From 2014, the 70th anniversary.
Today, as I am sure you will be aware, is the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. I intend to watch the many programmes commemorating the event today, my thoughts no doubt turning to my two Grandfathers who took part in history’s largest ever land invasion. I know next to nothing of their own, personal D-Day stories. I know very little of their time during the war full stop. Like so many, it appears that they didn’t speak too much about it. And by the time my own curiosity had grown, it was too late.
One of them died of cancer before I was born, the other died when I was twenty years old, at a time when I had yet to fully develop my great interest in history, and in particular my own family history.
I do wish I had asked. Either them, or other older relatives who may…
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Ariana Grande has returned to Manchester for the first time since the concert in which twenty two people lost their lives. After visiting the injured children in hospital she is now appearing in a hastily arranged concert featuring herself and many guest stars. People who attended that first, ill-fated concert have been allowed to attend this one for free.
The entire concert is being screened live on television. It appears everyone on my FB friends list are either attending in person or watching from their own homes. Very emotional, the message One Love Manchester is also transcending my city’s borders, being sent down south to those who suffered just last night in London.
Music brings people together. And, as Ariana has just said, the kind of love being displayed here is the medicine that the world needs right now. I hope it is addictive.
It was announced that today the country would observe a minute’s silence to honour those killed on Monday. Where else could I go to honour this but Manchester? Despite the unprecedented step of the army being deployed to assist the police throughout the country and the government warning that another attack was imminent, avoiding this crowd was never an option.
My fellow Mancunians came good again: what a fitting and emotional morning it was. There were tears amongst the defiance, balloons filling the clear blue skies. And the fantastic moment when the crowd burst into a spontaneous rendition of Don’t Look Back In Anger by Manchester band Oasis, followed by thunderous self-congratulatory applause.
How ironic that an action designed to cause division has created a unity I have never witnessed before.
Here are some photographs of the day.
Thought I would share this from last year’s New Year’s Day. I started this year much as I did in 2016: having a brew stood on the step, watching the rain and a gliding gull overhead. But last year I went on to make a sad discovery in the local woods.
I sat outside in the back garden with a hot cup of tea, coat fastened, watching the milky coming of dawn. I can do this as I don’t drink these days, my New Year’s Day vigil no longer debilitated by the night before.
All of the neighbouring houses were in darkness, the windows dark, sightless eyes. There was no sign of life at all. Human life, that is.
The morning was scored by the constant rattle of a magpie, hidden from view. They nest in a huge tree beyond one of the houses, but the tree appeared bare, empty both of leaves and birds.
The call went on. Perhaps the chatter-rattle was bird-talk for come on-it’s morning!
In the spring and summer I plant flowers for the birds and bees, then switch my allegiance to the birds in autumn and winter, putting out food at dawn and dusk. I hadn’t…
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This morning, at the grave of my Gt.Grandfather.