Day out: Alrewas – 26 June 2016

blog 01
Dad: “That’s the founder, there.” Diane: “Who? The one in the skirt or the one in the frock?” Dad: (fits of giggles) “The one in the frock!” (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Every year my dad is invited to the veterans’ memorial day at the National Memorial Aboretum at Alrewas.

The last Saturday in June is usually the armed services memorial day, and the veterans’ memorial day is usually the last Sunday in the month.

For the past 2 years, the poet has accompanied him. But this year, for the first time, I was able to go too.

We had VIP seats only in the second row, and the Lord Mayor of Birmingham was, quite aptly, seated right in front of us.

We arrived ahead of time and bought sandwiches and cakes to eat at our seats, and we took a doggy bag home for Dad too as he couldn’t eat all of his in one sitting – they were very big portions.

blog 02
“Veterans’ Sweetheart” Sarah Dennis. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

For half an hour we were then entertained by “veterans’ sweetheart” Sarah Dennis, who sang for the crowd and had everyone joining in with familiar songs.

Then the standard bearers, representatives of the armed forces and the guard of honour took their positions for the service.

blog 04
Standard bearers. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

The service didn’t take too long, it was just the right length, and was intermingled with speeches, readings and hymns.

The last post was sounded, followed by a standing observation of silence., then everyone joined in with a few choruses of Land of Hope and Glory, once again led by Sarah Dennis.

blog 05
Following the wreath-laying. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

We didn’t stay around for the march-past, as it wasn’t happening for a while after the service finished and we needed to get back for the dog.

Also, Dad was a bit tired and didn’t feel up to joining in.

Despite the threat from the sky of a storm, the weather stayed dry and mild for us.

After taking Dad home, we headed back ourselves after having a nice day out.