Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"Say Cheese, please.....EDAM Cheese, that is!"

A delightful interlude on our trip out into the Dutch countryside was a walk through the beautiful little town of Edam.

That's right, Edam, of EDAM CHEESE fame.

This little town is well worth a visit, not only for the cheese, but also for the unique streetscapes, interesting buildings, and 'canals at the bottom of the gardens' much do I want one at the bottom of my garden!

Canal complete with loch gates.

Outdoor least in the summer time.

Buildings with 'stepped' facade date from 16th Century.

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Slight Deviation

I was recently ordered by my blog friend, Kerri, to get myself and my camera outside into the Canberra winter and photograph whatever was in my garden. So, madam, your wish is my command.......and here 'tis.
However, unlike Kerri, I don't know the botanical names of everything.....or else I'm too lazy to go and find


Hop Bush


Pink Correa

3 Euphorbias


Pink Rosemary

White Correa

White Osterspermum





Perennial Wallflower

Deciduous Dogwood

White Westringia


Why can't the Acanthus look this good in summer?

Helibores and white violets

At least Richard has been busy. This whole bed is full of lettuce seedlings and seeds. Anyone for salad....lots of it?

Broad beans......I'm sure they are in there somewhere!

Parsley gone mad!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Tyne Cot - a Day of Remembrance

A visit to Tyne Cot Cemetery is an emotionally draining yet awe-inspiring experience.

Between Broodseinde and Passandale (Passchendaele), Belgium, is Tyne Cot, the largest British and Commonwealth war cemetery in the world. Here are 11,953 headstones of men killed, or who died of wounds, in the defence of Ieper (Ypres) between 1914 and 1918.

They died especially during the months of that epic struggle known as the ‘Flanders Offensive’ of 1917 when the British and French tried to roll back the German positions along these low–lying ridges and break through beyond them towards the Channel coast.

At the back of the cemetery is the long wall of the Tyne Cot Memorial. It carries the names of 34,863 British Commonwealth soldiers who have ‘no known grave’, men who died between 15 August 1917 and the end of the war. They represent the ‘overspill’ from the Menin Gate when it was realised in the 1920s that that memorial, built to commemorate all the British Commonwealth soldiers missing of the Ieper area, did not have enough space on its panels for the task.

The vast majority of those on the wall at Tyne Cot would have died in the battles hereabouts of September to November 1917.

Tyne Cot is a consolidation cemetery: the remains of the thousands who now rest there were brought in from isolated graves and small cemeteries when the war ended. But it was also a battlefield burial ground. The headstones immediately behind the Great Cross, in less organised rows, are the original burial plots.

Beyond the Great Cross the headstones stretch away row on row on row. There are 1,369 Australian graves here, 791 of them unidentified, making Tyne Cot the war cemetery with the most Australian burials in the world. Many Canadians and New Zealanders are also buried here.

The Cemetery is beautifully maintained with funding from the countries whose young men lie here. The lawns are immaculate and more than 140 varieties of plants soften the starkness of the white headstones.

We visited the museum which stands just outside the walls of the cemetery. It is a simple museum with photos and relics from that theatre of war, but for me the most heartwrenching part was seeing the photos of the soldiers who died here appear on a wall for a few seconds, and then gently fade away, as their names were announced quietly and respectfully.

Without going into the pros and cons of any armed conflict, I couldn't help but think of, and mourn for, the countless thousands of young lives lost, on all sides, in the prime of their lives........and for what? I also thought of the 'unknown' soldiers, whose remains lie in the cemetery, beneath a headstone with no name; the names of more than 34,000 soldiers who have no known grave or whose remains have never been found; and even for the families who have never known where their loved ones have lain for nearly 100 years.

The serenity and beauty of the Cemetery itself helped ease the pain and sorrow I was feeling, and dry the tears I was shedding. I hope that in some small measure, and in some way, the spirit of these brave men is at peace in these beautiful surroundings.

A visit to Tyne Cot will change your life.......or at least, it should!

The area of conflict.

Click on photo to enlarge.

It's hard to believe that such carnage was wrought over what are now such peaceful rural scenes.

One of the quotes from the museum that was my emotional undoing.

Entry to the cemetery.

The stone wall surrounding the cemetery makes up the Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing, with the names of some 34,000 soldiers who either lie in unnamed graves or whose remains have never been found.

The Menin Gate, near the entrance to the town centre of Ieper (Ypres) was built as a memorial the British Commonwealth soldiers.

Behind the Menin Gate.
Lest We Forget.

At 8.00 o'clock, every night of the year, traffic is halted on either side of the Menin Gate while The Last Post is played within the walls of the Gate. Tourists and locals gather together for this short, but moving, ceremony.

Visitors can lay wreaths in remembrance of their loved ones.