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Now living in l'Olleria, south of Valencia

Saturday, 20 July 2013

National Memorial Arboretum

In spite of the terrible weather in March, John, Mum and I managed to make another visit to the NMA.

This was John's first visit there, but it was not a great introduction. After the terrible rain and snow, all of the land was terribly waterlogged. Thankfully, the main purpose of our visit, was on dry land.

Dad's memorial stone has been laid and we went to see it.

As we are quite well organised, we knew within 20 feet where we would find his stone. However, the staff at the centre were so kind, I was happy to include them in our quest. As we were welcomed inside, the guide asked if he could help us at all. I explained why we were there and that we knew where we were going. He seemed to be a bit downhearted, but as I explained, he said that he could show us exactly where the stone was. (Since we knew it was at the back of the church, it wasn't going to be too difficult!) I gave him dad's name, and 3 Harman's came up on the screen. Knowing what was written on the stone, I knew in seconds that the 3rd one was him. One click, and the map showed exactly where the stone was - within a few feet. It was at the back of the church. Excellent. At the same time, the man showed us where the REME memorial was, although he indicated that it was quite some distance away.

We went outside and around the back of the church. With just a little wandering around, we soon found the right stone. It was right alongside the church wall, and next to a hosepipe. At first we thought that was a shame, but then we realised that this was actually a very practical spot, and, even here, he was finding a way to be helpful.
John and I left Mum there and went in search of the REME memorial. It wasn't too far away, but the land was so waterlogged, it was quite an adventure to get to it. The whole park is beautifully kept, but the last 12 months must have been quite a challenge to them. A drought in the beginning of 2012, followed by a very wet summer, then a terrible winter. John and I skirted around boggy land and puddles but soon found the memorial. It was a very nice semi-circular quiet area, shaped a bit like a bench, with the insignia incorporated within it. Had the weather been more favourable, I would have been happy to sit there for a while, but we quickly scurried away via the main area, in search of some shelter. I briefly explained the statues to John as well as the gap in the wall. He seemed quite impressed, but I think this is somewhere we each need to come on our own, to be alone with our thoughts.

It is a wonderful place and I can't recommend a visit highly enough.

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