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Showing posts from January, 2015

Auschwitz: 70 Years On

I made a fascinating visit to the twin death camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau back in late 2013 on a trip to Poland. Situated around 40 miles from Krakow in the town of Oswiecim, it was a place that defied imagination.

The sheer scale of the horrors perpetrated across the two camps is hard to take in; the millions involved, the conditions, the calculated cruelty, the distances people - mainly, but not exclusively Jews - were forced to travel from their homes where the Nazis had taken control, many conned into thinking they were making a new start in a better place. 

Auschwitz - with its displays of shoes, prosthetic limbs, suitcases and hair taken from the newly arrived inmates - was bad enough. The haunting black and white images of the prisoners in their regulation striped uniforms - with their arrival dates meticulously recorded and the date of their death showing how short their time there usually was - spoke of untold horrors, cruelty and neglect.

However, the extent of Birkenau, 3 km or…

On Reaching The Big Six-Oh....

I turned sixty the other day. 

Don't really feel any different, although the fact that a chesty cold has affected me for most of the time is may be a sign of things to come. But....

I haven't swapped that pint of hop-forward bitter for a half of dark mild. Or worse, packed in the pub for beer at home.

I haven't stopped listening to new bands and new music in favour of the sounds of the fifties and sixties(not that there isn't some great music from those times).

I haven't cut back on the hot curries in favour of meat and two veg.

I haven't stopped going to live football and settled for watching what's on TV.

No, apart from now qualifying for free prescriptions, purchasing a Senior Railcard, oh, and being invited by the NHS for screening for bowel cancer, I haven't really noticed any real change since reaching this milestone.

I'd already knocked the late nights on the head, have been known to use a hot bottle when the nights get cold, and started tuning in t…