Monday, 12 November 2018

Sunburnt Pom's News from the Old Country 08

I am deliberately writing this blog after Remembrance Sunday so I could report on it for you readers Down Under. The 100th anniversary of the Armistice in 1918 was especially poignant with hundreds of commemorations the length and breadth of the nation. Does any other country do these things as well as Britain? I have travelled a fair bit around our globe and to be honest I don't think they do. It seems that even the tiniest village and hamlet in the remotest spots have a War Memorial and I guarantee that every single one of them was adorned with Flanders poppies. At eleven o'clock the whole nation fell silent for two minutes and in Whitehall the Queen seemed deep in prayer with her eyes closed. The Prince of Wales has taken over her role of placing the first wreath on the cenotaph for a while now while his mother watches from a balcony at the Foreign Office. Noticeable by his absence was the Duke of Edinburgh but at ninety-seven he has more than done his bit already. This solemn occasion was marred by the Leader of the Opposition, one Jeremy Corbyn, wearing a hooded anorak and a bright red tie. Has he no shame? Seemingly not. It demonstrates, to me anyway, that the man is totally unfit for office of any kind in Parliament. I hope the voters take massive revenge on him at the next election.

I have been to the lovely county of Devon since my last blog, specifically to the market town of Newton Abbot. Perhaps best known for its thoroughbred racecourse established in 1866 the town is the epitome of what you would expect – old but smart buildings set in rolling green countryside with abundant flowing waters. OK it rains a lot in the West Country but that is part of the charm too. I remember my first day at school in Taunton having arrived late for the start of the Autumn term and the Chemistry master saying to me:

'Have you lived in Somerset before, Harland?'
'No Sir.'
'Well let me tell you something. You can tell when summer arrives – the rain gets warmer!'

How right he was too.

My journey back to York on the Cross Country rail service was never-ending due partly to engineering work on the track at Bristol. We were treated to stops in Exeter, Tiverton Parkway, Taunton, Bath Spa, Swindon, Bristol Temple Meads, Cheltenham Spa, Birmingham New Street, Tamworth, Derby, Chesterfield, Sheffield, Wakefield and Leeds. It is all in sharp contrast to the 'Ghan' with two stops at Alice Springs and Katherine in the two thousand mile hop from Adelaide to Darwin. By the way my DVD has already arrived thanks to the internet but can you believe it came all the way from New Zealand? No, I can't work that one out either! I will watch all three hours of it on a wet Wednesday afternoon. There will be plenty of those ahead in the coming dark months.  Oh well, until next time, my friends.

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