I took a few hours out last week to visit the National Arboretum in Alrewas on the Derbyshire/Staffordshire border. It's an enormous, very tranquil place, dedicated to the memorial of those who have lost their lives in all sorts of conflicts and disasters over the years. We took a guided tour on a land train and were amazed at the symbolism of ever tree, colour and planting used across the site.
The artwork in some of the memorials is nothing less than stunning, and although I think it's cheating a bit to simply photograph someone else's art work, I had to record some of what I saw there - it was both moving and masterful. I especially love this Naval memorial which, as the sun shines through the glass, creates a picture of a warship on the ground in front.
Of course the main centrepiece is the huge memorial to those who have lost their lives fighting for our country since the Second World War. It was moving for my husband, who used to be in the Royal Navy, to find the names of people he knew carved into the stone, and for me it was especially moving to see the panels left, which will be filled with names in the future. I found it more so as it was being read by a group of young army soldiers and I couldn't help but wonder if they wondered whether their names might one day be carved there. I hope not.
Sorry - an uncharacteristically sombre blog post this time, but it is a place that leaves quite an impact and if you live near enough, I would strongly recommend a visit sometime. They have events on there too - I'm hoping to go back for the Seventy Years since VE Day celebrations in May when they will have vintage music and costumes and so on. But for this time it was just a normal Friday, with time to think and reflect.