This year has been a particularly poignant time for me and my husband.  We recently visited France and Belgium to pay homage and remember our 3 great uncles who lost their lives in World War 1. Visiting the many graveyards and memorials brought home the reality of the huge loss of life during those 4 years. It is estimated that over 16 million people died and so many of these were young men.

This weekend saw the commemoration of the start of the First Battle of Passchendaele 100 years ago. The Battle of Passchendaele in 1917 was a long, arduous and murderous affair fought on the Western Front between July and November.

Being a genealogist is akin to riding a rollercoaster at times, it can be a great joy, be totally frustrating and the next minute very rewarding. This week I think I must have been on the ‘Big One’ at Blackpool as the troughs and peaks have been frequent and rapid as I experienced the whole gamut of emotions.

A not so little hidden gem can be found on the road into Halifax, West Yorkshire.  We were travelling through from Hebden Bridge and there before us rose Wainhouse Tower, a Victorian Folly. It wasn’t advertised, but you can’t really miss its great bulk.  A small unmarked footpath beside a graveyard led us to the entrance, where we found several families waiting their turn to climb the Tower.  On asking the Calderdale Council staff member when the tower was open, we were told, “on Bank Holidays and Father’s Day!” he replied in a friendly Yorkshire accent that made 'Father's Day' sound like 'Feather's Day'. As luck would have it just so happened we were passing on May Day Bank Holiday.

An early start would be just the thing, he said! Up and out for five thirty and be down the M6 before it had time to wake up. As it turned out, a more leisurely seven a.m. was the hour that greeted our departure from home, with my husband full of ‘we’re doomed’ at the prospect of tackling one of the most notorious stretches of congested motorways in the country. “There’re roadworks as well you know” he intoned in the gravest voice as we approached the junction which would surely lead to nightmare and despair! We swept up the slipway and settled into a steady stream of traffic, which appeared a little at odds with his doom-laden predictions.

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