At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month we have always given pause to reflect about those who fought for our Commonwealth. It was probably three weeks ago I first really thought of today for a while. About that Roller Coaster Week I had a year ago. We were sitting in the spa (I have been getting hubbie and myself to go in the spa at least every second day as we have been working day and night and I am forcing us to relax! There are no electronics in the spa!!), and my two naughty puppies were foraging where we have buried Makita’s ashes. I realised she had been gone for nearly a year and then the whole week came back, beginning with Granddad’s passing on Remembrance Day 2012.
It is so poignant that Granddad passed away on Remembrance Day. I guess we are very lucky that we are here to today and we had a Granddad like him. When I think about the soldiers that fought for their country, I always think of Granddad and some of the stories he told us about being a POW. Granddad was in the Durham Light Infantry in WWII. He was wounded in France and sent to a French hospital awaiting his return to England. The day before he was supposed to be transferred the town was overrun by the German Army and he spent the next 5 years in Prisoner of War labour camps across Europe. It is the only first account experience I have heard. They are the most real war moments for me, the rest are what I have read, seen on the news or in movies. I guess once again that I am so lucky they are the only accounts I know personally.
An eerie thing occurred last year, a commemorative Australian $2 coin was produced for Remembrance Day – “a solemnly beautiful symbol of those who fought and died in all wars and conflicts”. My middle sister saw one first and saved a coin each for us three sisters. Can you believe I have a coin that marks my Granddad’s death? A coin so relevant to my Granddad.
Do not ask me how, but a few weeks ago I found on eBay uncirculated Australia $2 coins with the poppy embellished red. I ordered a few and they arrived today… now I am starting to feel a little spooked…
In July I attended a cake decorating course for frilling. I didn’t know what it was but it sounded fun! I had to take a two tier cake – 6 inch and a 8 inch. The week after the cake decorating course there was a family get-together, so I thought I would make a fruit cake and take my piece of art (tongue in cheek) to the gathering.
It turns out frilling is like ruffles! There were only 3 of us taking the course and it was so much fun. The 4 or so hours just disappeared. I enjoy that part of cake decorating, you are taken away from the “real” world and you are creating! One lady had dummy cakes, so she was just practicing. The other lady was decorating the cake for Mum’s birthday the next day. I didn’t say anything at first and then finally I said that my cake was going to be eaten at a family gathering after spreading my grandparents ashes.
My Nanna passed away in 1995, 6 weeks before their 50th wedding anniversary. Granddad was distraught but showed a brave face for the many years he was without her. He kept her ashes on the mantelpiece and towards the end he mentioned how it was time he was back with Lily. In July we spread their ashes at Burns Beach, so they could stay here in Australia if they wanted to, or they could travel back home to England. I like to believe there is some of them both here and in England.
At the end of the cake decorating course Lyn, our patient but cheeky teacher, was saying that the frilling technique could be used for all sorts of occasions from birthdays, to weddings… and I piped up “scattering of ashes”. She looked at me and the cake and said, you could put a picture of your grandparents on the cake. I paused, thought for a second and said “really?”. She said yes, just email me a photo and I’ll have it ready for you the next day. I thought it was a brilliant idea and it worked out perfectly. What do you think? Thank you to Lyn at My Delicious for the idea and for printing the photo for me
Everyone seemed impressed with the cake and thought it was yummy too. I love my trusted fruit cake recipe, it hasn’t failed me yet (maybe because I remember all the ingredients! hehe). My Dad took home the top-tier, as no-one would cut the cake on the day. I went to cut it but it was much too hard to cut through my Nanna and Granddad. So I took the top-tier off and cut the bottom layer Much to my surprise, my Dad ate the photo! Mum was a bit shocked too, at least he enjoyed it
So I hope everyone paused today and thought about all that fought for us so we could be here today. Many tributes to my Granddad were put up on Facebook today by my extended family. It was so beautiful to see. I especially loved the collection of photos my middle sister put up of Granddad over the years. And even more posts about Remembrance Day were posted by family and friends alike. Just beautiful to see.
Tribute to my Grandparents, best with a swig of Glen Ord single malt scotch whisky:
We will not build a shrine at the place where they lie
Lest we dwell on their death
We will build a shrine at the place where they still live
Deep within our hearts
And we will visit them often in that place
And rejoice in their life