Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Two interesting quotes

First off, from Tony Parsons' book "man and boy" here's a bit from page 40. "I can remember seeing Pat smile properly for the first time. He was a little fat bald thing, Wiston Churchill in a Babygro"

Strange, but when I googled for "Winston Churchill" AND Babygro, I got some interesting reading, such as

The second quote comes from Chris Cleave's "Incendiary" (page 9), and of course let's hope that I'm using it out of context. Anyhow, the quote goes :"In the night my boy's room smelled of boy. Boy is a good smell, it is a cross between angels and tigers"
Couldn't have put it better myself....

Sunday, September 21, 2008

More Things we got up to on a Weekend

Remember, she’s doing this for the kids at ALYN so it’d be a good idea to sponsor her.

This time, Gila brought the bike round by car and we set off together by bike to Ramleh, in particular the * CWGC * war cemetery there. I've been documenting it for what started as the British War Memorial Project and has since turned into the War Graves Photographic Project.
Ramleh cemetery is unique in that it covers the entire period of the British presence here, from 1917 continuously till 1948.
After explaining the features such as the Cross of Sacrifice and Stone of Remembrance, and principles such as equality, uniformity and equal graves for enemy combatants (told her about

"Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives...you are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us, where they lie, side by side here in this country of ours. You, the mothers who sent their sons from faraway countries wipe away your tears. Your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land, they have become our sons as well."

what Ataturk said at Galipoli) we started walking between the graves. One of the first things Gila wanted to know was about Jewish graves so I showed her the graves of soldiers from the "Jewish legions".

Through the Great War section, populated with Australian and New Zealand fallen as well as many yeomanry units, many of the fallen being from the battles of Mughar ridge and Tel Gezer and into the period of the mandate, when those who were killed in action fell at the hands of the Arabs, something we'll come back to later, and then into the second world section, marked with British and colonial graves and also French, Greek, Norwegian, Yugoslav, Czech and hundreds of Polish graves. Many of the Poles are soldiers of the Polish 2nd Corps, also known as Anders' Army, which also comprised many Jews who later formed the basis of the Israeli Defence Forces. Here I managed to point out the grave of a Greek Jew by the name of Hirsch, an Indian Jew by the name of Abraham Solomon and sharp-eyed Gila noticed the grave of a woman Palestinian Jewish volunteer (links to the IDF site in Hebrew). Even managed to find in the Jewish section and the Moslem section casualties who served together in the Palestine Regiment.
Time was drawing on, but we couldn't leave without seeing two regular, absolutely normal, graves, with no particular markings apart the usual, unit symbol, name, rank, service number and date of death. Nothing to suggest that here are buried (block 9 row J graves 20 and 21) the two British serjeants, whose abduction and execution were the lowest point in the relations between the Jewish Yishuv and the British, a long way from the heady days after the Great War.

Still, Gila was here in order to ride her bicycle, (and if you click thia link and know the continuation of the lyric, bear in mind it does not refer to my charming companienne) so I said farewell to Ramleh, until the 9th November which is Remembrance Sunday this year, and off we set. She rode the first section with a vengeance, so at Airport City we decided to add onto the route, at Rinattya we added more, at Nebi Tara we went off-road and even there added on and added on, till I was worried that she would have to carry me home.

Verdict – we'll have to do it again, but next time she can leave the car at home and tire herself out before she gets here, otherwise I'm going to be in deep shit.

Treppenwitz has written a series of posts over the past few years, about the cemetery in BeerSheva, two of the best of them are this one and this one.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Why I started this

Now that Gila has caused me to actually have readers, and Batya even left a comment, I suppose I'd better explain that the original idea was to have this as a holding page in honour of my maternal grandfather, Sidney Frank Fooks.

Pictures and archival material about him are at

and an obituary at

so that's why.

People of his ilk are few and far between.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Things we got up to on a weekend not so long ago.

I had the honour to ride my bicycle with Gila of "my Shrapnel" and try to help her prepare for the ALYN ride so that you can sponsor her

Anyway, I'm not going to burden this with a lot of hyper-links, so if something interests you you can (A) leave a comment, or (B) look it up for yourself, or (C) do B and then A if you know what I mean and save us all the trouble of looking it up.

We set it up for a Shabbat moning, and I reckoned with no small amount of hubris that if I left home 10 minutes after she let me know that she was leaving, that we'd meet up in the middle. When I was barely in sight of North-East Petach-Tikva (PT from now on), she called to say that she was at the arch in honour of Baron Rotschild, in other words in P.T. market! She asked what to do next so I replied "slow down!" (or if I didn't I should have...). I chalked it up to her being all excited about meeting me at last, and totally ignored the fact that I was excited (and far more justifiably) about meeting her.

Anyhow we met up pretty much by PT police station, which, like the station in Ramat Gan, was once a British constabulary base and is known as a Tegart fort and headed out of town. First kibbutz we passed on the way was Givaat HaShlosha which has neither a hill (Givaa) nor the Three (Shlosha). It is named in honour of three men from old P.T. who during the Ottoman period were accused of storing weapons for the British (like NILI) and were taken to Damascus never to return. In their honour, a part of PT was named Givaat HaShlosha (and is now a geriatric home), but the kibbutz founded later just outside PT which took the name has no hill. When the kibbutz movements split (Ichud and Meuhad) and people left GHS for Einat, a statue of the three was put up - in kibbutz Einat.

Next our route took us past the castle of Antipatris, guarding the springs of the Yarkon river, and an important place on the old via Maris. Most of whst we saw from the road is from crusader times, but the place dates all the way back to Joshua, when it was known (and still is today) as Afek.

Off-road now, and through the fields of Einat and Kfar Sirkin till we pulled in to home on Nachshonim, which as I explained is so-called because the first settlers here were in fact Jews from Egypt, from the Hashomer HaTzair movement, hope you all understand the symbolism.

After refreshments (and going ga-ga over the little one), we pulled out for the main off-road part. Took us into the mausoleum at Mazor.
" To the south-west of the moshav is an archaeological site, which includes a 3rd Century Roman mausoleum. The mausoleum is the only Roman-era building in Israel to still stand from its foundations to its roof. A Byzantine-era mozaic floor was found not far from the mausoleum."
(ripped off the last bit from Wilipedia)

Into the woods, past the remains of Qula and quite deep into the woods we went, but I was in good company. Showed Gila that if you have stirrups on your pedals, you can ride uphill one-legged, always useful to know.

Then back for more refreshments, by which time gorgeous-little-baby-boy and long-suffering-spouse were off in dreamland, and out again on the bikes to point Gila in the direction of home.

Verdict - we'll have to do it again, soon