We had a bit of drama at Fradley on Friday morning. It was busy as usual but as I was waiting on the lock moorings at Keepers Lock there was a long delay when a plastic cruiser got stuck in the bridge-hole.
It was an Australian couple who had just picked the boat up, having swapped it for two months for their motor home. They hadn't been given any tuition by the owners and had left the fenders down which caused the problem. Roger ended up pushing them backwards out of the bridge by closing the lock gate and then, once the 6 fat fenders had been removed, he taught them how to operate a lock safely. To say that the wife wasn't happy would be an understatement. I don't know how good their motor home had been, but the little cruiser had definitely seen much better days and they were going to live on it 24/7 for the next 2 months.
On Saturday we walked from our mooring in Alrewas to the National Memorial Arboretum. It's about 1.5 miles and the first mile is a good safe walking route, but the last half mile is decidedly dodgy. Some idiot has decided that a public footpath along a very busy road should now be designated as a nature reserve.
This means that the footpath has been left to the nettles and other weeds and pedestrians now have to walk on the road.....The world's gone mad!!
If you're ever in the area I'd definitely recommend a visit to the National Memorial Arboretum. It's a very beautiful and peaceful place but I was surprised how busy it was. There were several coaches in the car park and I suppose it is busier at weekends.
This is the Armed Forces Memorial, designed so that the sun strikes it's central wreath at 11am on the 11th day of the 11th month. That must be a very humbling moment.
It's walls are carved with the names of fallen servicemen and women
but the scary part is the amount of blank walls, ready for future conflicts. I hope they're never filled...........
All around the arboretum are small places of remembrance, dedicated to the different regiments and services.
The ATS, women who served during WW2
The Royal Naval memorial is very modernistic compared to some of the others, with the glass panels representing sails and waves.
The Merchant Navy Service memorial is a hectare of woodland planted with oaks and was eerily quiet with no birdsong.
The Fleet Air Arm memorial was a granite aircraft carrier
The Commandos, a silver dagger. The names of fallen comrades were etched into the bricks
I found this memorial particularly touching, having watched the film The Bridge on the River Kwai several times
All the time we were walking around we heard the haunting lament of a lone piper. I'm not sure if it was a recording or a live performance, but by the time we'd got round to the main courtyard there was an army band playing. The song? "It's a long way to Tipperary".....very moving
Needless to say, there were clumps of poppies everywhere.