Friday, 1 June 2018

Such A Hectic Month!!!!

( you may need a cup of tea for this Behemoth post)   🍵

It had been a busy April with the French family popping in and out and "someone" had a birthday early in the month but on the 5th May this happened 

 We had a little (big) road trip planned starting with a visit to the city of Ypres


 and a stop at the Sanctuary Hill 62 Museum
some of the preserved trenches
 and the Memorial Service - which takes place EVERY day throughout the year
The Menein Gate
The Menein Gate has the names of some 55,000 soldiers that were lost during the First World War

Ypres is a beautiful city and we plan to spend another longer stay there soon

 The Flanders Red Cross were performing the ceremony and they had their Highland Band complete with kilts and bagpipes. A very moving ceremony.

We stayed overnight in the french town of Arras 
 Which has buildings that date back beyond the 1600's .  Arras took more than its fair share of bombing during both the wars but the plans of the original buildings were found and the place was rebuilt using these plans. It still has a medieval fee to it. 
 Breakfast taken in the sqaure
 Then off to the Canadian Memorial at Vimy

starting at the fabulous, fairly new Visitor Centre where they still have some of the tunnels dug under the trenches to enable an attack on the German forces which were only metres away
 The troops were gathered into these tunnels the night before the attack to wait in silence in the dark (no electric light installed then!) but the attack was delayed for another 24 hours so they had to remain there for 36 hours,  standing silent in a foot of water with no facilities and only the rations they carried, and knowing what horror lay before them.

So lets not complain about waiting in the queue at the Post Office shall we? 😠 

 Then up the road to the most beautiful Memorial I have ever seen

 and one of the dozens of cemeterys that are in that part of France
 Back to Arras for dinner
 where the square was somewhat busier

 The following day was spent visiting the Newfoundland Memorial at Beaumont Hamel

And the British Memorial at Thiepval
commemorating 72,000 more ......

 Another beautiful site. Not morbid at all.  Very Peaceful.
I would never say a waste of all of those thousands of lives.  Horrific though the numbers are, I live my happy life because of those men and boys. 

A stop at Lochnagar Crater  where 66000lbs of explosives under the German lines sent debris 1200m into the air 

30ft wide and 70ft deep

On the way back to the hotel we detoured back to the Vimy to see the Memorial lit up

 If you should ever think about traveling in Northern France, make sure that you go to see this.  It was wonderful.

 After our four days in that area we headed off to the southern end of the country to see how the renovations at Baby Sisters French  home have been going on

Afternoon tea at the Tea Cup
as you can see the weather was not nearly so kind in the south 😕

 with proper Yorkshire Tea
just how I like it

The weather was mixed , but the sun came out for our day trip to Carcassonne a city which has been on my bucket list (for many years) since I read Labyrinth by Kate Moss

more food !

It was very busy,  but well worth the trip , and now I am going to re-read the novel.

Then it was the journey home from Lourdes to Stansted - say what you like about Ryan-air - they got both of us back to Blighty for a mere £27!!!  Cheaper than a train ticket to London!
Though we were a tad worried that we may have been sitting on the wing 😏

We arrived back in the UK in time for some of this
Four dozen cakes
And my Coronation Chicken
I swear that this is why I get invited !
ready to head down 'Sarf" for the street party to celebrate the Royal Wedding

Fun with my girls
and a nice walk in Hadleigh Park the following day
where the boys of the family decided it was their turn for some fun

they never grow up !

so, that's up to the 20th - You still with me???

The garden has been going mad whilst we were away
and I haven't looked at my sewing machine since mid April!

But it seems that May is a month for crossing off items on my Bucket List

The National Memorial Arboretum
we arrived at the same time as a couple of busloads
 where I swear I was the youngest visitor 😂

 a lovely sunny day saw us wandering around another stunningly beautiful place

16,000 more names of service men and women who have died in conflict since 1948

The Shot at Dawn memorial

the Naval memorial
It has taken me ages to get here even though it's less than a 2 hour drive to get there.  We will be going back again.

And the sewing?  Well last weekend saw us over at DD's helping out in their garden and provisions were made to keep us going

This week I  DID get some sewing time and the quilt backing was pieced

 the quilt layered and,  after a couple of false starts, quilted and the binding machined on.

So now that I am up to date with all my goings on, I am headed into the garden to start to sew this binding down.

Well done if you have stayed with me to the end.

Time for another Cuppa 🍵