Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Day 2 on Flanders Field

So it seems that t' Kleine Stadhuis in Ieper is to be my blogging home away from home ... what's a girl to do but buy the wine that is the cost of computer use in this civilised European pub.

We've had a good day out wandering ... having left from the Irish Peace Village we drove to Zonnebeke where we picked up Freddy DeClerk (the spelling may be off but he's a Belgian writer and ex-Army man who knows the history of World War One here like the back of his hand) and he took us out through the history of New Zealanders fighting and dying in Belgium.

Note to self: send Deurne Districthuis staff on this trip.
There is a truly horrendous number of young New Zealanders buried here.

We were taken over the ground covered by kiwis on their bloodiest 2 hours of fighting ... a day when we lost over 2500 men in a very small window of time. It's unbelievably moving to be out there and see what they faced and how it was akin to suicide to try and take that ridge held by the Germans.

One of the girls from the Seraphim Choir picked up a live bullet at Essex Cemetery, the place where John McRae wrote the now famous poem 'On Flanders Field'.

And so yes, I'm official photographer (500 photographs and counting) for New Zealand's Seraphim Choir and day one has been slightly superb, as in 'she shall have music where ever she goes'.

You see Dutch television caught up with us at Tyne Cot Cemetery - Belgian and Dutch readers can watch the main Dutch channel at 8pm tonight and see some of us. I've spent the day as seat mate with the 75 year old New Zealander they interview and then ... and this was the best of the day, the choir performed for us all.

Suddenly everyone was wiping their eyes as they practiced the songs they'll be singing for the Queen of England and those other dignitaries and various members of royalty.

We toured the brilliant Zonnebeke Museum after eating our lunch in the Chateau grounds and here we are in Ieper on free time.

Okay, the wine is gone and it's best I don't have anymore ...

Tot straks from the kiwi in Flanders.

1 comment:

Manic said...

Only one glass? Di you DIsappoint me.
I'll try and watch you on Dutch TV, you small celebrity.