Diamond anniversary

On September 16th, 1960 (60 years ago today) my parents got married.

Their marriage has always been a real role model for me. Although they were very different as people, they were true partners in everything, always proud of the other, lifting each other up, encouraging the other in separate and common endeavors, each person allowed to be themselves within their union. Even as a youngster I always thought that if I ever marry, that is the kind of marriage I would aspire to. If I couldn’t have that then I would rather be alone and to this day I still feel that way. I wanted be in love with my best friend through thick and thin, I wanted to be able to completely show myself and be accepted for who I am just as I would want to be able to accept the other completely for who they are, just like my parents did, warts and all, with open lines of communication and no taboos between us. I am lucky I found someone like that. I am ever grateful to my parents for showing me that such a partnership is possible and that I didn’t need to settle for anything less.

I wish papa were still with us to celebrate this day. At least the sun is shining today, just like it did on her wedding day my mother told me this morning on the phone.

(A rose in the sunshine in our back garden today)

Happy diamond anniversary to my beloved parents!

21 years

Mr Esther and I got married 21 years ago today…

… and he’s still my favourite person in the world!

On to at least another 21 years! ❤️

20 years

We got married on July 26th 1999…

… and 20 years later on July 26th 2019 we still love being together!

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We’re old and fat now but happy. 🙂

Esther in Leicester

I kinda like the alliteration of that. 🙂

So, yesterday was Leicester(shire) day with the family and I can tell you Leicester really is all about Richard III. For me personally, it was all about Richard Armitage as well of course.

Leicester is a little over an hour away from our campsite. We were late getting away in the morning and then got lost on the way in Kettering, looking for a gas station and then for a place to use the bathroom (the gas station didn’t have that, they said), so by the time we finally got to Bosworth it was after 1 pm! Bosworth is the place where Richard III was killed on August 22nd, 1485 in battle against Henry Tudor. There’s a museum but we didn’t take time to visit that, we just traipsed over the battlefield site and monument…

By the way, even the bathrooms at the Bosworth site are Armitage Shanks. 🙂 I also very much liked a chain mail necklace I saw, but as I don’t wear militaria (and to what occasion would I even wear such a necklace?) I decided against buying it.

After Bosworth we drove to Leicester but before we got there, we made sure we passed through the village of Huncote first. It is well-known to Richard Armitage fans that he grew up there, so naturally, as we were near anyhow, I thought it might be fun to drive through it. We didn’t get out or anything, just drove through and got a very quick and fleeting impression of the village.

There’s a pub…

… and a church and a village green…

… and I saw a sign to the primary school but was too late to photograph it (we didn’t have the time to drive to it either). So, the impression was fleeting but it looked like a lovely village in the middle of a very green countryside. You can hardly imagine that it’s so near to a big city. Within five minutes, however, you find yourself driving into the outskirts of Leicester, which is a very busy city…

At the request of my son we drove by Leicester City football stadium…

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The parts of the city that we drove through didn’t look great until we got to the city center. After we parked, we walked into the center and this was the first part we saw…

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One of the buildings is the Radio BBC Leicester building, which immediately made me think of Richard Armitage again as he has been interviewed for Radio BBC Leicester before.

In fact, over on Richard Armitage Central there is a link to an interview where Richard speaks about Richard III on BBC Radio Leicester! Very fitting with our visit there yesterday!

We of course also visited the cathedral which is where Richard III is now buried. The black embroidered cover was used during his reburial procession and ceremony.

Some more impressions of the very nice looking center of Leicester…

We also went shopping there, it’s a very good place for shopping. There’s a huge mall right there in the center, good for year-round all-season shopping. It also had this store:

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In Colchester I had come across Mr. Darcy, here in Richard-Armitage-city I fittingly came across Mr. Thornton. 🙂 Is it a coincidence that both are sweets / chocolate shops?

For all its Richard-ness (the Third and Armitage), Leicester was also the city where Mr Esther and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary yesterday! For that alone, it will remain a bit of an extra special place. My son took a few pictures of us and the four of us had dinner in an old bank building that is now a grill restaurant with a very nice ambiance.

Yes, Esther very much enjoyed being in Leicester!

Hate, Loss and Love in two days

These are emotional times… what’s happening in the UK and the US politically is deeply affecting me. It’s hitting home because I love so many things about these countries and it’s painful seeing that fear and intolerance are taking over there. I also wonder what that means for my own country which is dealing with some of the same issues and could take it’s cue from the US and the UK. We have elections coming up soon and I am very afraid for the outcome. Today, January 27th,  is Holocaust Remembrance Day and everyone says “oh, we must never forget the lessons of the past!” and yet the Western world seems to have forgotten already! I was reading a piece in ‘The Independent’ newspaper about Holocaust Memorial Day and the rise of antisemitism and xenophobia now and this quote struck me especially:

“The Holocaust didn’t begin in the death camps. It began with words. It displayed the most destructive of human behaviour – indifference, ignorance and greed. The choices made by ordinary people contributed to the deaths of millions.”

I visited Auschwitz this past summer, it’s one of the most sobering and heartbreaking experiences and a very powerful reminder of where hatred against certain groups of people can lead. In the US it’s starting already with immigrants, refugees and Muslims being ostracized officially now by the Trump administration, with a ‘me first’ philosophy prevalent and an attitude of building walls over bridges. I am afraid that it can not be stopped, I am afraid of who else will follow suit and I am afraid where this islamophobia / xenophobia and ‘me first’ philosophy will end… Now is the time to speak up against this, now is the time to try to act against xenophobia, before it is again too late. German anti-Nazi Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller once said this…

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I have been reading in certain places about people not understanding why opposition to Trump is so fierce right now, of being scared of that fierceness and wanting to give the man a chance first. I, on the other hand, can not understand why people of good will are hesitant to oppose him. After a first week of Trump presidency I am starting to almost be paralyzed with dread for the future by the words I hear coming from the Trump administration; I have not seen a single action I can even remotely support! I just now read the White House’s statement to commemorate this memorial day and part of it reads…

“In the name of the perished, I pledge to do everything in my power throughout my Presidency, and my life, to ensure that the forces of evil never again defeat the powers of good. Together, we will make love and tolerance prevalent throughout the world.”

and I honestly wonder how this statement rhymes with all the executive orders we have just seen signed in the past week. I see no love or tolerance in any of them! All I see is prejudice, the bottom dollar and ‘me first’. I ask you – which alternative is worse: peaceful yet loud opposition to Trump and his policies or allowing people to be ostracized by Trump and allowing human rights and basic freedoms to be endangered? I can’t allow the latter so I have to choose oppostion… and this is coming from someone who hates conflict…

January 27th is not only Holocaust Memorial Day, it is also the birthday of my father. He would have been 83 years old today, it’s the second birthday without him after he passed away. He dedicated his life to combatting antisemitism and islamophobia and if not for myself I at least owe it to him to oppose this hate mongering in any small way that I can. I still keenly feel the loss of my father but I am so happy he does not have to witness these political times, he’d have been horrified…

Luckily the world is not only filled with hatred… it helps to remind myself that I am blessed with a lot of love in my life! Yesterday marked the 25th anniversary of when my husband and I got together.

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The picture on the left was taken when we were a week into our relationship, the other picture was taken yesterday by our daughter. We’re definitely older and larger but we are still very happy together. With all the turmoil in the world, this love is something to hold on to even more closely as we try to stand up to all the harshness out there in the world.