Nov 28


Well the weather has truly turned on us. The forecast for the next two weeks is snow and arctic conditions across the UK and Europe!!! GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR……..Have never had such cold weather. The first impact was a phone call from the Albatross in London to say that our booking at Dover Castle was cancelled due to the ice and snow on site! Mmmm….quick re-thinking. Richard, Mal and I got together and looked at the options. It ended up being a positive for our group…..not so for the delightful driver!!!!!!
Some months ago we deleted the visit to Tim Eckert’s relative’s grave as it was too far south to visit and we would not be able to fit it in. And now that we had to fill in several hours we looked at the map and suggested to Richard that maybe we could travel to Etretat to commemorate Tim Eckert’s relative. Well the sooooooooooooooperb bus driver man (whoops I mean “COACH DRIVER”!!!!!) said no worries! But then as we headed into Normandy and 450 kilometers and 300 pounds of diesel later, we realized just how much Richard had done for our group! It ended being a VERY long day!  We arrived at Amiens at 8.00 p.m. with a crew of very sleepy and starving kids.
Woke up today after a very comfortable sleep to bad news about the cricket. England have batted their way back into a good position and look to draw the Test. This is especially bad as Richard our coach driver has been taking a lot of crap from us and I bet he is going to dish it out today! After possibly the best shower I have ever had, I made my way to breakfast. More bran for me to counter balance the pizza I had for tea. Across the room I saw Richard sitting very smugly at his table asking for the cricket scores (we all knew that he already knew them!) The hotel was definitely too fancy for me as everything was so clean and carved in wood! The guy who gave me breakfast watched me the whole time so I felt compelled to finish it!
Today we were going to leave England and go to France. We were going to Dover Castle but it was too snowy so we couldn’t go there which was disappointing as I think it would have been a great experience. After the ferry we drove for a long time to Etretat for Tim’s first commemoration which was very special for me as Tim is pretty much my brother. We said The Ode and sang the National Anthem which made it more special for Tim as it was his relative’s grave.
Today started off with us waking up to a very cold morning. Cars had ice on them and the water fountain had even turned to ice. As we were boarding the bus we were told that there would be a change of plans and I would be able to commemorate my soldier Arthur Edward Bray. This meant that I had to write my commemoration on the bus. At first I felt a bit bad for making everyone drive for an extra five hours to commemorate my soldier. However the whole group was great about it and when we arrived at the cemetery everyone did their bit to find the grave my commemoration.
. It made it very special. For a start I was nervous because all of the people and having to speak in front of them, however once I was behind the headstone none of that worried me. It was a great feeling to know that the whole group were with me for what- ever emotions I was going to face throughout
When I read Tim’s reflection I thought that this project is so important on so many levels. These country boys who spoke of their anxiety a few weeks ago about doing the commemorations and being emotionally exposed now writing so openly about it all is just gold! They have grown so quickly in such a short space of time…this is what it’s all about and why I just love all that is Connecting Spirits.

 To November 29

Soldiers Commemorated Today

Arthur Edward Bray