Adam Bird


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Sunday, 8 October 2006

Bird Bonding

I was invited last week to spend the day in France yesterday with my Dad, Granddad and Jessica's boyfriend James.

The itinerary was to spend some time visiting World War I battlefields, having a spot of lunch and visiting the hypermarket for some bargains.

Normally the idea of World War 1 battlefields would have sent me to sleep and I would politely decline, but I thought it would be a great idea to spend the day with my Dad and Gramps, especially as I haven't really spent that much 'quality' time with Dad over the past few years.

As we were only going to be there for a day we would only be paying a flying visit at one battlefield, Vimy Ridge.

When we arrived I was completely awestruck about what I saw.

It was as if I had landed on a lunar landscape that had been turfed over and millions of trees planted on top. I had seriously under prepared myself for what to expect.

My only previous knowledge about the Great War had been gotten from Ben Elton, whom wrote "The First Casualty", a novel hardly scratching the surface of the atrocities that took place.

Having been inspired by what I had seen I suddenly become full of questions and felt a huge sense of awe for the people who had been killed in the very places I was walking.

I discovered that the lunar type landscape had been caused by the shear amount of munitions that had exploded during the course of the war - it really needs to be seen to believed.

The trees I described earlier had been planted by the Canadians, whom lost nearly 15,00 men in the space of a few minutes, a number which I am still struggling to get my head around.

Time was short; we only managed a short walk through the Canadian trenches, a tour of the visitor centre and a visit to the cemetery.

Dad mentioned coming back again and spending a lot longer looking around the ridge, exploring the underground tunnels that the Allies dug in order to surprise the Germans, and visiting other famous sites such as the Somme.

This time, instead of stifling a yawn I was asking when and nodding enthusiastically at the thought.

I hope that next time I go I will be able to write a better account of what I have seen; it is very hard to write about something that I have such little knowledge about.

My real message today is that if anyone does offer you to opportunity to do something, you may not want to go, or it may not appeal to you, but take it, you never know what you might learn, or discover!


Image: Canadian Cemetery

Canadian Cemetery

Image: Canadian Cemetery: Another View

Canadian Cemetery - Another view


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