s winter.
Tracing the creature through the air, it landed, and there before me, I saw about 50 bedraggled white stork. There before my eyes on the tributary of the Nepryszka river, huddled, obviously cold and hungry and having just migrated over 2,500 miles at least, from Africa, across Turkey, and over the Urals to avoid the Mediterranean Sea, which has no thermal currents to assist flight……. to this -20 C land of Mr Frosty! I seriously think there is something wrong with our climate!
Every summer I marvel at these creatures, nesting on chimney pots, swirling in the air, on thermals…fantastic, graceful creatures that give a country a national identity. So inscensed was I by the plight of these majestic birds, that I persuaded the local butcher to provide a bucket of offal to feed them. This sparked a reaction with locals who saw the plight of this infamous bird, cars pulled up, photographers took an interest, ornithologists flocked, and before long children were involved in a fight to save the storks.
The next day ‘Polsat’, the largest TV network in the country placed the story of the storks as of national interest and broadcast bulletins inbetween their main news.
This Easter, the real story was ‘White Stork Peril’, the saving of a national bird of distinction.
This Easter, I feel proud to have been part of a national campaign to support these beautiful creatures…..to give them the chance to fulfill their life and have a friutful season, migrating once more, at the end of this summer with their flock.
My thanks goes to all the outside crew at Polsat TV. I appreciate thoroughly their support and interest in the story which affected the country so much.
This weekend Johny and I doubled up as bloggers for this year’s Threshold Festival. Now in its third year, Threshold is a grass roots celebration of emerging talent in the fields of art and music. Johny and I joined the massive team of hard working and dedicated volunteers without whom there would be no Festival.
We dashed from venue to venue and even the horrible endless rain couldn’t dampen our spirits or those of the Festival goers around the Baltic Triangle and the Albert Dock.
We saw some brilliant live music, some fantastic art and great discussion panels. Read all about it on the Thresholds official blog. Links below.
For some brilliant photos from the Festival, check out Threshold’s official Facebook page