Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Accidental Darlings of West Germany

Bum-Kun Cha. Jurgen Pahl. Friedel Rausch. 

One is a South Korean footballer who made his name as a player in the Bundesliga, and went on to coach his home nation at a World Cup. One is a German goalkeeper who defected from East to West, was banned by FIFA, and retired to manage a restaurant in Paraguay. And one is a defender turned manager who's only claim to fame prior to 1980 was being bitten on the backside by a police dog in a Bundesliga match. So, what do these three gentlemen have in common? They all played pivotal roles in the story of what is surely the standard bearer of flash-in-the-pan, european cup competition success; Eintracht Frankfurt and their 1979/80 UEFA Cup campaign.

Players and staff of Eintracht Frankfurt celebrate the 1980 UEFA Cup success. Photo from here.

It was never on the cards for Eintracht Frankfurt. There were no superstar signings, and no club legend returning to take over the managerial reigns. A glittering youth development programme wasn't coming into fruition, and the club has never been classed as a 'sleeping giant' ready to re-awake with a trophy anytime soon. There was little in the way of momentum building towards success, and there definitely wasn't an easy route smoothed over to the final. There was, however, a small squad of modest talent, built around a couple of veterans, and a few interesting characters.

As the western world bid farewell to flares, and warmly welcomed lycra and neon, Eintracht Frankfurt were a respectable Bundesliga outfit; consistently average, and sometimes flirting with minor success. The treasures of entry level silverware were enjoyed, but they never got to second base. The clubs solitary league championship came back in 1959, yet the mid-seventies did herald two German Cup victories. Furthermore, the late sixties gave the club a very modest taste of glory in Europe. The Coppa delle Alpi is far from the pinnacle of elite continental competition, but along with an Inter-tot0 Cup win, gave the men from Main two european trophies in two years, and a gentle re-introduction to playing in Italy, France, Switzerland, and Austria. Of course, those modest victories weren't the only european pedigree the Super Eagles had going into that 1979/80 campaign. 

That lone and distant 1959 Bundesliga title bought the reward of entrance into what was only the fifth edition of the European Cup, which was won by Real Madrid in each of it's previous four editions. Frankfurt, making their first (and only appearance to date) in the competition, performed admirably throughout that 1959/60 campaign. The undoubted highlight: smashing Glasgow Rangers 12-4 over two legs in the semi-final to book an un-expected spot in the showpiece final, to be played at Hampden Park. Somewhat inevitably, the opposition were to be Real Madrid. After winning an el classico semi-final 6-2 on aggregate, Los Blancos stormed into the final. An attack including Di Stefano and Puskas was always going to bring goals, and the inexperienced Germans were eventually defeated 7-3 in front of a 127,621 crowd. Ironically, the game only went ahead after the German FA insisted upon a written apology from Ferenc Puskas. This following the Hungarian's accusation that some West German players had taken drugs in 1954. 

Somewhat surprisingly, the 1959/60 European Cup also included Wolverhampton Wonderers, who lost 9-2 on aggregate against Barcelona in the quarter-final.

Fast forward to September 19th 1979, and Pittodrie was the unlikely scene of Eintracht Frankfurt's return to europe. Aberdeen, with an impressive spine of Alex McCleish, Gordon Strachan, and Steve Archibald, and equally impressive young manager by the name of (Sir) Alex Ferguson, the opposition. The season would finish with Aberdeen crowned Scottish champions, a first 'non Glasgow winner' in fifteen years. Thankfully for Frankfurt, the Dons were somewhat slow starters that year, and the German club triumphed in the first round with a narrow 2-1 aggregate win. Bum Kun Cha scored in the 1-1 draw in Scotland, and the experienced Bernd Holzenbien struck to secure a 1-0 win in Main.

Friedel Rausch had made a solid start to his first full season in charge. Four wins from six games in the Bundesliga, and the aggregate win over Aberdeen. Appointed in January 1979, Rausch represented quite the gamble. Still shy of his fortieth birthday, and with just one season of first team management under his belt with FC Schalke 04, he had no previous association with the club, and was considered my many a controversial choice. In fact, most German football fans only knew the name 'Friedel Rausch' following a somewhat unsavoury moment in a Schalke 04 v Borussia Dortmund derby in 1969. A typically feisty affair, Rausch was first victim of a horrific challenge, and as the resulting pitch invasion and riot ensued, he was then the victim of a deep bite on the backside from an overly enthusiastic police dog. With no substitutes allowed, Rausch received a bandage and a tetanus shot at half-time, and played on. Apparently, the scar remains today, as does Rausch's calm sense of humour in retelling the tale.

Rausch's efforts to win over some of his doubters as Frankfurt's manager in 1979 weren't helped by the circumstances of his appointment. The previous coach, Otto Knefler, was forced to finish his project earlier than fans, players,  club, and manager would have liked. He sustained serious injuries in a car accident on the way home from a German Cup match, and was forced to retire from the game in September 1978.

As late summer gave way for a chilly autumn, Friedel Rausch didn't have too many doubters left. Eintracht Frankfurt were a heady third in the Bundesliga, and went into the UEFA Cup second round on the back of a 3-2 victory against Bayern Munchen. However, the first leg in Romania against Dinamo Bucharest very nearly meant the end of the road. A 2-0 defeat, and something of a mountain to climb in the second leg. In front of an expectant Waldstadion crowd, Frankfurt needed extra-time, and an inspired Bum-Kun Cha to overcome Dinamo Bucharest 3-0 on the night. The Korean, somewhat aptly nicknamed 'Chaaa Boom' after the ferocity of his shooting power, finally managed to break the deadlock in the seventy-fourth minute. Rausch and his charges were forced to wait till the ninety-first minute for the goal which took the game to extra-time, a strike by the experienced '74 world Cup Winner, Bernd Holzenbien. Bernd Nickel scored the decisive third goal to claim victory in extra time, and set-up a third-round tie against Feyenoord Rotterdam.

By the time the third round came around, Eintracht Frankfurt had managed to sustain third place in the Bundesliga, and thoroughly enjoyed their home advantage in the first leg. Bernd Nickel, Bernd Holzenbien, Helmut Muller, and Bun Kun Cha all scored in a resounding 4-1 victory over Feyenoord. A scoreline which rendered the return leg a non-event. 

Bum-Kun Cha was another outsider in his debut season at the Waldstadion, also winning hearts and praise with his performances. The South Korean had been spotted by Friedel Rausch at the Bangkok Asian Games, and became the first Korean to play in Europe, signing for SV Darmstadt in 1978. After just one game for Darmstadt, and a period of military service in South Korea, Rausch bought Cha to Main shortly after his appointment. And following a goalscoring debut, and three in the following four weeks, Cha was an instant hero. Valued for his attitude and application as much as his goals, Sir Alex Ferguson called him "unstoppable" after his sides defeat in the first round. 

Nearly three months had passed since the 4-2 aggregate victory over Feyenoord, yet Eintracht Frankfurt still found themselves relatively comfortable in the top five of the Bundesliga. Not a lot appeared to have changed in Europe, either. A home draw for the quarter final first leg, and a resounding 4-1 victory. This time though, against little known opposition from Czechoslovakia, Zbrojovka Brno. As with the third round, the second leg consisted of a narrow defeat which was a mere consolation. Brno winning 3-2 with two of their goals coming in the final moments. This gave an aggregate score of 6-4, which somewhat flattered Brno. 

As winter turned to spring, and the Bundesliga and UEFA Cup season entered their business stages, Eintracht Frankfurt gave the impression they might just wobble. Firstly, they'd lost the influential Jurgen Grabowski to injury for the seasons remainder. In a league match against Borussia Monchengladbach, played in between the quarter final legs, Grabowski was on the wrong end of a rather crude challenge by a 19-year-old Lothar Matthaus. Inconsistency and misfortune was also creeping in between the sticks. Injury and form loss to first choice goalkeeper, Klaus Funk, paved the way for the charismatic Jurgen Pahl to stake his claim as number one. Maintaining form domestically and in europe was proving a struggle, as the boys from Main slipped to seventh in the league table.  Hamburg topped the table, closely followed by Bayern Munich, VfB Stuttgart, FC Koln, and Kaiserslauten, which meant there were four of the top five teams balancing domestic and european fixtures.

All in all, there were seven teams from West Germany in European Competition in 1979/80. Hamburg, powered partly by the perm of Kevin Keegan, went all the way to the European Cup final where they were humbled by Nottingham Forest. Fortuna Dussledorf entered the now defunct Cup Winners Cup, and were the only team to be knocked out in the early rounds. While the European Cup was the elite competition for league champions, and the Cup Winners Cup was solely for each nations cup winners, the UEFA Cup was seen by most at the time as the true indicator of a national league's pedigree. If that was indeed true, the Bundesliga was top. All four semi-finalists in the 1979/80 UEFA Cup were West-German; VfB Stuttgart, would play Borussia Monchengladbach, and Bayern Munchen would play Eintracht Frankfurt. Kaiserlauten were the fifth German team in the competition, and were defeated by Bayern in the quarter-finals. 

The semi-final first leg was played on 9th April 1980, days after Eintracht Frankfurt were humiliated at home by bottom placed Hertha BSC, and days before they suffered a 1-0 reverse at the hands of another relegation favourite, MSV Duisberg. The first leg against Bayern didn't go too well either, a 2-0 defeat in Munich, and not much hope for recovering in the second leg. Following the match, and behind the scenes, Friedel Rausch shook hands on an agreement to extend his contract, regardless of how the season panned out.

In the one Bundesliga match played between the semi final legs, Frankfurt managed to record another heavy defeat, this time 3-5 at home to Kaiserslauten, which did much work to cement lowered expectations. Not used to the momentum of success, the Waldstadion crowd were expecting nothing but a graceful exit in the second leg.

Bruno Pezzy, the formidable Austrian defender, gave Frankfurt hope to cling on to in the shape of a 1-0 lead just thirty-one minutes into the second leg. An ever-present for Eintracht Frankfurt in Europe, Pezzey did the unthinkable and put his side 2-0 up on the night in the eighty-seventh minute. A shellshocked Bayern crumbled in extra time, pulling one goal back, and conceding a further three. The Bavarian club may have been sitting pretty on top of the Bundesliga, but the 22nd April and the 5-1 victory belonged to Frankfurt.

A stretched squad, and a focus towards the clubs first European final in twenty years, saw Frankfurt's domestic form inevitably slip after the semi-finals. Just two wins were recorded in the last ten matches of the season, and along with the somewhat erratic form of second choice goalkeeper, Jurgen Pahl, caused an air of caution.

It is often said that goalkeepers have to be slightly mad. It is also often proved that in Germany, this is an unwritten law. 'Mad', it should be noted, is a relative term, and should be used with careful attention, especially in footballing circles. Jurgen Pahl first made a name for himself as a confident goalkeeper for the East Germany under 21 team. Playing a match in 1976, Pahl and close friend (and later Eintracht Frankfurt teammate) Norbert Nachtweih, escaped the team hotel. Defecting to West Germany their aim, and a one year FIFA ban the result of their success. Pahl took pride in being different, and maintained a keen interest in everything from sociology to politics, and property development to gambling. This goes someway to explaining his relatively paltry one hundred and fifty two club appearances over the course of his ten year stay in Frankfurt. In the spring and early summer of 1980, though, Pahl was a consistent presence. 

The luxury of a showpiece end of season final wasn't something afforded to teams in 1980. Instead, the final was a two-legged affair. Borussia Monchengladbach would host the first leg having beat VfB Stuttgart in the other semi-final. Though the Borussia team were undoubtedly in decline from their successful mid-seventies, they still posed a threat. Added spice came in the form of bad blood, quite literally. The young Lothar Matthaus, responsible for ending the season (and career) of Grabowski earlier in the season, still hadn't been forgiven. Revenge was sought. Incidentally, that sense of injustice was long-lasting in Frankfurt, as in 2001 when Lothar Matthaus applied for the vacant managers position, only fans protests regarding the Grabowski challenge stopped Lothar from being appointed as Head Coach of Eintracht Frankfurt.

Lothar Matthaus fuelled the fire with an instrumental performance in the first leg of the final on 7th May. Away from home, Frankfurt were leading 2-1 with fifteen minutes remaining, goals coming from Holzenbien and Krager. Matthaus had assisted Christian Kullik for Borussia's first goal, and then himself equalised in the seventy-seventh minute. Kullik won the game for the home side with two minutes remaining. A 3-2 defeat, but two valuable away goals for Friedel Rausch and his charges.

Exactly two weeks later, on the 21st May, Frankfurt lined up for the second leg. As expected, it was a nail-biter. A cagey first half saw Eintracht Frankfurt as the better side, but wasteful in front of goal. Borussia Monchengladbach were the stronger team in the second half, yet half-chances on the counter attack was as good as it got. Enter a stroke of genius or a mad gamble by Friedel Rausch. With thirteen minutes remaining, and Frankfurt so near yet so far, Rausch sent on the rarely used substitute, Fred Schaub. Ordinarily, Schaub shoudln't have been available for selection. Having been sent-off in a reserve match in April, the nineteen-year-old received an eight week ban. However, for the fourth time that season, Eintracht Frankfurt asked the DfB for the ban to be removed, and for the fourth time, they agreed. So, in-front of a packed Waldstadion, and with six minutes of the 1980 UEFA Cup Final remaining, the ball fell to Schaub on his weaker left-foot, and he promptly smashed the ball into the net. The admirable Bum-Kun Cha was instrumental in the winning goal, slipping his marker to set-up Schaub. The final score 1-0 on the night, 3-3 on aggregate, and Eintracht Frankfurt won by away goals.

Fred Schaub after scoring the goal to clinch victory. Photo from here.

For Borussia Monchengladbach, the 1980 final spelled the end of an era. The form and the faces behind the most successful decade in the club's history faded away. For Eintracht Frankfurt, sadly it wasn't too dis-similar. Manager Friedel Rausch decided not to prolong his stay in Main, and departed just weeks later to manage Fenerbache in Turkey. Young goalscoring hero, Fred Schaub, never quite lived up to expectations, and left the club early the following season. Tragically, Schaub died aged forty-two in an autobahn accident. His son, Louis, is a promising part of Rapid Vienna's current side who narrowly missed out on this years Champions League group stage. Bun-Kun Cha remained at Frankfurt till 1983 when he signed for Bayer Leverkusen. He managed to add another European title to his honours list, and continued to win friends and admirers. Cha became the record goalscorer for the South Korea national team, and coached his home country at the France 1998 World Cup. As for Jurgen Pahl, he stayed at Eintracht Frankfurt until 1987. A brief spell playing in Turkey followed, and a move to Paraguay in 1995 followed that. Pahl remains in South America where he's been a football coach, academy director, hotel manger, and is currently a restauranteur. 

As competition winners, Frankfurt did qualify for the 1980/81 UEFA Cup, but were dumped out on away goals by FC Sochaux in the third round. Ten of the eleven players remained, but the success did not.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Goal Net Differentiation

Remember when footballers didn't all resemble their pixelated, athletic, and robotic computer game counterparts? Me too. I remember the comforting baldness of Alan Cork. Offset by a humbling grey beard, he was the type of player who connected the team and the supporter. The same applies to the ageing Ian Rush and his lingering moustache. Neville Southall is another. His ample frame and heartwarmingly beleaguered expression endeared him to thousands, and rarely stopped him from being a top, top goalkeeper. 

Neil Ruddock, Atilo Lombardo, Paolo Di Canio, Roy Keane, Matt Le Tissier, Eric Cantona, and Jimmy Bullard, the list misses out many, but highlights players who were a bit different. Some were crazy, some were daft, some had ability and personality of another planet, but none were chiselled robots of a defined type. As players have conformed, for good and bad, to a primed, athletic, and carbon-copied appearance, so too have goal nets. 

Now, i'm sure the more sane of you haven't thought about goal nets, you might not even have a top five. However, I for one have had enough of these boringly rigid 'box' nets used in modern day professional football. Mine was a childhood like many others before and since. It was shared with about ten 'regular's, and supplemented by a rotating group of four or five 'extras'. We played football in the park in our free time. One particularly hazy summers day, we managed to break in to the school sports stores. Our only steal, a crisp white goalnet. After inadvertently setting up a sequence of events which resulted in the ruining of several camping trips, we added pegs and string. Armed with grandads supply of electrical tape, we have the net attached to goalposts, and the kick-a-bout would be halted every ten minutes to redesign the goalnet. We were way ahead of our time. We had box nets supported by nearby trees, we had intricate string systems, tight net styles which would spring the ball back instantly, and saggy net styles which would caress the ball and keep it snuggled in the back of the proverbial onion bag.

Watching Match of the Day last weekend made me realise each and every goal net in the Premiership is exactly the same. That is a shame. With all this conformity and lack of characters in the modern game, we need to celebrate difference more than ever. Therefore, in no particular order, here are some bloody brilliant football nets from times sadly passed...

San Siro, Milan, Italy, 1990...

Italy got it all right while hosting the world cup. OK, let rose tinted glasses blur and diminish all the corruption and mis-spent public funding prior to the tournament. They got most of it right; pure football, gorgeous weather, and glamorous cities. A cracking theme tune, and idyllic surroundings of mountains, beaches, and glamorous cities, are a few of the more obvious successes. Goal netting was a less obvious yet equally charming success. In particular, these gems being used at the San Siro. Tight and taught at the sides, baggy and expansive at the back, and yet they still maintained that spring-like quality of a tighter net. They made every goal scored look just that little bit better than it actually was.

Cameroon stun Argentina in 1990. Image found: here

Old Wembley, London, England, 1978...

The grand old dame of football's diverse history, in so many ways. And with the goal nets to match. These things lasted from the stadiums opening till Euro 96, and witnessed many a defining moment for players, managers, teams, and tournaments. Their curvaceous stanchion were in line with the grand old dame demeanour, and the sheer space they occupied made that Wembley pitch look and feel just that bit bigger. 

Old Wembley in 1987. Class. Image from: here

Estadio Monumental, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1978...

David Ginola was a flair player. He was skilful aswell as sexy. One of his trademarks, later copied by many others including Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo, was to wear either copious amounts of sock tape, or white ankle socks over the top of his team socks. This didn't do much in practical terms, yet it did lend Ginola a heightened air of flair in the form of a white flash as he skipped past a defender. In Argentina in the late seventies, they did the reverse with their goalposts. Small black strips of paint could be found at the bottom of each post. This, again, didn't do anything in practical terms, yet it lent an air of the exotic. Something different, something aesthetically pleasing and not fully comprehendible. Set against a taught old-school net, with discreet linear stanchions, the result was spectacular.

Image from: here

Stadio Delle Alpi, Turin, Italy, 2003...

We return to Italy, Turin and the home of Juventus, for a creative take on the box-style nets. Many an imaginative groundsman flirted with hexagonal stitching in Italy, and none came out better than the Stadio Delle Alpi. The material used was softer, and more elastic than the standard nylon-based string, so it had a tendency to absorb goals, and hold the ball upon entry. Plus, there was a wonderful explosion and expanse from a more powerful strike. If I could have had any nets at the park, it would have been these ones.

Portman Road, Ipswich, England, 1995...

Ipswich Town Football Club seems to me an awfully agreeable club. Perhaps it's the out of harms way location of East Anglia, or perhaps it's the charm of Sir Bobby Robson, football's truest gentleman. Perhaps though, it's all down to those mad blue nets of 1995/96. They resembled a tent designed by two lower school boys, and therefore didn't quite make any sense. Their inclusion here merited simply for their individuality.

Crazy. And blue. Image found: here

Elland Road, Leeds, England, 1995...

Some goal nets have their qualities defined by their aesthetic value, some by an epic match, and others simply by an epic goal. The thin stanchions, small squared patterning, and expansive nets at Elland Road were defined by Tony Yeboahs absolute honker-stonker of a volley against Liverpool. The narrowed white stanchions added an air of menace to Elland Road in the mid-nineties, not that Elland Road or indeed Yeboah's strike needed it. As the ball crashed in off the cross-bar, instead of laying to res in the netting, it seemed to be further digested just as aggressively. Power house.

Image found: here

Giants Stadium, New Jersey, USA, 1994...

God Bless America! Bestowed with the honour of hosting the 15th FIFA World Cup, there were skeptics and questions a-plenty directed at the United States. No-one needed to worry, though. Despite a percieved lack of interest in the sport, World Cup viewing figures and average attendance records were set throughout that hot summer of '94, and they still stand today. No small achievement considering the country was, at the time, without a well established domestic league of their own. Admittedly, all grounds had the same goals and goal nets, and one pair did infamously break, but these were obese goals, capable of comfortably swallowing ball and goalkeeper.

Obese goalnets. Image from: here

Further reading: The History of Goalnets Blog2014 WC Goal Nets.

See, it's not just me.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Mixed Media Self

Who am I? I'm a male Pre-Kindergarten teacher working in an international school. My hairline is receding at an increasing rate. I enjoy cycling, sometimes with the girlfriend and sometimes alone, but I enjoy coffee, cake, and Negroni, more. Italy owns a significant piece of my heart. My beliefs lean towards a simplistic theory that sometimes we're struggling uphill, and sometimes we're blissfully coasting downhill. Never to mind, there's always something worthy at the end. Who are you?

It's both an inevitable question and an obvious choice. 'Who am I, who are you?' The wonderings of the first weeks of school, and our first PYP unit of inquiry here in Pre-Kindergarten. November seems an oddly late time in the school year to be asking introductory questions, but although Dutch weather, dark mornings, the evening intake of red wine, and general tiredness, all point to a pre-Christmas point on the calendar, it's worth remembering that it is only mid-September. School has been in full flow for three weeks, yet I have three months worth of grey hair. Such is the frantic glorification of 'busy' in the international school calendar.

Teachers the world over are annually afforded with the luxury of starting again at the end of each summer. And it is a luxury. The process of deciding which bits to keep from last year, and which to never speak of again, can range from complete reinvention of the self, to the humble omission of that slightly creepy picture book. 

Personally, the gamble of painted self-portraits was on my radar of improvement. In previous years I've lent a helping hand to my four-year-old artists in the shape of a photo-copied facial outline. That came after a particularly startling batch of unique shapes with facial features. Bearing in mind these things adorn the walls till the following June, you'll understand the careful approach. 

At the start of the school year, some of the children are yet to turn four. They are, generally, the mark makers and the scribblers. Some children will be turning five very soon, and they are confident and talented artists in their own right. They're confident with a range of creative tools, and aren't afraid to show it. The range of ability and independence is huge, and challenging. Therefore, reverting to a simple, 'let them be', approach works well. Of course it does. The challenging part, for us teachers, is to draw out that process of self-reflection and introspect, and evidence it... in a meaningful way... and in a way which looks nice on the wall. Mixed media and the blog of Bridgette Guerzon Mills provided wonderful answers and guidance.

Essentially copying her idea, I consoled myself with the notion that there are very few truly original ideas in 2015, and that even though the idea of completing mixed media self-portraits with a Pre-Kindergarten class wouldn't be original, the process would. The children would produce original, unique pieces, and their answers to my questions would also be unique and original. Plus, I Tweeted Bridgette to give her attribution as my shining light, a beacon of motivation in a sea of Pintrest, if you will. 

Anyway, the first layer was a wax crayon drawing of the children's favourite things, or something they like. We had fine and intricate images of a playground full of children, a wonderful caricature of Super Mario, a page of systematic red scribble, and everything in-between. Andre took great pleasure in extending my knowledge and understanding, which explaining that his red anger was in-fact a T5 tornado. "It's the strongest one there is Glenn, be careful". Empty threats aside, the next weave in these mixed media tapestries was water colour paints, naturally. Their favourite colour paint over the top of the crayon drawings, and questions and scribbles from me on why they like that colour.

Last year we bulk ordered hand-held mirrors in several shades of colourful plastic. The intention was a stern, and spur-of-the-moment look at the self. Hard enough as an 'educated' thirty-two year old, yet near impossible for a four-year-old who is just 32mins away from recess. To spark some interest in this gentle peer into the window of their own souls, I put to use some professional development by the lovely Stacey Storyteller, and our brand new Cannon 600D. Having spent just a few moments talking to the children, both in small groups and individually, trying to make them laugh, pull sad and silly faces, favourite faces etc, an eclectic gallery of personal expression soon appeared in the iPhoto library. It was a simple and enjoyable task to print these off, and spend time discussing them with each child. The images were sent home with instructions for the EAL beginners in the group, and those responses, too, provided genuine introspect. 

With all the colour of the paints and pastel crayons, black and white pictures provided an aesthetic contrast, and the children did a sterling job of selecting the one portrait photo that was 'just right'. The careful cutting and sticking was down to me, as was the laminating, which I find therapeutic.

The result, was a genuine look into the self, completed with direct quotes captured at each stage, a batch of unerring photographical portraits, evidence of genuine reflection upon mood and expression, work with two different creative tools for the children, and that's excluding my own development in the area of photography. Furthermore, there were no excruciating ten minute debates with Charlie about the colour of his eyes, or trying to convince Ben that he isn't black.

Enjoy your year, everyone!