Monday, March 24, 2008

Coastal command memorial

Hello there,

The girls were with my folks in London over Easter week, and I came up for a day and then flew home with them at the end.

While we were there, we went to Westminster Abbey and had a look at the memorial they have just put up for all the members of coastal command.

Here are the photos I took. I fiddled them a bit to bring up the contrast a bit so you can read them better.

This first photo is the main memorial stone.

This was carved into the wall at the bottom and slightly to the right of the main sculpture.

You may have to click on this to read it properly, but this is the inscription below the sculpture.

I might add that it SNOWED that was FREEZING! I am turning into a wimp.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Poland and back

Here are some pics of Poland - not many of Krakow because my camera got stuck open and despite my attempts stayed that way until I took it into the camera shop in Cardiff when it went back in the first time the guy tried. Don't you hate it when inanimate objects make you look a complete fool?

The top one is the square in the old town of Warsaw. What is extraordinary is that all the buildings in the old town have been built since the war as the Germans flattened Warsaw before they left. after the war the Poles rebuilt it from pictures done in the 18th century. Unfortunately for Warsaw the Russians also did a lot of building so a lot of Warsaw is hideous concrete communist blocks. However I didn't take pictures of those.

This is the church in the centre square in Krakow which is unremarkable outside but is seriously gilded and painted inside. we did our last concert in here. There is atrumpeter who plays a warning fanfare every hour on the hour which cuts off before the end because someone did so in the 12th century and was shot by an arrow before he finished but it warned the people and the fended off the enemy. Now that is really keeping a tradition going. Must be the most frustrating music job going as you get to play the same piece every hour of every day and never get to finish it.

This lopsided picture Brian took when we were having lunch in Warsaw with some students. That huge loaf of bread in the spare place is full of saurkraut and sausage and was a starter!!

We had a good time there and the choir sang really well, and the weather was mostly kind as we only had one wet day and it wasn't too cold. Thankfully the rain is following the Martins around instead of me. The Oki Doki youth hostel was actually very good and I can recommend it to you.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

It's official! We are the new Peggy!

We have just returned from a lovely long weekend in Rome to celebrate my half century and three of the five days we were there it poured! OK, that is not enough evidence that we have inherited Peggy’s strange talent for attracting precipitation. However it rained on our holiday in Brittany last year, on our holiday in the Cevenne the year before. We have had two weekends away with friends and it has poured for the entire weekend. Honestly, a few years ago we stayed about 40 miles from Madrid in August and it rained. I fear that we are indeed the new Peggy. I think if we were to go to Alice Springs it would rain for the first time since Peggy’s visit when it rained for the first time in years.
Actually, people should pay us either to visit very arid places or to stay away from places.
That said, it didn’t spoil our enthusiasm for the eternal city. Goodness, but it’s chock full of art and history. We came to the conclusion that we are now of an age to appreciate Bernini. I think he is like anchovies and you just won’t like him when you’re too young. We did have a mostly sunny day for my birthday when we did the Ancient Roman stuff. I shall have to rewatch I Claudius and Gladiator now that I can picture it all. To be honest nearly all I know about ancient Rome is from I Claudius and Shakespeare.
If you want to see pictures of Rome you can look at Helen’s from December.