mmm, writing this a couple of days late but did have the word in mind on Sunday and should have a few pictures to illustrate..we had a nice day that day really, 1st July ..we left our lovely Holiday Inn in Lille and headed for Arras where I had read of a monument to the lost men of the Battle of the Somme. Colin is an avid watcher of most things wartime and I also wanted to see one of the cemeteries for myself.
When we arrived the road was cordoned off as there was a music festival close by, so as we walked up the road, the oldest swingers in Arras, it was about the same time that Kate was queueing for T4 on the Beach at wet (grumpy?) Weston-super-Mare!
..one of twelve or more lstings of names
Well the Memorial was huge, listing the names of almost 36,000 men who lost their lives in 1916/7 at Arras. It looked as if it had been recently cleaned and I wondered how many more cleanings the names would survive as some were fading almost into the stone..Panel after panel of names, so poignant, so similar a feeling to the Vietnam memorial we visited in Washington years ago, every name a son.
..the upkeep of the memorial and the cemetery behind is fantastic and this was a fairly small one I understand.. I have included this written panel as it details the events at Arras and the unbelievable numbers of men lost... the life expectancy of a pilot in 'bloody' April 1917 fell from three weeks to 17 and a half hours..
So... no reason to be grumpy in our 21st century comfort , given a nudge as to the lives lived almost a hundred years ago..
..so we headed north to Calais and our ferry home. Sadly we had a two hour wait and then a cold ferry with minimal services available (we had to be loaded as freight being a large van and there were no tourist facilities open.. )..
.. the view to Dover wasn't very happy and then the drive to Sevenoaks for a lacklustre hotel doesn't take long to feel a grump coming on.. and when internet costs at £16 a day (vs free in the same brand hotel across the Channel) and I can't get blogging..bah humbug..