Legends from our own lunchtimes

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Nowhere to hide.
Saturday 25th May - Watten to Arques

Arques is one of those kinds of towns where the night tennis courts and council depot are marked on the map as tourist features, as is the twenty-four hour video library.  Further investigation of that particular enterprise yielded disappointment, its windows shuttered, its signs in tatters.

We are here because it has a very nice pleasure boat port, with lovely people running it and is almost twelve kilometres from Watten, a very civilised distance to travel in one day.  We could have stayed on another day of course, perhaps cycling as our Belgian friends had planned, to the German Blockhouse Museum, but we shivered at that thought, still a little overwrought by last year’s immersion in the realities of the great conflicts, bracing ourselves for more when we reach the Somme. 

The Australia of our youth so far removed from the scene, had a memorial in every town; the statue of a “Digger” resting on “arms reversed”, head bowed, in remembrance.   In this part of the world, the tragic message is considerably less introspective.  While enjoying a leisurely walk under threatening skies we stumbled quite accidentally into the town’s main square, and its memorial, jarring us back into the impact of that grisly history. The message here was pretty clear, made more so by the weather, as angel descended, wreath in hand, to guide another of the chosen ones heavenward.  Another impossibly youthful victim caught in a moment of time that one hopes the world will spend the rest of time regretting. 

We had other regrets as well, in particular there was one about setting out on a lengthy exploration without carrying rain gear.

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