Good marriages need to be nurtured, they don’t just happen. Ever conscious of this I occasionally take Mrs Flashbang away for a romantic weekend and last week was one of those special times. Now, I’d be close to an untruth if I suggested that a weekend spent swapping one battlefield for another and visiting the battlefields and war cemeteries of the Somme and Passchandaele would be her first choice, but I’m sure it’s right up there. And, given there were 40 other parents from school on the trip, there was plenty to talk about.
Interestingly, battlefield tours have never been more popular, (not just with Mrs Flashbang), with coaches from British schools, regiments, British Legion branches and battlefield tour companies criss-crossing the countryside all over Flanders. At the Menin Gate each evening, you can easily expect to see 1400 people present to watch the Last Post, whereas a generation ago there might only have been a slack handful. The internet is impacting aspects of our lives in the most unexpected ways and interest in history and our forebears is one of the more meaningful. If you have yet to make the pilgrimage, then do. You won’t regret it. Visits are though, inevitably charged with many emotions. That though, is exactly how it should be.