And yet another colour
And yet another colour
The Autumn trees change colour at different times.
The world looks different when you are on your way in a wheelchair and you have your colourful walking stick fixed at the side in case you need it. It is amazing the people that want to overtake you on their bikes, so you should always keep an eye on the mirror.
Today is so-called memorial day where memories of the fallen are re-enlived. Flags are flying on the various military cemeteries and there are speeches being held and ceremonies being enacted. It is an American celebration. We never had anything like it in Great Britain, although 11th November is always celebrated as the so-called armistice day to commemorate the fallen in the last two world wars and the end of the war. World wars? Yes because the whole world was involved. Even neutral Switzerland had her soldiers at the borders to protect their own people.
My dad was no hero, but no-one asked him to be a soldier. He was given an order by his country to appear at a certain time and date to enlist in the army. He was a young man, but orders are orders and he eventually found himself on an amphibious craft landing on the beach at Salerno in Italy according to his story. He learnt to love Italy, the wine and the country. He found it a shame they were at war. He also got to see Egypt with the pyramids and sphinx and a country that he always called Palestine, although it eventually became Israel. Dad was one of the old school and names never really changed for him.
He told us of being in an army cantine in Italy when Beniamino Gigli, the great Italian opera singer, entered with his daughter and sang a few arias. Engish soldiers were enthralled, although not exactly opera fans, but this was something different to patrolling in dangerous areas. During the Gigli concert the military police locked the doors and inspected the soldiers papers that were now trapped in the cantine. Dad said there were many arrests made that day for deserters.
He told me of marching in Italy when the ground suddenly caved in and below was a wine cellar containing the farmers store of Italian wines. He said there was not a sober man in the regiment after they found the liquid treasures.
He was heading for France, Paris, when the war ended and saw the Eiffel Tower. Their money was allied money, in billions due to the inflation, but they were not rich. According to dad’s stories of war, you could imagine it was one big holiday for the british soldiers.
It was only when I was older, married and had children of my own, that he would tell me about a march where some of his colleagues trod on a mine and were killed in front of him. About when he was climbing a mountain slope in Italy and German snipers were firing with their rifles. He said luckily they were climbing with mules and could hide behind the mules as they were being fired upon.
My dad’s only war injury was when he dropped a shell from a gun (he was in the heavy artillary) on his foot and was lucky that the ground was soft mud and his foot sank into the mud instead of being crushed. He had a couple of malaria attacks in Italy and said that is not an illness he would like to go through again, shaking from the bouts of fever he had.
Dad came home on a Friday, was married to my mum the next day in his army uniform because he had no other clothes to wear. He had only seen mum for a few hours one evening when they met in an english pub whilst he was on leave. Their romance developed by letter. This might not be the story of a war hero, but my dad was my war hero: Albert Stanley Relf 1915-2016.
Mum and dad’s wedding photo. Her brother on the left, also in uniform, returned home after 4-5 years prisoner of war. On the right my grandfather, mum’s dad. Second on the right my mum’s sister-in-law and also school friend who married mum’s brother. The other lady is a friend of mums.
Yesterday afternoon when I went for a wheelie in my chair we had blue skies and it was sun tan weather, but a few clouds were hanging around. When I got home I sat out on the porch uploading photos and reading until 09.30 when it got a little too dark for comfort, although my Kindle has its own built in light. We even watered the garden, as it had two dry hot days behind itself. I settled in my armchair and just as I was thinking of going to bed I heard a bang outside. A thunderstorm was approaching. We could have saved the watering of the garden. When I eventually began to hug my bed it was full force. I love listening to those storms outside when I am all tucked up. Eventually sleep overcame me, still with the accompaniment of the storm outside. This morning everything clear: blue skies and the sun.
I took a trip yesterday afternoon. I decided to go down to the river, and took the turning towards the left. This is always a mistake. For some reason the path is more hazardous with lots of bumps and lumps which my wheelchair does no like, and I had a distinct tilt in my seat. I came back the same way and traveled the opposite direction, which is less bumpy.
I noticed a swan gathering on the opposite side of the river. They always meet on that side which means closeups are not so possible. There seem to be quite a lot of swans this year and I notice that the swans with a little colour in their feathers have now disappeared. They have grown, are now pure white, and will be the keepers of the next generation.
I wheeled down to the last bridge before entering town and decided to return via the cemetery and the stables. I heard a loud neigh as I approached. The stalls were mostly empty but their pony had stayed behind.
The pony is often used for children to have a ride. He kept his eyes on me as I travelled further. The next part was where the ducks, geese and chickens live. I wanted to see if the ducklings were around.
I am not sure if you can still call them ducklings as they are growing quickly. Unfortunately a goose also wanted to get into the picture and his head can be seen at the front of the photo. Suddenly some people arrived in the enclosure. It seems you can enter if you see one of the people that work there. I would love to be able to go inside and take photos, there is always a plastic fence in between. My zoom lens manages to cut it out, but the photos are never as clear as I would like them to be.
I moved on past my friends the cows, who seemed to be doing the same as they always do in the evening: just laying around and waiting for me to take a few photos.
It was now the home stretch, across the road and back to my home. This road is particularly bumpy when crossing with the wheelchair. It was all newly surfaced and improved two years ago. Then I did not have to depend on a wheelchair to go places. Now I do and notice how little the problems of transporting wheels across a road are not taken into consideration. There are some crossings which are quite flat, but this crossing is one up and down until you get to the other side.
This week is yet another catholic religious holiday on Thursday for corpus christi. I think they even have some sort of procession in our local town. No. 1 son has a week’s holiday so we will be one more at home to cater for. Today he is off to Zürich in the late afternoon for a concert by Roger Waters, the Pink Floyd musician, although he is also now over 60 years old. It is sometimes a little scary when you see all these elderly gentlemen that were the pop stars of yesterday. They organise a coach from our town to the Hallenstadion in Zürich where the concerts take place and bring my son home again, which is quite good, especially as he is an autist, but he finds his way quite well.
I am off on a shopping trip this morning so should get going. Our local crow population are already calling in chorus with their caws. Keep safe, see you around. I will leave you with some flowers I saw on my journey yesterday.
Je gratte, donc je suis
My "bump" was in 2016, aged 48, when I suffered a stroke. This blog charts my recovery. (Header clipart licensed by pngguru.com.)
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