Friday, 4 March 2011
A Fun, Fair Future?
In 1986, I had a ride on the monorail at Expo 86, the world's fair in Vancouver.
And on Thursday, March 3rd, 2011, I got a glimpse of the same monorail. Only, this time, it was not Vancouver, but at the Alton Towers theme park in Staffordshire, England. Which leads me to another 'claim to fame', besides being an undefeated egg and spoon race champion. My other claim to fame? Yes, you may have guessed. I have ridden the same monorail in Canada and England.
So, here I was on a bitterly cold early March morning at Alton Towers theme park. On this cold and misty morn, I had driven my son to Alton Towers to attend a rather lengthy interview process. Not exactly thrilled with the idea of sitting in my car for up to three and one half hours, I ventured for a stroll into the sleepy, off-season theme park.
Just outside the entrance, I conversed with one of the employees. This gentleman was very friendly and most informative about the theme park. Whilst we were talking, the monorail glided by. Of course, I couldn't resist saying, 'do you know where the monorail came from?' To which he replied, 'ah yes, it came all the way from Vancouver and I was trained up by the Canadian engineers to maintain it and drive it. That was way back in 1987.' So after a bit more talk about the monorail and the theme park in general, this employee mentioned that he had been at, 'Alton Towers for twenty five years...' To which I replied, 'well, you really should go home, then.' He laughed and I laughed.
Now it was time to go for a wander in the virtually deserted grounds. I had never been in the grounds, before.
I proceeded through the entrance and off in the distance, on that bitterly cold misty morn, I saw this magical view. There before me was the magnificent building known as Alton Towers.
I backed up a little to photograph the towers with the lake in the foreground. The thirty minutes that I spent wandering around in the grounds of this inspiring place, will be forever, a happy memory. As I strolled around, I chatted to a few folks who were getting it ready for the upcoming season. I sensed a pleasant vibe. If you want a bit more information on where I was, would you kindly click on this link, The History of Alton Towers. You will note is more than just a 'funfair', so much more.
Thus, I turned back around and headed back to the entrance. The bitterly cold weather was getting a bit too much. Off to one side was this rather interesting setting. 'Once upon a time...' in a magical, enchanting place, I dreamt that the dreams of a young man, my son, would finally get a job. My son, the victim of a brutal economy where so many of our young find themselves becoming 'a lost generation'.
For two long years, my son has been out of work. He has tried and tried, but to no avail. It breaks my heart to see my lad being so down, feeling so helpless and overwhelmed. He wants to move, live his life, have his own independence. Instead he is 'trapped' living with me, relying on me, and the stress of it all, impacts us both. Yet, no matter what, he will know, that I, as his dad, will support and encourage him until that day finally comes. The day my young man can finally spread his wings and make his statement in that world that lies beyond my front door.
I strolled back to my car and waited for my son's interview to finish. Two and a half hours had elapsed before he finally got back to my car. He was cautiously optimistic that a job may come from all of this. He will be informed within two weeks.
And so we wait, we hope and we maintain that positive focus. To all of those, the young, the old, the disillusioned, my thoughts are with you for a better life. Maybe, just maybe, there is a fun, fair future.