Things that Stopped me 2

Today for the fist time in ages I took some time to sit in my chair and really just look at the pictures above my desk. One of them was painted by my grandfather and it is of a river that we used to go to when I was a small child. The colours of the trees are very autumnal and they are reflected in the dirty murkiness of the river water. The exception is a very green tree and bush that are rather central in the painting. The scene itself is one of serenity but it is the colours that have always attracted me with their pinks and deep purples and the contrasting yellow green of the grasses near the farther bank of the river. There is also a gnarled and twisted tree trunk in the foreground. It looks like it was probably burnt out at one stage and would have been a great place to play in, although of course the chances are high that there would be a huge ants nest in it.

The painting was given to me for one of my birthday’s. I always felt guilty about asking my grandfather for one of his paintings but I loved the few that I got from him. Now they are virtually the only things that I have left of him. I rarely even notice his paintings any more but every now and again I stop and I just look at them and am back in his study looking over all of his paintings again choosing which one I would like for my birthday.

The other picture on my wall that drew my eye today was one of my 3 times Great Grandmother Catherine Selina Lees. The photo I have of her is black and white on a sepia toned background. It has been hand enhanced because it is from the very early days of photography. Catherine was obviously wearing her best outfit with a lace collar and lovely dropped ear rings. Catherine has a mildly masculine or square face with rather deep set eyes but that could be because of the shadows that were added in the enhancing process. The photo used to live with my other grandfather and was damaged when he had a house fire. It was one of the few things that was rescued from the fire and although it has been cleaned and restored it still shows some murkiness that is probably smoke damage.

My grandfather remembered his father talking about his grandmother Catherine, my grandfather never met her personally as she died well before his time. However his father described her as a woman of considerable strength who used to work at a pub and would lift kegs and bags of flour off a dray as willingly and as readily as any man in the area. Catherine also apparently had a strongish Irish accent which was a hang over from her own grandmother.

Things that stopped me

Just a bit of musing. Whilst going to Rowany Festival the other day I came across an add to phone in for The Minutes Silence for ANZAC Day. I later found the detail in a news paper

My instant reaction was why phone and pay money for something that you can get anyway just by not phoning or not even participating. I still think that.

I always find ANZAC day very conflicting. It is of course a way to remember war and the people who have fallen fighting for their country. But it is also a way of glorifying war and I don’t agree with that. I also feel that men and women who have fought for their country during other conflicts are forgotten because the focus is so much on the first and second world wars. I have never understood why these two wars have such a high focus when wars both before and after seem to lack that focus.

I could go on for ages but the thing that struck me is that I just do not believe that my Grandfather, who was in the Second World War would have thought much of someone phoning in for a minutes silence. If I am going to give money to the RSL I think I would like to see them ask for it through different means and through the filter of helping all of those who have been to war, any war, all sides not just as a special event on ANZAC Day. I do of course realise that this can happen anyway but for me this was cheapening what is important about remembering conflict and that is the people.