After a cold, wet & pretty miserable weekend, I had a lot of work to get through before the fun could begin. The kids amused themselves for much of the day, drawing, reading, watching tv (and I may have snuck out for a couple of episodes of The Flintstones with them) and general running amok, before it was time to head off for swimming lessons. And it all fell apart from there, at least as far as the X-man was concerned. I don't know what it is with him, but he's generally pretty reasonable, until you add water. He morphs into some unrecognisable, horribly behaved creature the minute he gets into the pool. Every.Single.Week. I give him the pep talk on the way to swimming - lots of positive talk about how fabulous it will be if he tries really hard. He promises to behave, promises to listen to his teacher. And then it happens again. Every.Single.Week.
So he's about to find out that I'm serious when I say his lessons are about to come to a grinding halt. He doesn't think I'll do it. But I will.
But today we all woke up happy again, and headed off to the Australian War Memorial for a few hours.
The building was opened in 1941, and consists of the central commemorative area (including the memorial pool with the eternal flame, the cloisters down each side with the roll of honour - the names of Australians who have been killed in conflict, and the Hall of Memory, with the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier), the museum galleries in wings to either side and a new section at the back, and research facilities.
But the thing that captured the children's imagination most on this visit was the dioramas. We only got as far as the WWI galleries - the amount of death and mud and destruction in that area was enough for now.
The following paragraph is the description of the Mont St Quentin diorama from the War Memorial's website:
This diorama [below] relates to Mont St Quentin on 29 August 1918 when the Germans fell back to the line of the Somme west and south of Péronne, closely followed by the 5th and 2nd Divisions. Here the right and centre of the Australian Corps were brought to a standstill, first by the destruction of the bridges across the marshy southward stretch of river; second, by the immense tactical strength of the right-angled bend of the river in the vicinity of Peronne. Successful action by the 3rd Division on 30 August north of the Somme, however, led to enemy retirement on to Mont St Quentin and Peronne. That night the river was crossed at Feuilleres by the 2nd Division, which in three days of fighting against the Prussian Guard, completely carried the height of Mont St Quentin at the angle of the river commanding Péronne, while that town was captured by the 5th Division on 1-4 September by fierce hand-to-hand fighting. This turned the flank of the Somme line. The diorama shows the 6th Brigade about to resume the attack from Elsa Trench.