Sunday, 12 November 2017

Someone will be sore that they joined the Tumblers' Club

At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month those mounted and on foot stood in silent contemplation of all that others have given and continue to give in the service of their Queen and country that we might enjoy the lives that we have. One such reflection appears at the foot of this post.

During the Great War, when Selby-Lowndes was Master he organised bye days for the troops waiting to cross the channel to the Western Front that they might escape their fears for a few brief hours enjoying the music of hounds and the beautiful British countryside. Indeed many senior officers believed that all of their junior officers should hunt as it "improves the way they read the country." It was not unusual for Subalterns and others to lead their troops "over the top" while blowing a hunting horn.

With thanks to those whose lives or health was given for our freedom hounds led the way to the day's country. With the field at times split between those who wished to jump and those who did not an enjoyable day was had by (nearly) all.

Hats off to our Huntsman for re-mounting after a nasty fall and carrying on for the day - hope that you are not too sore this morning.

The Stern
Who proved that 54 plate Navaras are not the ones that split in half?
Who, once again, shouted "Delete! Delete! as they jumped a fence?

As ever these may be enlarged with a click and more may be viewed by clicking HERE

Feel the sympathy

Hearing and reading the accounts of men who were there at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918 they report many different responses. Some cheered and threw hats and helmets into the air, a rain of headgear replacing the now passed storm of shrapnel. Other men slumped and slept as if they had not found rest for years, some sat, grimy faces buried deep in muddy hands with tears washing cleaner lines between their fingers. Other men lay dying from wounds sustained during the last days of fighting, broken at war and loosing their last battle in the first few moments of peace. Of course men continued to die from terrible physical wounds and savage mental destruction. The latter unable to live with their memories, unable to reconcile their survival with the ghastly deaths of their friends and comrades. The infant psychology was only then beginning to recognise the guilt that survivors feel, the dishonour of living when others died.
In some sections of the line men raised glasses of plundered wine and tried to wash away the memories and others just celebrated.
The stories are the same on both sides of the line with little difference between the vanquished and the victors for all had won peace and all had lost youth, innocence and friends. For many, peace on earth was paid for with their peace of mind. Some blocked the memories for years while others immediately set pen to paper. Those who shared their memories often spoke or wrote of the "best of times the worst of times."
Today, at 11 o'clock we give 2 minutes of our lives to those who gave years of theirs: respectful and grateful: heads bowed and bared in deference, thanking the memories of those old soldiers and thanking those who never grew old. Thanks to those who served before, since and serve still for they won and defend our freedom to stand with the autumn light on our shoulders and the cool breeze across an uncovered head.
Today in a quiet place that might be both public and intensely private there is an appointed time to stand alongside those memories without the sound of guns and the savage symphony of death but not a day should pass when we should not take a moment to give our thanks and appreciate all that we have because of all that brave men and frightened men, lost. Thank you.

"That far away echo" Snaffles

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