Tag Archives: exchange programmes



On the road to Broadstairs…watercolour/gouache

I am feeling a great sense of sadness today…about the state of our world.

Sadness because I can remember a time when there was hope for the future. A time of renewed thinking when the powers that be recognised they couldn’t risk another world war – that peace had to be maintained at all costs.

I was born in January 1946, less than one year after the Second World War had finished. So in essence a time when the world had experienced the horrors of two world wars leaving Europe and the world in a state of devastation the likes of which we hoped we would never see again.

In this vignette it is 1960 – I am fourteen years old and am playing on the beach at Viking Bay Broadstairs with children from other European countries. There is a sense of joy and camaraderie amongst us and a desire to find out about our different cultures and ways of living. Some of us are pen pals and would soon be involved in exchange programmes where we would stay in one another’s homes.

In this picture I am ten years old enjoying the beach at Broadstairs.

In short, after the horrors and division of WW2, the young people of Europe were coming together, recognising the many ways that they were united rather than divided.

I could write much more about the Treaties that have been made since WW2, or the terrible suffering that has been experienced because of war, but this is a vignette about my memory as a young child and the leap between that moment on the beach at Broadstairs (a moment of great hope) and where we find ourselves today!

I visited Broadstairs four yeas ago with my childhood friends, Mick and Gail and although the town has changed – Viking Bay looks exactly the same as it did when I was a child…which is reassuring.

quick watercolour of my childhood friend Gail

Gail, Mick and I are now all in our seventies….and recognise how quickly the time has flown by …..let’s not forget so quickly what can happen when power-hungry humans take hold of the reigns.

Four years ago on the bandstand at Broadstairs….I played on that same bandstand when I was a child.

We are now living in a very different world – one governed by, in many cases mad men, and of course the speed and power of technology. None of us know what the actual truth is anymore…..instead we must trust in ourselves and the decency of most of humanity rather than what we read in the news.

In 2000 the European Union adopted the motto ‘IN VARIETATE CONCORDIA’ meaning UNITED IN DIVERSITY. Regardless of political leanings…I feel that this is a good Motto to live by.