Silence has fallen on Saint-Symphorien’s military cemetery as the sun goes down in the West. The grey Commonwealth-issued tombstones cast long shadows over the manicured lawns, and the roses have started shedding their petals one by one. I cannot help but wonder whether they are military-issued too. Previous visitors have left a handful of stones on a Jewish soldier’s grave. I do the same and walk on between the narrow alleys. The cemetery is not the largest in the region; only 513 of the 3,700 British and German soldiers who died in Mons in late August 1914 are buried here. In the aftermath of the slaughter, many of them were hurriedly inhumed in local cemeteries, or their bodies were simply accounted as missing. Continue reading
Cardiff will always hold a special place in my heart. As I was telling you in a previous post, I fell in love with it as soon as I got off the London train on a cold and dark December. In my mind, the name will always conjure up a memory of frozen nose and red cheeks on evenings at the Bay. I was so cold that I could no longer feel my fingers and Mermaid Quay sparkled with fairy lights. We stopped at the (now defunct) Café Rouge. I remember the warmth of the onion soup bowl around which I wrapped my hands and afterwards, the icy wind as we walked back to our hotel. I loved that winter, as I have loved every winter there ever since (though it is of course very nice in the summer too).
For the past twelve years, I have been in a beautiful – though challenging – relationship with a brilliant Italian man. We have had our ups and downs, like in any relationship, but our ups have been peaks and our downs, abysses. To be fair, I have known from the beginning that our story was doomed, as it has been plagued by further complications, namely: