Happy January 1 everyone! I am considerably behind on my postings. I have been having a lovely time with having my Mum here but I am permanently tired so blogging (other than checking out everybody else's) has been very low on my list.
Did everyone have a good New Years and Christmas? It is already beginning to seem a dim memory, don't you think? We did have fun last night, first of all with a chinese meal with our friends and then seeing the New Year in, in the company of the TV. My DH and I had a bit of fun trying to photograph the fireworks in London and I am not displeased with the results. I am hoping to have a play in Photoshop a la Maggie Grey.
Thank you everyone who has left messages or emailed me. I have been blogging for such a short time but I have made so many inspirational new friends and I'm looking forward to sharing this creative journey with you all in 2008.
My mum and I were able to enjoy our day out on Sunday. It was by way of being a mystery coach trip and our first port of call was Byrkley Garden Centre near Burton on Trent. That probably sounds a bit dull but actually it was a good place to potter about for a while and get a good lunch. The added bonus was the Craft department which we just had to investigate. What was that? Me? Buy something? I might have! ;))
Our second stop of the day was a few miles further up the road at the National Memorial Arboretum. This location has been in the news in the UK recently as the Queen dedicated a memorial to men and women of the armed services who have been killed while on active duty since 1948. The NMA has been open for several years but the circular Memorial wall is a recent addition and the mention of it in the Queen's Christmas Day Speech had increased the number of daily visitors from 80 to over 1000!
Maybe surprisingly, this is not a sombre place. The site is spread over many acres and there are many memorials to individual regiments. The main memorial set up on its mound is very moving with each person who has been lost being named individually, carved in the stone in the year in which they died. The centrepiece to the memorial is two sculptures by Ian Rank-Broadley. These sculptures are exquisitely powerful. The figures are so strong and realistic that you expect them to move and they almost breathe the emotion of the scene.
The gap in the stone which you can see with the figure pointing through it allows the sun (assuming it is shining) to shine through the gap at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month and fall across the interior of the memorial. We did not have all that long to explore the memorial but I was particularly moved by the number of names of personnel who had died or been killed in the early 1950's and most particularly in the year I was born, 1952.
We are hoping to go back to this memorable place for a longer visit in the spring. The trees are all still quite young but you can already see the beauty of the place. It is about a 45 minute run from where we live, so virtually on the doorstep.