Inspiration

I was hoping over the last few days, as this day approached, to come up with something to say, but it still hasn’t come to me.

A friend suggested that perhaps I should write about the voices of history or the fact that on the doorstep of what is to be the sixty-ninth anniversary of the death of the crew of LL637, EQ-P, I have received more information which brings me another step closer to finding the final piece of the puzzle, the answer to their final moments. I tried writing about both today and it just didn’t gel.

With Norm, Larry, George, Bill, Bob, Jock, and Bud so vividly on my mind as always on such a day, I find myself looking at their photographs. I never tire of looking at these moments in time captured for eternity. Their lives were short but they made the most of every moment.

Perhaps that is the point, the boys are an inspiration. They inspire me to keep going when things are tough, to work hard, and to be a better person. They inspire me to make the most of every moment.

Background

Sixty-nine years ago, on the night of 15 March 1944, RAF Bomber Command detailed 863 bombers to bomb Stuttgart, Germany.

The bombers, typically manned by a seven man crew of young men between the ages of 19 and 30, headed out from their bases across England on a round trip that would take about seven hours.

Not all would return. This operation would see the loss of 37 bombers and around 260 men.

Attacked by German night-fighters or hit by flak, a few of these men would jump from their burning bombers and parachute to the ground, with help they would evade capture. Some, not so lucky, were found and taken as prisoners of war.

The vast majority simply never made it out of their aircraft. Some of those men disappeared as their aircraft exploded in the sky over Europe. The rest would be found dead, many of them badly burnt, among the wreckage of their Lancaster or Halifax bomber. This was the outcome for the boys of LL637, EQ-P.

Advertisements

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unique

Not unlike my internet connection bouncing on and off like a yo-yo, I couldn’t decide what to do for this week’s photo challenge, unique. I took photos of my hands and fingers with the idea of fingerprints. I have a rather amusing story about fingerprints and another that is rather emotional, but in the end I looked through photographs taken some time ago and this jumped out at me as the perfect example of unique.

Air Gunners

Most of you are probably wondering what is so unique about a museum display. This picture was taken within building 3 of the Yorkshire Air Museum which houses the Air Gunner’s display. I went to the Yorkshire Air Museum specifically to see this room as part of my research for my book. Many of you know my cousin, Bud, a tail gunner in a Lancaster bomber during WWII, died doing his job. “The room, believed to be the only one of its type in the world, is dedicated to the memory of the 20,000 Air Gunners who lost their lives in WWII.” (Yorkshire Air Museum Allied Air Forces Memorial Visitors Guide, pg 8). That makes it pretty unique!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Thankful

Last week was quite busy. From Wednesday afternoon to Friday morning I had guests. Barbara, one of my visitors, is the niece of the mid upper gunner who flew in the Lancaster, EQ-P. Her uncle and my second cousin, Bud, the tail gunner, were the two youngest members of the crew, aged 19. Barbara and I had met once before when I was in the UK two years ago doing my research for my book. I was thankful she got a chance to visit so we could catch up with each other.

On Friday morning, just before they left, there was a very unusual occurrence. A Rainbow Lorikeet made an appearance at the far side of the pool. We watched from the window, curious. It looked as though it was trying to lean down to take a drink. After a few unsuccessful attempts at reaching the water, it slipped and fell into the pool. I expected it to fly right up, but instead it flapped its way across the pool and pulled itself out on the side nearest to us, completely drenched.

Barbara, her friend, and I, all stood inside at the window, taking photographs of the bird. It was beautiful and seemed completely unaware or unconcerned about us. My dog also watched from about three feet away on the other side of the fence.

It seemed quite happy.

It cleaned itself and walked along the pool edge back to the far side.

Eventually it disappeared behind the water feature and into the greenery. We put our cameras away and Barbara and her friend soon headed out to travel on up the coast.

Later that morning I happened to glance out the window, and there at the bottom of the water feature was the poor Rainbow Lorikeet, dead, floating in the pool. I felt bad I hadn’t kept a closer eye on the bird. I scooped it out and took it away.

When I had a chance to look over the photographs I had taken, I was thankful to have had a chance to watch the little bird and capture some lovely pictures of its last moments.

The Curiousity of Research: Now You Know

I received an email from my editor on Remembrance day. Attached was the next section of manuscript edits. It felt right getting the edits on the day of days to remember. Sometimes it seems the boys keep pushing me on to finish.

For now the painting will go on hold so I can get this third section sorted. I think I am about half way through now. It is a hard section to edit though. I expect more than a few eyes would glaze over with the amount of information, so it it is time to painfully take out bits and pieces and smooth it out a little.

One thing that I have found curious in this whole process is the change from knowing little to knowing loads and how it has changed me forever. My editor often notes words that I need to add to my glossary or define within the text. In the beginning, I didn’t know many of the terms myself, but after so much research it seems odd now to think people don’t know what these words mean.

For example, if you were reading a book discussing the air force during WWII, would you know what was meant by dropping “window”? It is likely in the beginning of my research I didn’t know exactly what “window” was, but somehow my research has become so ingrained, it is like I have always known. It has become a part of my common vocabulary, a part of me. I actually struggle with the fact that others do not know what it means. It is curious to realise I have been assimilated…kind of like the Borg. That’s a bit scary really.

Anyway, for those of you now curious to know about “window”, this is what it looks like. Yes, that unassuming silvery foil stuff there that looks like stiff Christmas tinsel. By the way, this particular bit was dropped in Hilsenheim, France some time in 1944 or 1945.

For the more curious of you, here is a closer look.

Window was bundled strips of foil cut to the same wavelength as enemy radar. It was dropped from planes. The Axis relied on radar, with its electronic echoes, to locate the incoming bomber stream (hundreds of planes fully loaded with bombs and incendiaries headed for a target) and give warning and location details to Axis fighters to find them. Window created confusing, false electronic echoes, making it seem as though bombers were in one place when they were somewhere else instead.

So, now you know!

Now, I have to go edit!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Big

Sigh. It has been a BIG week.

I have just about had it. I am so tired of snakes showing up and freaking me out. They have at least 40 acres of land behind the house, a whole mountain to roam, and for that matter an acre around the house (although I don’t want them on my property at all!), but where do they go…on my deck! The deck is supose to be a peaceful area, an area for me and my dog to relax out of the sun. The deck is his bedroom, his living-room, just his… DANG IT!

I went into the living-room for two minutes and all of a sudden I hear a skittering of dog claws on the deck. Linus lives on the deck so it wasn’t like the deck was empty. Anyway, I knew something was wrong by the amount of skittering so I ran into the kitchen to see Linus about one or two feet behind this beast standing nearly four feet high off the deck like a waving stick. I ran to the front door and yelled for Linus to come to the front in hopes he would run away from the snake and out of harms way. Finally he came and I got him inside.

I ran back to the sliding screen doors to check on the type of snake and make sure it could not get in the house. We have a hole in the screen and it could easily get in! By this time the snake had weaved itself into the plastic on the screen so I slammed the glass doors shut. It, stayed put. Through the black screen I couldn’t tell what kind of snake I was dealing with but from the far glass door I could make out the colour and finally the head when it turned to check me out.

I ran back to Linus felt him all over for any wet spot and then grabbed the camera to take a few shots for identification and then checked on line to see what exactly I was dealing with. Seeing the colour and the fact it had climbed the screen, to some extent made me feel better as I was pretty sure it wasn’t and eastern brown but I was aware most snakes are dangerous here so my dog could still be in serious trouble.

Luckily it appeared to be a non venomous tree snake and Linus showed no signs of distress. About 15 minutes later the snake removed itself from the screen and slithered off into the pool area and into the trees…

Might I add that weaving itself into the screen and covering itself in spider web and dog hair proved to be a BIG FAIL for camouflage!!!!!

On a happier note, yesterday was a much better day, but I have no pic to show you of the sweetest puppy I have ever seen. She has nerve damage and cannot walk properly but she is so adorable and is such a little trooper despite her problems. I got to hold her and snuggle her. When I got home Linus was sniffing me like made. Mummy had held another dog! That’s okay, Linus gets snuggles and cuddles every day so he was not too concerned once he got over the initial shock of mummy smelling of puppy.

Then I got an email from a friend who has just got a kitten. It too is oh so cute!

I’m hoping things will be calm and peaceful today…

The Last Few Weeks

For the past while I have been pretty busy.  I have been lucky to find time to post a photo now and again.

As a few of you know, I have been sorting my manuscript to be sent to editor.

It finally went last week and so far I have had positive feedback regarding the story as a whole.

Of course I’m sure there will be many things to do once the full line by line edit is under way but I’m taking these last few days of peace and quiet to try to regroup and build myself up for serious edit mode.

I still feel like I have a long road ahead to get the manuscript to a 3D book but I’m happy, so far, just knowing it is moving ahead and the editor is enjoying the read.  With three years of research and writing behind me, I’m hoping I’m over the mountain and on my way down the other side, even if it is long and winding.

One more step forward for the boys!