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High Cross Oasis

May 2009

It was a blessed oasis. Champagne for the spirits.

Escaping the relentless chatter about expenses,  I visited High Cross School in the heart of Newport West. I was greeted by the class council officers in Welsh. Then, shock, amazement, on the stairs going up to the classroom, they sang the Irish National Anthem to me - in Irish. They do not do that at Croke Park.

High Cross edited

The class have a young teacher from Waterford. He  has given them a tasty accomplishment that will be a sesame to Irish company for the rest of their lives. One ten year girl explained that she was asked to sing it several times in an Irish Bar. 'In Newport?' I queried. 'No, in Mexico' she explained. Of course.

A few children asked me whether I was nervous speaking in public and what mistakes I had made. As always, I assured them that only boring speakers are not nervous. They do not worry about what they say. Being nervous forces careful preparation. That builds confidence. Resigning from the frontbench as spokesperson on pensions in 1990 was my greatest mistake.

The children were proud of Newport's Tredegar Park and the Transporter Bridge and disdainful of litterers and graphitti artists. They were a delight, polite, curious and inventive. A great morning. 

Diolch plant ac athrawon, Ysgol Gynradd High Cross.