1 July 1916
Weather improved slightly today - at least it's not raining... yet.
Still bitterly cold but the vest I bought from the Royal Flying Doctors in Broken Hill has been a life saver. The BOSS thinks it is damned ugly - but it is bloody warm!!!
It's a bit of a pain donning all these layers every time we get in and out of the car - and we do that a lot - and the back seat next to Margaret has become a bazaar of coats, scarves, gloves - with the mad hunt for bits and pieces every time we stop.
The Slug is still not behaving itself. It is under the mistaken belief that it is smarter than me and tries to pre-empt my desires. It switches itself into ECO mode whenever it pleases, it turns on the windscreen wipers when it's not raining, it turns on the radio by itself, and still the rotten sod of a machine just can't learn how to change gears smoothly!
Today we spent the day revisiting some of the sites of the Somme battles that took place on 1 July 1916 - battles with huge losses of lives for no gain. (Is there any gain in any war?)
Thiepval, Beaumont-Hamel, Ulster Memorial, Warlencourt just to name a few.
It's simply impossible to look out onto this gorgeous landscape, with its pristine ploughed fields, meadows of bright yellow rape flowers, birds singing and wind blowing a gale - and imagine what carnage occurred here nearly 100 years ago. The few shell holes that remain are covered in grass and could easily be mistaken for a dip in the hill. Even Beaumont-Hamel, which has not been ploughed flat and old trenches are still easily identifiable, is softened by the presence of clover and flowers.
Steven still manages to pick up bits of shrapnel every time he goes for a walk, even though this land has been passed over a gazillion times by farmers and tourists.