Wednesday, 25 November 2009



Yes, it is that time of year again here in the Northern hemisphere… End of November, in the UK we are on winter time, so it is darker an hour sooner than in most parts of Europe!
This long period stretches in front of us, I know it influences and affects many people’s lives, they have the blues, they become morose, altogether down and even angry. Not enjoying life.
And of course, it seems trendy to be ‘cynical’ about Christmas, New Year, the ‘commercialisation’ of the festivities, the music, the presents, the sending of cards, family gatherings and parties, hats and party-poppers, the cold, dank- and darkness.
I’m different; I love the cold, especially snow, blue skies and crackling fresh air… that is if and when we get it, which is no guarantee nowadays, even in the North of England.
Snow makes everything so beautiful and silent; you see small details, on familiar buildings, you never knew were there.
I love the long evenings, I bring out the candles, they give off such a romantic light, I love the flickering flames, the shadow play on the walls, the smell when you blow them out before bedtime.
When I’m out, the festive lights are on, since last week, they twinkle in the wind, sparkle in the rain.
Shop windows are dressed festively, glittering and enticing.
It is the season of silver and gold, red and green. Everywhere you walk or drive, decorated homes, I agree some over the top, it again makes me smile… each to their own, it is much more pleasurable than driving through dark streets.
For many animals, winter is about hibernation, for me it is about reflection, making up the emotional balance, joy for a good year, hope for a better year? Thinking of people, making contact, touching once more… most of all the lonely ones (some with families!).
I embrace it, accept it, you see, I believe the more you rebel against something, the worst you make it for yourself! It is not going to go away!
Just imagine that whole ‘LIGHT’ period away from the dark months, how would we feel then? Many more people depressed and even more on Anti-Depressants?
The Christmas market is back in town, we are going for a visit next Sunday.
A lot of happy smiles there, blowing on a steaming hot German potato pancake, eating bratwurst fresh from above the glowing coals, drinking a cool beer, children looking wide-eyed at all the wooden toys, spinning toys, glass baubles, candy and sweets.
For many years now, Paul and I celebrated by ourselves, dressed up to the nines, having a real party, just the two of us.
On Christmas day, we saw and heard families arrive in our street… not for us, that is when you miss your loved-ones even more.
Then, one year my one son and his family came, this year, my youngest and his family will join us, coming from the Continent. OOHH the joy! I can’t wait! I’m loving ‘the preparations’ and planning even more now.
And when all is over and the baubles and bling packed away till next year, I’ll have the smile of the memories… and in the meantime, gradually, it will get lighter and brighter again, the soil will break up with the new life and colour of the crocus, followed by the daffodils and tulips… the hope of Spring, then the warmth of Summer, the nostalgia of Autumn, to come full circle to the darkness of Winter.
And so our life goes by…
I dread to think the dark season without the festive season, even with all its ‘trappings’.
Have a great one, be safe and enjoy! And thanx, M, (*_*)

For many of my CHRISTMAS IMAGES , to make you happy, view HERE

Wednesday, 11 November 2009


On our last Friday in Belgium, we had a 'quiet/free' day, and decided to just drive of into my beloved Flanders and see where the wind and the roads took us.
We came at a crossing where we had to make a decision, when I saw a road sign, which would take us to a place full of memories that we had not seen for ages. As we neared, a helicopter flew over, we saw lots of military vehicles, meandering the narrow road, crossed a small bridge and round the bend... we were stopped by military police, we were very puzzled.
With a smile they waved us into a field full of cars.
We were close to the river IJzer ( ISERE), where so many had fought, had lost life or limb, and eventually won the battle.
This was the place where in 1918 the invader was brought to a halt!
That's what it said on one of the memorial stones...
We arrived in the middle of an important commemoration.
Soldiers from all over ...
It was very moving, you see them, they look forward to these ceremonies, meeting up with old friends, remembering old friends... bringing children, so fitting, being given the opportunity to live in peace and 'freedom'...
They all look so proud.
They are the 'survivors'!
Sometimes there are tears in their eyes, then there's a smile round their lips, afterwards when the ceremony is over, the sound of laughter echoes against the wall of the old tower, drifting off into the rustling of the poplar leaves, the silence returns, another year gone, hope we'll meet again!
It never ceases to amaze me how people come together more in adversity, form bonds and unbreakable friendships for life... great, however somehow sad... nowadays there is such an alienation amongst people. You can live in a street for years, nobody knows or speaks to anybody... let there be a flood or whatever happening and everybody comes out, they all talk, get to know each other... sometimes after years! Western 'civilisation'???

The notes of the Last post were blown hauntingly across the skies, the tradition, from the top of the Tower of O.L.V Hoekje in Stuivekenskerke not far from The Trench of Death (Le Boyau de la Mort).

"All Wars Arise For The Possession Of Wealth" (Plato)

I merged two images for this photo the soldiers and one of a poppy-field.
Thanx, M, (*_*)
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