Sunday, 1 July 2012

D of E and the Cranberries


 Well, today is the first of July, and I have had a very busy day training for my Duke of Edinburgh's Award expedition which I will be going on this month. In training we learnt first aid, navigation techniques and how to pack a rucksack properly - although I did remember the rucksack bit from the last expedition I went on!

 I've been on many Duke of Edinburgh's Award (D of E) expeditions - I have achieved the Silver Award and am now working towards my Gold Award. For readers overseas who may not be familiar with this award, it involves doing, on a regular basis across a period of time: voluntary work, a sport or physical activity and a skill. 

 We also have to go on a series of camping expeditions in places like the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales (both very beautiful parts of the world). For the Gold Award we also have to go on a residential course in which we do some sort of volunteering. 

 I really enjoy working towards my D of E, because I get to learn new skills and I have made lots of great friends in the process. And if I achieve my Gold Award it will be presented to me at one of the royal Palaces by either the Duke of Edinburgh (Prince Philip, the Queen's husband) or the Earl of Wessex (Prince Edward, the Queen's youngest son). Which would be absolutely amazing!

 There are many songs which I associate with D of E expeditions for various reasons; usually because I hear them on the minibus on the way there and they become stuck in my head for the whole trip! But sometimes, they are just songs that felt particularly relevant and which I just keep playing again and again in my head to keep me going on the harder days when it rains on us or I'm homesick or everyone's exhausted.

 Days like that can be so hard. But for every moment when you think you are going to give up, there is a moment of magic; reaching the top of a mountain and gazing down at the view below; seeing the sun break through the clouds after the rain; seeing gorgeous baby lambs frolicking; chatting and laughing as a group; wandering through long, waving grass with the wind in your hair; those moments that make it all worthwhile and make you say to yourself; "I am so happy I chose to do this."

 One D of E song for me was Linger by the Cranberries. 

I feel I should tell you that although the full video is worth watching properly when you have time; if you are in a rush you can skip to about thirty five seconds in, which is when the song actually begins.

 I had known this song before, but was reminded of it when it came on the radio in the minibus before what was, if I remember rightly, my very first Silver expedition to the Yorkshire Dales. I love this song - it was on a cassette tape that my family used to play in our car (yes, along with the Cure, for those who read my last blog entry!) when my brother and I were younger.

 The song on the cassette was a live version and Dolores O'Riordan did a lot of working the crowd, shouting, "I wanna hear you!" and whatnot towards the end of the song; something that always amused my brother and me.

 Hearing the song again on the minibus on the way to D of E put a smile on my face, and I was chuffed that I could remember it as it had been ages since I'd last heard it.

 It is a beautiful song, and Dolores O'Riordan has a unique and very lovely voice. This song is also quite unique, I think - unique and haunting and a pleasure to listen to. It is nearly twenty years old; something I cannot believe. It has not lost any of its beauty - I believe that it will always be perfect and precious and quite simply a stunning song.

 I will probably end up writing more about D of E songs over this month - as well as just about songs I love generally. For those of you who don't know, I have challenged myself to blog every day that it is possible to (ie whenever I am at home with Internet access) in July. 

 It will keep the blog full of new content for you to read, and will also be writing practice for me - I love writing and would love to be a full-time writer or author one day in the future.

 Thanks for reading,

 Have a great July,

 Liz x

Song: Linger - The Cranberries - 1993

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