Memory is a Strange Thing

I think one of the greatest blessings of the human mind is memory. Memories of mistakes ensure that we learn, and memories of happy times can make us smile even through darker times. Memories crop up in the strangest ways; and oftentimes seemingly random occurrences remind me of a fond memory otherwise forgotten. This is a very personal post about my memories of Great Britain; a place which I haven’t seen since April 2015 but of which there is always a fond memory in my heart.

SAM_4470

Whenever there is sunshine after rain, I’m reminded of scenes like this one and the fresh hope they seem to convey

dscn1010

My time in Britain wouldn’t have been so special without my family. As I get older, I value much more all the adventures we’ve had travelling together.

SAM_1044

All over Britain there are sheep… and here is a Welsh reminder of why I don’t eat lamb

SAM_1090

The nights are getting chillier now, and they remind me of driving through the clouds in North Wales. What an incredible atmosphere

dscn0445

Here I am at Liberty in 2011. My trips to the UK have always been full of the wonder and awe of new places. What I’ve begun to realise over the past year is that this wonder and enjoyment can be found at home in everyday life too!

SAM_1947

Some of the best British memories are of my brother. We are true partners in crime, whether it comes to traipsing through ruins of castles (like here) or drinking pints at the pub.

SAM_2659

In England my interest in WWII was fanned into a fire. Without visiting numerous museums and airfields in 2011, I wouldn’t have gained the fascination or the knowledge I have now.

SAM_2722

There’s a lot of air traffic over Britain– not all of it civilian either! Seeing USAF F-15s take off from RAF Lakenheath is one of my favourite memories.

SAM_4582

Parking in central London is rather cramped. When I took this photo, I cringed to think of how the driver of the Aston Martin would manage to extricate his car!

London 2015 Adair 1167

A good meal reminds me of London. And of course, every “good meal” includes a pint!!

hpim5066

Every time I hear a Black Sabbath song, I think of when my dad and I drove through Birmingham with Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne on the radio. Memory is a strange thing!

Advertisements

Long May She Reign!

This past Wednesday, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II surpassed Queen Victoria as Britain’s longest reigning monarch; giving her even more public esteem and appreciation than she already possessed. She received thousands of personal messages from British citizens and foreigners alike; from all corners of the Commonwealth and even the furthest reaches of the world. But in her typical fashion, Her Majesty marked this occasion with little pomp. She isn’t one to make a fuss, and that is part of what has made her such a beloved and enduring icon throughout the past six decades.

Elizabeth_and_Philip_1953

The day that started Her Majesty the Queen’s remarkable 63-year reign. Image from the Library and Archives Canada via Wikimedia Commons, from the public domain.

Many people have been speaking lately of their experiences of the Queen, and I also have my own experience to share. I saw Her Majesty about ten years ago at Windsor Castle– she was just a distant yellow-clad figure with white hair watching the guards on their rounds, but it was her and I remember that day fondly. Back then I still dreamed of being a princess or a queen myself someday; a dream which is now no more. What has stayed with me, however, is the positive influence given by Her Majesty. She is a strong woman with both a family and an incredibly demanding job, yet not once has she complained nor hardly faltered in her duty. I see hers as a truly positive example, and I doubt I’m the only young woman who views her as a role model.

President_Reagan_and_Queen_Elizabeth_II_1982

I think the Queen is pretty cool– she still rides horses and drives round her estates, even as she nears age 90! Image attributed to Michael Evans, http://www.reagan.utexas.edu/archives/photographs/photo.html via Wikimedia Commons. From public domain

Another reason I value the Queen is because of her dedication to her Christian faith. I am also Christian, and although I find it harder than I think I should to voice my faith, she has showed me that one can speak through one’s countenance and actions as to what one believes. She never speaks much about what she believes, but when she does she speaks with honesty, humility, and compassion. I aspire to live with the grace and humility that she always has.

West_Midlands_Police_-_Diamond_Jubilee_Visit_(7555593638)

Still smiling as she greets the crowds during her Diamond Jubilee. Image attributed to West Midlands Police via Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA 2.0

Duty has always been a defining feature of not only Her Majesty’s 63-year reign, but also her entire life. During the wartime years, she joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service (while still only a teenager), and contributed to the war effort through the decidedly un-royal tasks of changing tyres, driving cars, and servicing engines. I often think of Her Majesty’s dedication when I’m hot, tired, and fed up with a day of work at Mitsubishi!

Hrh_Princess_Elizabeth_in_the_Auxiliary_Territorial_Service,_April_1945_TR2832

Her Majesty began a lifetime of serving the nation way back in the ’40s. Image #TR2832 from the Imperial War Museums, public domain

And while our monarch’s duty has never wavered, neither has her dedication to it. I can’t imagine how she has coped with over six decades of public appearances, speeches, state dinners, and waving, but she has– and she has done it with such elegance and grace. I don’t think there is a human being alive today more tireless or classy than the Queen.

Queen_Elizabeth_II_March_2015

Aged 89, and she still keeps going. What a life she has led! Image attributed to Joel Rouse of the MoD, http://www.defenceimagery.mod.uk/fotoweb/archives/5000-Current%20News/Archive%20(Navy)/RoyalNavy/2015/March/45158590.jpg

You might have gotten the idea that I am an enormous fan of Her Majesty the Queen– indeed I am, because in a world tainted with wanton oversharing, never-ending selfishness, and societies which seem to believe that pop stars and supermodels are the highest authority, Her Majesty is one figure who has remained unchanged by it all. She demonstrates that one needs not show all one’s cards to be respected; that a life can truly be lived for the benefit of others; and that even today class, dignity, and poise can be maintained. I believe that she is the best role model one could possibly be, and she has certainly influenced my life and my aspirations irreversibly and for the better. I hope that she will enjoy many happy more years, because we can all benefit from her service and her influence. To end this post, I will say the only appropriate phrase: God save the Queen!