Sunday, 10 August 2008

On reflection...

Back in Blighty (Where the internet works and the keyboard isn't confusingly Belgian)...

It's been a roller coaster of a week. Great teamwork, unforgettable experiences and lots of working hard and playing hard (working behind the bar until 2.45 am on the last night resulted in almost falling asleep standing up on the ferry home!).

Top experiences? Well, lying on my top bunk with my head out of the roof light, at 4am on Thursday morning, watching the bolts of lightning and listening to the thunder crashing all around, gave me a taster of what being under shell fire must have been like. Being periodically baked alive and then soaked wet through in the flax field was a test of true grit and determination (not least when doing the YMCA as part of "Team Colonel" when we couldn't Geophys due to the rain and lightning).

Again the last post ceremony at the Menin gate saw us without a dry eye in the house, especially when we realised we had chosen a spot standing in front of the Australian panel - spooky.

The finds too have been fascinating and I fear I am going to become a sad expert in "bits of rusty crap". The "show and tell" on our second evening brought everything to life and really helped us identify finds in the field. The boot studs found on day 2 in Trench 12 were amazing and the area of fire step I unearthed in the same trench, with what appeared to be the remnant of a cape lying on the top were a special find (until the rain came in and created a lovely pool).

All of the trenches have had finds which start to piece together a story, adding to the discoveries of 2007. We've had glass bottles, tins, ammunition, bits of clothing and personal kit as well as wriggly tin and timbers from a dugout which may have collapsed as a result of the shock wave from the mine which created Ultimo crater.

Of course the final part requires literally digging deep to backfill the trenches, but the team spirit and singing helped!

I am already looking forward to seeing everyone again next year!

Jo x

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