Monday, 5 October 2020

Exploring :: The National Memorial Arboretum

Hi there everyone 😀

As you will be aware we are just back from two weeks of glorious sunshine on the south coast exploring East Devon, pretty much all of which was new to us.

A couple of weeks before we went away we managed to squeeze in another big day out. This time with our good friends Jackie and Phil. We went to the National Memorial Arboretum, at Alrewas, which is just a stone's throw from home. Jackie and Phil had never been and it’s somewhere we always enjoy visiting.

Having had a good look at their website ahead of visiting it seemed that their Covid safety measures would provide a nice safe venue for both a bit of a wander and maybe our first lunch out since way back in February.

We had to pre-book and arrived to be parked nicely spaced out. There was a very short wait to get in, where where we given a very short but useful briefing on one way systems, hand sanitising and restaurant booking.

After a quick visit to the facilities where all felt very safe we booked our table for lunch. They were very accommodating and sorted us a nice large table so we could eat together, whilst still being able to maintain the proper social distance between us.

We had an hour so before we were due to eat so headed out to explore. We started at the Armed Forces Memorial, which is always poignant and thought provoking and shows so many names of those fallen ... with so much space to add more. Everything about this memorial means something and through this gap ...
... each year "a shaft of sunlight falls at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month" ...
As far as the weather went it was a bit dull, but dry and it was good to be out and about ...
From here we headed for the Shot at Dawn memorial, one of my absolute favourites and we always make the effort to see it when visiting the arboretum ... it is so sad and it's placed at the point in the arboretum where the rising sun can first be seen ...


Every time we visit the arboretum we stumble across memorials that we haven't noticed before, the site is so big and there are bits and pieces tucked away all over the place. Making our way back from the Shot at Dawn memorial we came across this one ... I didn't make a note of what it was in memory of, but it was pretty impressive ...
It's also lovely to see the small more personal memorials to show that people really are not forgotten ...
One of the things that Martin has always wanted to look at but we've never actually got round to seeing are the memorials to those lost in the building of the Burma railways ... this was a priority for our visit today and we finally got to see actual track from the Burma/Thailand railway, also known as "The Railway of Death" ...


I'm really glad that we got to see the railway this time. I mean, we've all seen the Bridge over the River Kwai and other such films, but to see an actual part of the railway ... that was something pretty special.

From here we wandered through some of the small memorial gardens ...
It's become a bit of a tradition that there's always a group selfie on our days out with Jackie and Phil and we managed to find a spot that we could manage to capture one ... whilst maintaining our social distance of course ...
It was a bit different to our normal huddle, but still a good memento of our day out ... Phil did say that it almost looked like we'd photoshopped him and Jackie in, but I promise that we didn't 😁

Whilst our legs were starting to get a bit tired, there are a few other memorials that I always like to see when visiting.

I love the Evacuee memorial ...

... and I always love to have a sit here ... it was particularly nice to see a bit of blue sky at this point too ...

That was about it for this visit ... and we'd really only just scratched the surface ...
I would always recommend it worthwhile to make a visit to the arboretum. It's a lovely space to walk in and it felt really safe and well organised from a Covid point of view. I know I say this every time I visit, but I'm sure we will be back again some time soon 😀

***********************************************************************************

No comments:

Post a comment

Thanks for taking time to comment on my blog. I love to hear what people think about what Martin and I have been up to.