Sunday, April 26, 2009

And the weekend ...

Oehoe III, Flanders Fields, originally uploaded by - di.

Well, I've been sitting here all evening trying to organise, downsize, save to external hard-drive and just process all that we did while wandering through Flanders Fields in Belgium this weekend.

We did so much and, once again, the days were long but this time there was no internet. I did check in a couple of times at our 'local' restaurant/pub in Ieper (Ypres, in French) but it wasn't the place to reply or create ... a tall bar stool at a computer in full view of everyone.

I guess that's a dedication test of some kind ... am I internet-addicted or not?

That first evening, Friday night, ended with us falling into bed, a little panicked, knowing that we had a 4.30am start.

We did it, all 5 of us set out for the 6.30am Dawn Ceremony after a coffee and croissant prepared by our stunningly kind landlady.

9am found us organised and ready for the Messines Town Hall walk to the New Zealand Memorial on the ridge taken in the Battle of Messines.

I will write more detail but this is an outline ... a bedtime story for the insomniac because I'm not sure it's interesting.

11am and we were in Menen Gate for the final ANZAC ceremony of the day. I was there taking photographs but was also gifted a lead ANZAC soldier made of shrapnel because ... well, that's a story too. I hope to head back to the Fields soon and talk to some truly interesting people and write them up on that new website I keep muttering about.

Marc, a Belgian friend, Gert and I then headed off to visit some of the sites that might be of interest to this incredible panoramic photographer friend of ours. We toured Tyne Cot cemetery, on into Langemark - the German cemetery and back via the Passchendaele Museum where we met the guy with the owls, the drunk monk and a group of 4 monks wandering the grounds of the castille, chanting incredibly non-religious wicked things in their sing-song voices. It was a re-enactment and they were having a great time there in the grounds.

The night ended late with our landlady opening champagne and inviting us in to chat for a while. We fell into bed and slept the deep sleep of the truly exhausted before waking for more this morning ...

Not champagne but I had a communion photography session with the loveliest little Belgian girl in the world, then I back at the castille for a photography session with Carleen Ebbs, the New Zealand soprano based in London, the woman who had provided stunning song at each of the 3 commemorations the previous day.

We were distracted by the guy catching a big trout in the castille pond, and by the music band using old-time instruments and all kinds of other people and things that will undoubtedly appear in the weeks ahead.

I just need some time to process it all ...
I just need some time to process the Istanbul photographs too ...

Yes, time ... I just need to sit still for a couple of weeks and work quietly here.
Exhausted, need to sleep ... so many mistakes corrected in this post so far, goodness knows what I'll find in the morning!


Gary Rith Pottery Blog said...

Mister Owl is magnificent. :)

Mlle said...

I love this. Please add this to the "one day Shannon will order stuff for her wall list" :)

Di Mackey said...

He is, isn't he and so calm about being photographed.

Ms Mlle, you have to come see ... I have more than 100 photographs of this owl, I was so in love with them photographically. :)

Catherine said...

Stunning photograph of the owl. I was wondering how you got it to hold so still, and how you got so close, and then I saw that it was a pet

Di Mackey said...

I have your photographs from Tyne Cot Cemetery, Catherine. I just need to process the weekend's work.

And the owl, I'm still smiling - it didn't occur to me to explain he was a pet but I can see why Mlle was so impressed at first :)