Fly away, Peter…

…Fly away, Paul.

Does anyone else remember that nursery rhyme? Today, for me, it has two meanings, one happy, one sad.

Fly away, Peter: Today is my father’s funeral. His name was Peter. My mother’s ancestors might have said Alav hashalom, zichrono l’bracha (Peace be upon him, may his memory be a blessing). My father’s ancestors might have said Go forth, Christian soul, on your journey from this life. Whichever words we use, he is gone ahead, into that great mystery from which none return, and he is free. There is still a Pa-shaped hole in my reality, but other things will crowd in over time and distract me from the size and shape of it. And I feel strongly that this rite of passage will reconnect me with everything; I’ve felt unmoored and uncertain and unsettled these past weeks. The support of my family and friends has made an enormous difference. This, for example, really lifted my spirits, and I am so grateful!

Fly away, Paul: The Wagtail family have departed, swiftly and silently. One minute they were there, the tiny nest overflowing with three hulking great teenage babies, the anxious parents hovering and darting in with mouthfuls of whiskery insects. The next, they were all gone. I checked carefully on the ground below the nest for signs of tragedy, and in the nest itself, but it was bare. They have flown! I never got the chance to capture the nestful of babies; Mrs Wagtail was too protective and they were too cautious, ducking down when I went close enough to try for a photo. Hard to believe that tiny little bowl held three babies and their mama at one point, in wind and heat and pouring rain…

One life ends, three more tiny feathery ones begin. It’s fitting.

Lest we forget…

The Australian Army Slouch Hat. On the turn-up is
the Australian Army Badge, or Rising Sun.
On the puggaree at front, it shows the badge of
51st Far North Queensland Regiment,
whose motto is
Ducit Amor Patriae*.

Today is ANZAC Day. All over Australia and New Zealand, in Gallipoli and northern France, at dawn today people stood – and will stand – in silence to remember and give thanks. Today, I stood with them. My great-grandfather fought in the Boer War. My grandfather fought in Flanders in the First World War. My father fought in the Second World War, landing on Sword Beach on D-Day II as a 21 year old 2nd Lieutenant. When their country asked, they stepped forward. My brother was a Reservist, as was the Husband. I come from a tradition of service, and I am proud of it. I am also fortunate, because none of those I love or who went before me were lost. So many others made the ultimate sacrifice.

To the men and women of our Armed Forces: thank you for the sacrifice you make, thank you for the freedom we take for granted, thank you for enduring the horror of war on our behalf. Thank you for showing us that mankind has its redeeming moments amidst ugliness and conflict.

To all the Diggers who have hung up their hats, we say thank you. Gone but never forgotten.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
We will remember them.**

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*The Slouch Hat shown above is the Husband’s, and I carried it for him this morning, as he couldn’t be there. The regimental motto translates as: The love of country leads me

** Not many people know the full text of this poem, and it’s worth reading. You can find it here.

Lest we forget…

Screen shot 2014-04-25 at 8.03.11 AM

To all the Diggers who have hung up their hats,
we say thank you.

To the men and women of our Armed Forces: thank you for the sacrifice you made, thank you for the freedom we take for granted, thank you for enduring the horror of war on our behalf. Thank you for showing us that mankind has its redeeming moments amidst ugliness and conflict.

Today is ANZAC Day.  All over Australia and New Zealand, in Gallipoli and northern France, at dawn today people stood in silence to remember and give thanks.

Gone but never forgotten.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Screen shot 2014-04-25 at 8.03.33 AM

AHQ: answering the call

Many of you know that from time to time, I make quilts and laundry bags for Aussie Hero Quilts and Laundry Bags, which go to our Australian service people, letting them know that people back home are thinking of them and appreciating the work they do on our behalf.

Yesterday, I got this email from AHQ’s founder (email quoted with her permission) with an urgent call to action:

Hi all

Just a quick request. I am wanting to increase the number of Fallen Warrior Quilts we have, preferably in time for ANZAC Day. No definite plans but I know that many of the families of the 41 fallen will be together this year and there is a lot of appreciation for our Fallen Warrior Quilts and I know that some of the families who have not received one (because their loved one died before we were formed) would dearly love to. We do not have much time and there is so much on but if you have time to make a few poppy blocks and send them to ME, not Caroline, that would be great.  You just never know what we might be capable of if we try.

The tutorial for the block is here:

 http://aussieheroquilts.blogspot.com.au/2014/11/november-bom-poppy-block.html

And the postal address is in my signature block below.
Anything you can do would be great.

 Cheers

Jan-Maree

 Jan-Maree Ball
Founder Aussie Hero Quilts (and Laundry Bags)
PO Box 248, Cherrybrook, NSW, 2126
Mobile 0422227019
Email: friendsofAHQ@gmail.com
www.aussieheroquilts.blogspot.com.au

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I’m making three of the poppy blocks explained in the tutorial.

Jan-Maree will collect blocks made by many, many AHQ contributors and have them assembled into commemorative quilts for the families of the fallen in time for presentation on ANZAC Day on 25 April. These quilts are always treasured and are an important way of showing appreciation and respect and support for the families left behind.

If any of you quilters out there feel able to join in, and  have time to make a very simple block or two in the next week or so, the tutorial and the address to send them to are right there. Even if you miss the deadline for ANZAC day, the blocks will be kept and used for the next Fallen Warrior quilt, so your efforts will not be wasted.

Go on, get involved and give the families left behind a poppy for remembrance…