Old Memorials (Lens Artists Photo Challenge)

Although this isn’t a photo blog, photography is an interest of mine, therefore I thought I’d try my hand at the weekly ‘lens-artists photo challenge‘, but with the added twist of still trying to tie it into the adventures and travels I write about.

This week’s ‘challenge’ subject is history, which is right up my street. So with camera in hand (well on the passenger seat) I set off one lunchtime in Ratty with the intention of photographing something historic!

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Not historic, but you find all sorts of interesting things when you drive off down the little winding lanes. This little side of the road honesty shop sells fantastic looking home made produce – sufficed to say I picked up a few things, it would have been rude not too!  

The thing is, if you think about it, history is all around us. Everywhere you look there are signs of the past and of the people that came before us. Some, like Stonehenge, are obvious to us all, whilst others, like that plaque on a wall that you walk past everyday, not so – they sit there long forgotten by the world around them.

I guess that’s what drew me to these war memorials. There’s probably a similar style memorial in most English villages, and generally beautifully kept and obviously loved – which is why I was surprised to see these two to be in such a poor state of repair.

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These WWI memorials are a marker of the people who lived before us, and were built as a tribute to those that they loved and lost. They were important to these people, they were saved for, paid for, cared for, and looked after with blood, sweat and tears – they recorded and immortalised those that had died and helped a grieving nation come to terms with what had happened to it.

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But as time moves on, and communities die and change, the things that are important to us change with it. These monuments from the past are often neglected and forgotten, left to turn into dust and ash, and like those that built and loved them, to fade away into mists of history, never to return.

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Another thing I thought about whilst driving around the countryside looking for history, is that I was actually driving on it. These roads that we drive on, from the massive high-speed motorways to the forgotten back lanes winding their way through villages, valleys, fields and woodlands. What history must they have seen? How many people have travelled their paths? What were their stories and what errands were they running? As I sit in my little red car and ponder this, just another (strange) traveller along this road – aren’t I just adding to it’s history?

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39 thoughts on “Old Memorials (Lens Artists Photo Challenge)”

  1. Love this post. I wish I’d been there. It’s so poignant and saddening that these memorials have been left to fade just like the memories of the people they were put up for. It’s not right, and I only hope they will be replaced with new monuments so that we can stand before them for all time, and say with pride: ‘we shall remember them’.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you, and I wish you’d been there too – it was a fabulous drive down some VERY narrow back roads – I even had to shoo a sheep out of the road (well I honked at it).
      I hope they are replaced as well, I was really taken aback by how bad they were. I’ve seen some that were a bit poorly off before but nothing this bad.

      ‘Lest we forget’.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. What a heart-felt post, Stuart. 🙂 You’re absolutely right to say that these memorials need to be maintained and these heroic people need to be honored and their memory preserved. I enjoyed your road trip!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! And thanks for letting me join in, I enjoyed the challenge and will be doing some more.
      It is sad when they get like this – I might re-visit them in November (Armistice day) and see if they’d had any attention.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Firstly Stuart I’m pleased to say that I got a notification for this post, and secondly, what a very thoughtful post it is too. It’s easy to pass these things by but you’ve brought them back to life. Love it!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Great post. I seem to end up living near very old churches and the memorials are always heart-tugging and beautiful. I also like what you said about ‘driving on history’. I was just thinking about this the other day–from walking through London to driving back roads in Surrey–I am always struck by the deep history of the UK that is right under our feet (or tyres).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it!
      I’ve talked about this before, but it seems to me that whilst we lack the endless breath-taking landscapes of the US, we make up for in a very long and layered history – you don’t have to go far to find it. I’m glad really you’re enjoying your time here in the UK!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It still awes me the comments I get on my photos – I’ve been taking them for a Looooonnnnngggggg time (25-30 years?) but I always thought I was mediocre at best.
      It is my kind of theme – I needed to work a bit more military history in here!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I totally agree with the theme here – and agree 100% – history is being written even as we speak! To that end, I’ve actually written in a daily journal for well over 10 years now. It’s fun to look back and reminisce about some of the adventures, and maybe someday other people will enjoy reading about them too. These are some great photographs that you captured.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very true thoughts indeed, and thanks for the comment on the photos Tyson!
      I assume you’re talking a paper journal? 10 years, that’s fantastic! Keep them safe. I kind of do the same thing with my camera. I take a lot of pictures of my family and the things we get up too – and print a lot and stick them in albums – hopefully it’ll be nice for my children to have when they’re older.

      Like

  6. I think this is lovely in several ways. I always hear your love of these places in your words, and that is so nice. I love the way you talk about history in general – and these memorials specifically in this post – in such a tender way, like a proud papa showing off the jewels of his life. And I appreciated your thoughts on adding to history just by being out among it all. You make back roads romantic! I’m so glad you decided to do this challenge in your style. That’s one of the things about the challenges that I think are so great – seeing how people put themselves into their takes. And obviously “history” was perfect for you! And I’m going to say this about these old monuments. When I lived in DC and was around all of those amazing, new, shiny marble, brilliantly kept up memorials, they screamed respect. They said – we remember you every single day. And so I agree with you – when I first see these monuments, I think – what a shame to let their memories fade. But at the same time, I look at these monuments and I think they’re so beautiful. They remind me of old headstones – those great, blackened, crumbly ones that make you want to come look at them. They look like they’re in such peaceful, pretty areas like where I would want my memory and my spirit to linger for a long while. And that one that’s covered in moss – I find so poignant, the way it’s growing life and surrounded by flowers. I don’t know, they seem so venerable in their disrepair, like the way old people with wrinkles can seem wise. They remind me of age and death and of the value of life. And they force you to think about the passage of time and to remember what they did so that you could be there now. And when you saw them, they pulled you in and told you their stories. And I think that’s quite lovely. And I also loved you sheep story and your “Lest We Forget.” Thank you so much, Stuart. Very moving post.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. What am amazing comment – thank you for your words of kindness and taking the time to write them. I’m really very pleased that you liked the post and the message I was trying to give.
      I can see what you mean about the peacefulness of them and agree with you. These stones are like sleeping giants, forever watching over those around them. – there is a beauty in them in that respect.
      Thank you again!

      Like

      1. My pleasure, Stuart! Those beautiful monuments may not get the respect they deserve, but you did them a great honor by stopping to spend time with them and share them with us. I thank you for that!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I appreciate how war memorials are such unique places and should not be underrated. In my time in the US, I’d studied and written a paper on how the WWII Memorial was not just a place for remembrance, but how it could also act like a plaza- a public space for the present and possibly the future. You are right- these spaces make you think about so many things and could be so introspective and humbling.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks you! I like the thought of using memorials as public places. It would be a nice tribute to sit in their shadow and relax, and enjoy the freedom that they paid for with their sacrifice.

      Like

  8. Love your post – your ponderings and musings. And yes, aren’t we just adding to history in every way? – we are. Let us do it in a good way, and if we can, in better ways too. Thank you for joining in!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. not sure if you and your wife know this – but college courses in Humanities often have an assignment to commemorate the past – and they have to find a museum or memorial of some sort and expound. And some of the posts that Templeton’s put out are exactly what the assignment calls for.
    To inform – to stir up an appreciate for the past and the way folks have chosen to memorialize – and then not —

    “These WWI memorials are a marker of the people who lived before us, and were built as a tribute to those that they loved and lost.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t know that – but it’s nice to know we’re on the right track, I do hope we’re doing our bit to inspire people and to highlight the past – We’ll have to call ourselves rebel historians! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. rebel
        and modern!
        too often the historians write so dry or too academic – and was just telling your wife that her flow is wonderful and readable – which is helpful for a blog – but for any kind of rich share.

        Liked by 1 person

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