Category: Tewkesbury

ANZAC Day 2020

ANZAC: soldiers from the  Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. Today is Anzac Day and it is probably a very subdued one given the state of the world at this point in time. It is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders “who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations” and “the contribution and suffering of all those who have served“. 

Observed on 25 April each year, Anzac Day was originally devised to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who served in the Gallipoli Campaign, their first engagement in the First World War (1914–1918).  (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anzac_Day).

ANZAC Memorial in Weymouth

The ANZAC Forces left their mark in Gallipoli, with 8,709 from Australia and 2,721 from New Zealand sacrificing their lives in what was a disaster from the start. However, this disaster did not ruin the fighting prowess of the ANZAC’s in future conflicts and they left their mark wherever they fought. The courage of those soldiers from the Southern Hemisphere is the stuff of legend, and in Australia and New Zealand they are commemorated with pride. 

At the Kemal Atatürk Memorial in Canberra, the following words are attributed to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and they pay tribute to the Anzacs and reflects his understanding of the cost of war: 

“Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives… you are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side here in this country of ours… You the mothers who sent their sons from far away countries wipe away your tears. Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.”
 

I do not have any ANZAC ancestry, but by a quirk of fate I adopted one. Many years ago while visiting Arnos Vale Cemetery in Bristol I photographed the newly relaid ledger stones that were originally placed on the graves of the men buried in “Soldiers Corner”.

Unfortunately over the years some of the stones were damaged and all were removed in the 1920’s. Renewed interest in the First World War saw the stones replaced on the graves but unfortunately many were missing and irreparably damaged.  The CWGC then restored the plot in 2018 and it was unveiled later in the year. One of the newly replaced ledger stones was for Private William Walker A.I.F and it was decided that the unveiling of his new grave marker would be used as an occasion to re-open the newly restored Soldier’s Corner.   I was fortunate enough to be able to see the new plot and meet with some of his family that I had corresponded with through the Lives of the First World War project.  Pte Walker is now one of “mine” too and I have added a poppy to commemorate him at the Australian War Memorial Virtual Wall of Remembrance.

You can read about the occasion in the blogpost that I made for the unveiling

As we face a world wide pandemic it is worth remembering that many of the men and women that were in the forces would loose their lives in the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918, and over 100 years later we are facing a similar pandemic, although so far it has not as severe as the Spanish Flu was. 

And while ANZAC Day is really about Australia and New Zealand, it is commemorated around the world in recognition of the terrible price that we pay for war, and that as veterans we are all connected irrespective of whether we are ANZAC, Canadian, British, Indian, Muslim, American or Ugandan. 

DRW © 2020. Created 25/04/2020

Updated: 25/04/2020 — 10:08

No End in Sight

31/02/2020. Day 745673…. Still here. The company where I work now has key industry status and as such we are technically “key workers”. I will admit they are really trying their best to keep the virus out and us safe. So far though 109 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Gloucestershire and 8 have died in county hospitals. The UK tally is 22141 cases with 1408 deaths.  Around us life more or less goes on and people are getting used to the queues and delays although quite a lot are still out and about. Our local Morrisons is slowly getting their shelves packed and today is the first time I have seen toilet paper on the shelves in a long time. Online shopping and delivery have been bogged down though and some people are getting slots for a month down the line. Our local eateries are doing their best to cater to the demand that has been created for takeaways, and anybody that hasn’t been able to adapt will end up suffering until restrictions are lifted. Unfortunately I have had to buy a washing machine due to the closure of the local laundry, it was one expense I was hoping not to have to make. Hopefully it will be delivered on Saturday. Getting through to your bank is almost impossible with a large amount of people phoning in about the financial situation and how the virus will affect it. Unfortunately the virus is not only dangerous from a medical point of view but also from a mental point of view, so keeping busy is vital and going to work may be good for your mental health! (ya right…). So, nothing new to report. Still hanging in there. 

Day 384674….. still here, lost track of time. It is now the weekend, technically had all been hunky dorey I would have been on my way back from London after renewing my passport. Instead I am cold and grumpy, browned off  and depressed.  I had to get some shopping done and tried our local Morrisons but the queue was not going anywhere. They have complicated the matter by closing off the bicycle parking so I ended up chaining my bike to a pole. The queue was even slower than lines at an airport so I ended up giving up again and going to Tesco instead.  The town is like a ghost town, there are very few people around, most of the shops are closed and the traffic has halved. There is also parking available and heaven help you if you park where you are not supposed to (letters will be written to “The Times”).

Yet, there are still people manning tills, cleaning floors, moving boxes, delivering mail, delivering cargo, driving trucks, buses and trains and just doing their jobs to the best of their abilities.   The medical staff are in the front line and in spite of ticket wardens handing out parking tickets and yobs stealing their bikes they keep at it. Even Boris Johnson is infected and as much as I hate to say this it does show that he is human and not some stuck up suit in a distant office. At the end of the day we all have to ride out the storm together.

Back in South Africa the lockdown has been stringently enforced by police and military forces, and looking at the statistics for the country I can see why. There were 202 confirmed cases as at 20/03/2020, currently the total is running at 1170 cases with 1 death.  Unfortunately I fear that things will get much worse in South Africa as mob rule, criminality and xenophobia start to raise their ugly heads. I was reading a post last night about a German woman that was taken to a hospital in South Africa and there were people posting who were ready to use the pitchfork and burning torches. It made for very sickening reading and I blocked that post very quickly. 

On the positive side even the pigeons are laying low.

I would love to say “Things will get better” but at this moment in time that would be a white lie. However, we can count ourselves lucky that we were not living way back in 1665 when the “Black Plaque” was raging. The Public Domain Review  posted about “mortality” during the black plague and it makes for interesting reading. I know that I certainly would not like to be suffering from some of the things mentioned in those lists.

On one of the pages there is an exhortation devoted “To The Reader” and I advise you to take its wie word eriouly 🙂

I am heading back to work on Monday following my 7 days self isolation. At least I still have a job at this stage, but I do not know how much work there will be as the time passes. In the meantime I am busy making sure that if somebody does not hear from me for a long time that they check to see whether I haven’t suffered an attack of “Riing of the light” or “infant” or a “head mould hot“. 

DRW © 2020 Created 28/03/2020. Bills of Mortality are in the public domain worldwide and free of known restrictions under copyright law, including all related and neighbouring rights.  https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/mark/1.0/

Updated: 03/04/2020 — 17:32

Still Musing About The Corona

24/03/2020. A number of things have changed/happened overnight. My sinusitis attack has resulted in me now being isolated for 7 days. Trainline is going to refund my train ticket,  the hotel is busy organising my refund and South Africa is locked down for 21 days. I have to admit that President Ramaphosa does present a very re-assuring speech and I do not really envy him or Boris Johnson for that matter. These are dangerous days and we do not know when the end will be. 

If are in South Africa and are looking for information about covid-19 here please visit the South African online resource below.

The UK is on an unofficial lockdown for 3 weeks and some businesses are closed while necessary ones are staying open but with limited service. I should be OK for food but when we hit week 3 I will probably be staring at empty cupboards. It is no real use going shopping as there is nothing on the shelves to buy. The early birds are catching the worm and bulk buying everything in sight and that is a major problem.  When you work days the only time you have to shop is after hours or weekend. By then it is too late. Let us hope that a solution is found and very soon too. 

The numbers for the UK (24/03/2020) are as follows:  Coronavirus Cases: 6,650 Deaths: 335 Recovered: 135

21/03/20120. Yep, it is true, this continues my musings about Covid19, although Conoravirus is a much easier name to remember. Theoretically the  beastie looks like this:

“This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).” (https://phil.cdc.gov/)

The reality is that this seemingly innocuous fuzzball has brought the world to a standstill. At this point disaster has struck the UK as pubs, bars and restaurants have been ordered to close as of last night. This had led to mass buying of last rounds and tears from the harden bar propper uppers. Unfortunately this will also mean job losses in the industry too. 

At work we are still waiting to hear what will happen with us, as we have a busy week and then a quiet week. However there is still a lot of work that has to be processed and we are as busy as usual. Things may change but hopefully we will keep our jobs. I am also concerned about the place where I live, anything can really happen and to be truthful I am quite stressed at the moment. I have also cancelled my London trip as it is too risky to use public transport and head all the way into London which has 1221 confirmed cases. The Daily Express has the following breakdown for 17 March: 

  • England – 2,756
  • Scotland – 266
  • Wales – 170
  • Northern Ireland – 77

the diagnosed cases of COVID-19 across England the cases are as follows

  • London: 1,221
  • South East: 340
  • Midlands: 282
  • North West: 220
  • North East and Yorkshire: 194
  • East of England: 147
  • South West: 140

There is an informative website called https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/ with up to date statistics and graphs. Things do not look good.

And, on the subject of not looking good: there is a lot of fake news and speculation doing the rounds too (as usual). The World Health Organisation has busted quite a few of these myths and untruths. Just remember that if you find it on social media that does not mean it is legitimate or true. 

I have just found out that the South African Embassy has closed indefinitely from the 20th so just as well I decided to not go. Fortunately I have had excellent service from Easyhotel where I was going to stay. I have had to cancel my booking twice and they went out of their way to assist me. Guess where I will be staying when/if I get to London again.  Unfortunately I cannot say the same thing about trainline (link not provided on purpose). Their attitude was: reschedule the trip on the same route/train up to 12 weeks in advance and we may forgo the exorbitant associated fee.  I was prepared to loose that money and it was my mistake for using them in the first (and now the last) place. I do believe that the issue may not lay with them though, but with the systems operated by the franchise holders. Trainline has since redeemed themselves, although it could take ages to get the money back.

On the plus side there are still many people out there in the front lines who are doing their jobs under very trying circumstances. Our local postie, the laundry up the road, the retail workers, the NHS staff, police, firemen and other emergency services, care workers, media workers, cleaners, truck drivers, delivery staff, farmers and agricultural workers, members of HM Military Forces and so many others that I cannot name. THANK YOU!!!!!!

And while we all are hiding in our bunkers clutching at our bogroll it is worthwhile considering that nature continues. Trees grow, squirrels collect nuts, ducks quack, flowers bloom, crops grow and the wind just keeps on blowing. The drop in air travel has been good for the planet, and the negative impact of humanity is diminishing as we are laid low by that little virus in the pic. If we all got wiped out tomorrow you can be rest assured that the planet would carry on without us.  

And this is where I shall pause for now. “Keep Calm and Carry On” I guess. 

DRW © 2020. Created 21/03/2020. Image of Cornona Virus: Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS. 

Updated: 28/03/2020 — 11:12
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