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.


  1. A beautifully written post, through the eyes of worried father concerned about the future of his son, caught on a treadmill of despair in this economic climate, like so many others.

    Alton Towers, is a magical place, of which I've had the pleasure of frequenting many times.

    Here's to your son, spreading his wings and thus making a statement in the world that lies beyond your front door.

  2. Hi Wendy,
    Thank you very much for your kind and thoughtful words.
    This devastating economic climate has had a major impact on so many lives. I have seen the despair, the pain in the eye's of my son. Sadly, there are too many others going through this and its ruthless emotional 'ripple effect'.
    I had no idea just what a magical place, Alton Towers, is. I shall definitely go there again :-) And I can sense just how much that place has meant to you.
    Thank you and may he soon have the freedom and independence, he so craves :-)
    With respect and kind wishes, your way, Gary.

  3. Sending good thoughts from the other side of the pond that the world does become a fun, fair place right now, starting with your son!

  4. Oh my, I'm tearing up again. Sons. I so understand how you feel, Gary. My son is staying with us for a few days while he gets ready to switch paths. All you can do is hope. Pray. Hope some more. The photos are stunning. I feel like I just shared a wonderful experience.

  5. Hi Raining Acorns,
    Thank you so much for your positive thoughts. Your comment is most heartening and I'm grateful.
    Ah to have our world, become a fun, fair place.
    Here's wishing you a most pleasant weekend.
    With respect and kindness, Gary.

  6. Hi Joylene Butler,
    My dear friend, I knew that you would relate to this posting.
    And for all our children, all we can do is hope and pray that their lives will be of peace and joy.
    My thoughts to you, your son and all your loved ones.
    And thank you for liking the photos. I did so hope they might catch the ambience of what I was feeling. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on a day that was truly profound for me.
    I wish you a lovely weekend in beautiful British Columbia.
    With kindness and respect, your way, Gary.

  7. Gary, I'm crossing finger, toes, anything crossable, hoping that your son finds success. Please let us know how things go.

  8. A very poetic and sublimely sad in a way kind of post. I'm sure it is depressing and daunting at times. I really do hope your son gets this job, man. But, with all that said, several things certainly stand out in my mind while reading this post.

    One, you are incredibly supportive and positive, which is the best anyone could be in that situation. And two, Alton Towers from what I can see from you have photographed here looks like a place of magic. It doesn't look like (from the outside) your typical amusement park. At least, not the kind you would find in the U.S. Ours are more apt to be painted up in tacky neon colors with cartoon characters standing near the entrance. Hahaha. Did someone say, "Goofy?"

    I'll check out that site for Alton Towers. I've heard a lot about Alton Towers since I've started suring on the set years ago. It sounds like it's as popular there as Disney World or Universal Studios is here. Question... If your boy does get the job, does it mean you get free season passes? :-)

    Take care, man. Hope it all works out for you both, no matter what happens.

  9. A very nicely written post Gary. I had no idea that there were real and beautiful towers at Alton Towers.
    I hope your lads gets what he wants from life including this job!
    Bazza’s Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

  10. Beautiful post with amazing pictures!

    I've never been to alton towers :O *hides*

    Have a lovely weekend.

  11. Alton towers off season looks positively magical!!!!

    Myself and Charlie have everything from fingers, paws, legs, furrs and eyes crossed ten times over for a wonderful and positive outcome for your boy!!!

    Go Gary's Lad!!

    Hello Penny, you modest and gorgeous internet star!!

    Take care

  12. Hi Gary,
    Things are hard for your son right now, but he has the love and support from yourself that speaks a thousand words. He will gain employment, of that I am sure.
    A wonderful post and photo`s of the `true` Alton Towers, a place I have only visited once and spent a whole afternoon being sick after a trip on the pirate ship! Not very pleasant. My wife paid a visit there when at school and was left behind when the coach returned to Peterborough! The teacher in charge was in a bit of trouble after that!
    Wishing you and your son every happiness,
    Follow me at HEDGELAND TALES

  13. HI G
    thanks you for a moving and well written post I hope your son get his job he is lucky to have a dad who is so supportive..two years with out a job is pretty hard going.. Yeah I feel sorry for the next generation.. but I am sure there is a silver lining somewhere

  14. Greetings,
    As you may well know, I usually try to comment back to each person who so kindly leaves a comment, individually. However, due to knowing what has now transpired with my son's interview, I wish to thank The Botanist, Kelly, bazza, Nas, Old Kitty, John and kerrie, collectively for their kindness, encouragement and support.
    Sadly, my son's interview was unsuccessful. He went very prepared and was the only one who went to the interview, dressed up. My lad looked very smart in a suit and tie. Despite this latest heart breaking setback, my son's attitude has been nothing short of remarkable. He is a qualified engineer and is now going to approach potential employees and offer his skills on a free trial basis. I am very proud of my son's resilience. Indeed, I'm a very proud father and I've told him so.
    So, once again, thank you all, so much. Here's hoping for a positive outcome for all of those poor folks in a similar plight to my son.
    With much respect and kindness, to each and everyone of you, Gary.

  15. A fascinating post, never been there. I do hope your son is successful. Hugs.. x

  16. Hi Carole,
    Thanks for your kind words of support. Alton Towers is a magical place that was a very pleasant surprise.
    This occasion, my son was not successful. Yet, no matter what, with his resilient attitude, his success will be assured.
    Here's wishing you a most enjoyable weekend.
    Hugs your way, Gary x

  17. Ah POOP, Gary! I was hoping a magical opportunity would open up for your son at Alton Towers. You're still a rad dad for being so supportive. And I'm still hoping happy things for him bc if he's rad like you, then he surely deserves a turn of good luck! Happy Weekend, eh?

  18. A lovely post, Klahanie. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for your son.

    I'm also pleasantly surprised to learn more about Alton Towers. I've never been because I'm not into roller coasters but now that I know it's not just a theme park I'll be interested to visit and see those stunning grounds you photographed. Thanks.


  19. Dear Gary,
    I think we have spoken about this before, and I certainly think that the way we are beginning to treat our young people in this country is a disgrace. They are either demonised in the press or face very uncertain futures.
    The other morning on Radio Stoke the CEO of "Brighter Futures" was on, saying that we MUST give some hope to people that they can move on in life and have a pleasant existence, otherwise we will be facing an increase in problems such as drug and alcohol abuse and all the residual issues which arise from those problems. I must say I couldn't have agreed more. Until we give HOPE to people that they can be "better off", not just economically, what is the point for them?
    Anyway, I sincerely hope your son finally achieves what he wants to, and I'm sure your support and positivity is a great help to him. One can only wish that the environment in which we find ourselves was better.
    HOPING you and your son fulfill your respective wishes,
    All the best,

  20. well that is a kick in the bollocks for you both ... I hope the silver lining comes soon:

  21. Hi Y'all,

    I wanted to share my stylish blog award with y'all. Please come by when y'all have a chance and pick it up.

    Hawk aka BrownDog

    P.S. Golly! I had no idea that monorail was gone from Vancouver!

  22. Wow! What a great Dad you are, and a great son you have. I love the eloquence of how you're quietly supporting your son, and how you feel his pain. I have been in his shoes. It will be OK!
    I am your newest follower. Come see me over at Lighten Up! :)

  23. I know how hard it is to get a decent job at the minute, and wish your son all the luck in the world.

  24. Hi y'all, The Reckmonster,
    Hey thanks for your very supportive comment :-)
    My dude has a good attitude. And the dude will know that, despite the latest setback, some better opportunity lies just around the corner :-) I will do my utmost to supply him with a positive environment.
    Thank you so much for your positive wishes for my son. And here's to all those in a similar situation, that soon their lives will turn around :-)
    Reck, you Rock eh!! Which reminds me, fairly soon, I shall bestowing a really neato n' stuff award on y'all :-)
    Kind wishes to you, Gary :-)

  25. Hi Jai Joshi,
    Thank you very much for your kind wishes for my son :-)
    I was pleasantly surprised at just what a beautifully stunning place, Alton Towers, truly is. Indeed, it caters to all tastes and that's a very nice balance.
    Peaceful wishes, your way, Gary :-)

  26. Dear David,
    Thank you for your thoughtful and most informative comment.
    Yes, we have spoken about the worrying plight that is causing so much heartache and disillusionment for our youth. My friend, what you allude too, is spot on. The way the youth are being treated, being stigmatised, is an absolute, intolerable disgrace. I know how badly and disrespectfully my son has been treated at the Job Centre. I may go back over the way him and others have been treated by those who should show care, in a future posting.
    It's encouraging to know that the CEO of 'Brighter Futures' has made such a statement. In essence, our youth, need such hope and look forward to a more positive environment where there is less temptation to end up in the negative downward spiral of drug addiction etc.
    David, I, as you know will continue to maintain my support for my son, no matter what. I know that we both want to move on with our lives. Here's hoping that our youth will realise a brighter future.
    Thanks David and talk to you soon.
    With much respect and positive wishes, your way, Gary.

  27. Hi kerrie,
    For sure, a right kick in the dangly bits! It's a good thing that we are both wearing a 'jockstrap':-)
    Thanks again for your follow up comment and your very kind support. It's very much appreciated.
    May you have a peaceful and positive week.
    In kindness, Gary :-)

  28. Hi browndogcbr,
    Why thank y'all for the lil' ol' stylish blog award :-) I shall be getting my lil' ol' butt over to your awesome site, real soon. Thank you.
    Yes indeedy do, the Vancouver monorail got shipped over to Alton Towers in England, way back in 1987.
    May you have a really good week!
    In kindness and respect, Gary :-)

  29. Hi Dawn,
    Thank you so much for your very thoughtful words. And thank you for your empathetic words of reassurance. I am most grateful to you.
    I'm most flattered and honoured that you have linked into my blog and I have now linked into yours.
    Peaceful and positive wishes, your way, Gary :-)

  30. Hi Masked Friend,
    My good friend, of course I know you can very much relate to such a situation.
    I am most grateful for your supportive wishes for my son.
    May you have peace and may you continue to embrace the power and the therapy that is the written word.
    In peace, respect and kindness, your way, Gary :-)

  31. Gary, I really love the way you write, and with your beautiful photos, you assisted me in making a mental 'transference' to this lovely place. I literally could see myself standing at the base of the water's edge, gazing upon the fairytale 'castle', surrounded by the quiet serenity of the encircled landscape, breathing in all the beauty of it.....aahh....I love England. Now regarding your son, I will be hoping that your son can view that trip as a memorable one, when he learns he has a job in such a enchanting location. Thank you for the memories my friend. Later.....

  32. Hi Gary,
    As you may have heard, I'm recovering from my sun coma. Since I've been away I see that you have been quite prolific! So this is a super cool story. One of my favorite things to"play around" with, is objects moving through history. There's magic afoot when you get to personally experience an object moving in space and time. You've tickled my imagination with your story, and I'm crossing my fingers for your son. Perseverance usually pays off. I'm glad you're there for your son. You both have a fighting spirit, and a bit of magic in your souls.

  33. Greetings The Manic Chef,
    Thank you for such lovely compliments. Your word 'transference' perfectly describes what I'm trying to convey. I try to connect and hopefully immerse whoever is kind enough to read my postings, into the ambience I am trying to create.
    Your description of what you felt is superbly and magically vivid. Thank you :-) And there is something most enchanting about this 'green and pleasant land'.
    Sadly, that job did not come to fruition. However, with his determination and my support, I have no doubt that all, will be just fine.
    Thank you, my friend. I recall spending a wonderful day at the site of Expo 67 :-)
    Cheers and take care eh.
    In kindness, Gary :-)

  34. Hi Rebecca,
    I hope that you are recovering, nicely :-)
    I've not been too prolific. Luckily, Penny has taken over some of the postings so I can take a break :-)
    Wow, what you describe sounds like something out of 'Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure'. Like, totally awesome! :-)
    Thank you so much for your kind comments of support for my son. I know his resilience and my continued encouragement will make his realisation of gainful employment, become the reality he so truly wants and needs. Thanks again, Rebecca.
    Peaceful and magical wishes, your way, Gary :-)

  35. It looks like a wonderful place.

    I hope that your son gets the job. Do let us know! :-)

  36. I think I left a comment here yesterday but it didn't come up.

    You should indeed be proud of your son, in the words of Rudyard Kipling,

    "If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting..."

    He is a man
    All the very best to you and your loved ones

  37. I'm so sorry to learn that your son didn't get the job, Gary. It was so good of you to accompany him and gave him all the support and encouragement. I hope he'll get a job soon and will be a successful man in the future. He's lucky to have you as a father Gary.

    Alton Tower looks like a great place - should be on my itinerary when I visit England next.

    Take care my friend.

  38. Hi Misha,
    It is a very magical and on that morning, a rather haunting looking place.
    Sadly, like I noted in a previous comment, my son was unsuccessful in getting the job.
    Happy writing and blog networking, your way, Gary :-)

  39. Hi Nas,
    Your comment showed up in my email account, yesterday, and then it vanished.
    I very much appreciate you trying again and also, thus, leaving a second comment on this posting :-)
    And yes, thank you for the wise words by Rudyard Kipling. Who, incidentally, was named after 'Rudyard Lake', which is only a thirty minute stroll from where we live :-)
    I am, indeed, very proud of my son's ongoing determination and positivity in what has been a most traumatic and heart breaking time.
    And all the very best to you and your loved ones.
    With respect and kind wishes, Gary.

  40. Hi Grandpa,
    Thank you for your supportive words.
    I've every confidence to believe that soon his life will turn around for the better. He knows that he will always have the safe and positive environment that I try to provide. I'm just staying as optimistic as I can that his realisation of his dreams and aspirations, will soon come to fruition.
    Alton Towers is a lovely place and does, most certainly, cater to all tastes. A very nice balance. I do so hope you can make it there :-)
    Thank you, my friend.
    Peaceful and positive wishes, Gary.

  41. Dearest Gary,
    I enjoyed reading your post, it brought back memories of some wonderful family days at Alton Towers with my two sons and two step daughters. Whilst I am not keen on the rides, I have enjoyed listening to the kids excited screams as they seemed to defy gravity on what I can only describe as the vomit defying roller coaster rides. Having no fear my kids raced from one ride to the next with sparkling eyes and grins which stretched from ear to ear. Truly a joy for any parent is to see their children having fun.
    Which brings me to your own son. I am so sorry that he was unsuccessful in gaining employment. I know how worrying it is to see your boy getting knocked down time after time. It can be soul destroying for you both. I have been in this situation with my youngest son and it cuts very deeply to watch them taking rejection after rejection.
    It is to his credit that your son keeps getting up from the knocks and trying again and again. All we can do as parents is to love and support them and to try and build their self belief.

    You do a great job Gary, and i send love and strength to you and your son and hope for a brighter future on the horizon.

    In love, Julie. XXX

  42. I have so much hope for your son. I will keep him in my thoughts. This failed economy hits the young the hardest as older more experienced people are willing to take the "starter" positions. The pictures of Alton Towers are spectacular.

  43. Dear Julie,
    Thank you so much for your kind and heartfelt comment. I am truly grateful.
    Very glad to know that this posting brought back some wonderful family memories of your visits to Alton Towers. And your vivid descriptions of what you experienced is a delight to read.
    Of course, you know of this ongoing harrowing tale of sadness, despair and frustration. Indeed, I know you empathise with such a plight. Yes, all we can do is be there for them, encourage and support them. The key is that I stay positive and know that soon, all will be okay and he can get on with his life and thus, get on with mine.
    His continued resilience through this heart breaking time, has made me very proud of him.
    Thanks, once again, for your kindness, concern and support. Here's to all who find themselves in such situations, a brighter, happier future.
    Much love to the both of you and congratulations are in order for the both of you :-)
    With respect and peaceful wishes, your way, Gary xx

  44. Hi lifeshighway,
    I am most appreciative of you and your very kind words. It means an awful lot.
    It is a terrible time, especially for the young. My son, who is a qualified engineer, has been unable to even get a 'starter' job.
    Will keep a positive focus that life will soon turn around for my son and all those poor young folks, who are in a similar plight.
    Thank you for liking the photos. Alton Towers is a magical place.
    With respect and gratitude, your way, Gary :-)

  45. Thanks for sharing the beautiful post and the wonderful pictures Gary. Your son is in my prayers...I keep both of you in my thoughts and I hope something wonderful will happen for him soon. :)

  46. Hi Sharon,
    You're welcome and I'm very pleased you liked the photos.
    Your kindness and thoughts for my son and I, are very much appreciated. I shall continue to stay positive for him and all of those unfortunate souls who are going through such awful economic times.
    Much obliged to you, Sharon :-)
    Peaceful and positive wishes, your way, Gary.

  47. Congratulations on your latest and much deserved award. You will soon have to start a new blog to contain all your awards. Am I jealous? Of course! I am considering starting a Count Sneaky Award for Bloogers. A Blooger is a bloger who blogs interesting, original, or jackwagon material . Or it could be just a blog I dislike. I dunno.

  48. Hi Count Sneaky,
    Thank you, my friend, for the congratulations on my latest award. I'm seriously surprised to have gotten any awards. No need to be jealous of me. My blog is just over four years old and I suppose someone along the line would have, in a moment of weakness, bestowed an award upon my most unworthy blog :-)
    I like your idea for starting up your very own award. I've known a few 'bloogers' in my time :-)
    Thank you for your comment. Not on the correct posting, but greatly appreciated, nonetheless :-)
    May you and your loved ones have a peaceful weekend, Henry.
    With respect and kind wishes, Gary.

  49. What a great father & a great quality!!
    My thoughts are with you & your son to pull through this stressful time.
    Magical photos & places as well.

  50. Hi LilPixi,
    I very much appreciate your kind words. Thank you:-)
    We are staying firmly focused on a positive future and I'm hoping that a job opportunity, starting this coming Monday, will turn into something significant.
    Alton Towers is a magical place and I like to think the photos captured the ambience.
    In peace and respectful wishes, your way, Gary :-)

  51. Undefeated egg and spoon champion? I think I learn something new about you each time I'm here.

    Your photos are gorgeous, and your concerns and hopes for your son brought tears to my eyes. We all hope for wonderful things for our children, and it's so difficult to watch when they're struggling. You sound like a great, supportive dad.

    Many hugs and prayers sent your way!

    1. Dear Lynda,

      My human and I thank you so much for taking the time to comment on this archived pawsting.

      Gary never lost and egg and spoon race. He tells me about it all the time! :)

      Thank you for liking my human dad's photos. His son, my brother, Tristan, went through such difficult times. I know my human dad has been a constant source of encouragement to Tristan. You know of love for human children. It's within the ambience of your words.

      Your hugs and prayers are warmly received, dear human.

      In peace and pawsitivity,

      Penny the Jack Russell dog.


I do try to comment back to each commenter individually. However, I might have to shorten my replies or give a group thank you. That way, I can spend more time commenting on your blogs. Thank you and peace, my friend.