Sunday, 10 November 2013

The National Memorial Arboertum...

We would have loved to be at the National Memorial Arboretum today but two of the routes up into Birmingham are closed for much needed winter repairs from tomorrow morning. We did however visit a short while ago when we were stopped in Alrewas for a couple of days. When we had let a couple of boaters who we had met in Mercia Marina know we hoped to visit when passing through, they had said it was quite a long way from the canal and advised getting a bus. I hadn't really looked on the map but before arriving in Alrewas we had decided we'd get the bikes out if it looked too far. As it happened it was roughly a mile away and the only obstacle was crossing a busy dual carriageway.

We chose a morning that had been forecast as changeable but as we were there quite early we missed all the bad weather. I would have loved to see the shaft of sunlight (weather permitting) play through the memorials outer wall and through to the straight inner wall with its gap designed as an opening pair of doors. Of course this is designed to coordinate with the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. No doubt there will still be a fair few people there tomorrow, but as it is a Monday morning there shouldn't be the crowds and parades that would have filled the memorial hill and approach that there would have been this morning. I even took my proper camera so the pics should be bit better than my usual camera phone ones on my bit of the blog.

Names on all the poppies (as well as the trees growing in the Arboretum) brought the message home.

One of several fantastic memorial sculptures, this one in memory of the R.A.F.

The R.N.L.I. was one of my favorites, partly because a lot of my friends involvement when I was growing up in West Wales and partly because we used to live just down the road from their head quarters in Poole (Jess even did her school work experience there). The layout really captured the coast with groynes and dune grasses.

The central memorial taken from the visitor centre.

And from the other side close to the river Tame

In the middle of the wall of names - the sad thing is the amount of spare room for more. One of the more recent ones being Jon Egging a Red Arrows pilot who died following the  Bournemouth Airshow

The experience really was quite a remarkable one. The site is well laid out and not too much like a 'memorial theme park'. The facilities were enough to make at least half a day of it in the nice weather.

From our mooring the quickest route was up the highstreet, across the dual carriageway and over the railway past a rather cute looking signal house.

Today we went back into Penkridge village to pay our respects along with most of the local population.

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