Why? Isn’t that spending hours trawling through the internet, or your head endlessly stuck in books? Nope, not for me! It’s the chance to pack my bags and get flying to another fabulous location – with the next stop….Venice! I won’t go into the reasons why research is important (that should be damn obvious) but why its so much fun!
It took me years to travel to Italy and I don’t know why it wasn’t on my list sooner, it’s just wonderful! Lake Garda was my first visit, only a few years back (pre-daughter) and we thoroughly enjoyed it, the beautiful scenery, friendly environment and relaxed atmosphere – something I wish we could adopt more of in the UK.
Which brings me to an amusing story…
I remember my husband was keen to try the local duck restaurant, so we booked a table for the evening and headed over, glammed up for a night on the tiles (those were the days!). Turning up at the restaurant though we noticed all the lights were off and other confused customers outside. Luckily a friend of the owner appeared and phoned the owner to see where he was – we all looked bemused at each other as he declared “Oh, he’s too drunk today to open up”. Oh Italy! I love you! This man was either very rich or just very drunk. But I loved his carefree attitude – actually was a little jealous of it! A ladies tour of Rome was fabulous too more recently, more great food, sights and a deepening love of this country bursting in culture.
Back to Venice
Back to our next Italian break though, where we will be seeing the sights of Venice and travel onto Bologna, more specifically to the burial site of my Great Uncle, Frederick.
Frederick died aged 34 only a few months before the war concluded – he is one of the 525 British graves in the Commonwealth cemetery. Such a short life – I often think of both Frederick and my Grandad in foreign countries fighting to survive – the fear they must’ve felt, not knowing if they’ll see their families again. Far long were the days they were scallywags in North East London – they didn’t realise the terror they would face as adults. Luckily Grandad returned, but without Fred. My Grandad was not without his scars though – nor memories, he vowed never to leave London again and he didn’t. I have my Grandads war medals, not that I agree in war at all as an answer to any conflict, but just something to remember his bravery and to keep something of his close to me.
As I sit here tapping out this blog post in tears, I do not expect this visit to be without its emotion too (I have pre-warned the husband I’ll be a wreck). One thing I do know though is that my Grandad would have been incredibly proud of my trip to pay my respects, to his closest brother. That makes me happy. The war cemeteries we have visited before have always been kept to a very high standard and I am comforted knowing that Fred lies in a beautiful part of the world.
From this trip I hope to bring back a mountain of memories which will filter through into the story. Like a jigsaw slowly connecting together, some pieces may take me longer – some dog-eared and not fitting properly until they are tweaked a little.
This holiday will be emotional and unforgettable… I already feel it.
Thank you for reading.
Dedicated to my Great Uncle Frederick Braddick, The Buffs, Royal East Kent Regiment.