I took a long walk to town and found a Park that was in the middle of it. The park had railings all around and two big gates that were tied back so that you could enter.
It was a place that was very peaceful and tranquil. As I walked around lots of ducks flew over me and the place was full of pigeons nesting in the buildings.
A tiny little bridge took you straight to a swimming bath. There were a few pools to choose from. I didn’t have my swimming wear with me but went to have a look around anyway.
The ceiling was very high and the walls and floors were all tiled. It was bright as there were two huge windows that let in lots of light.
Everyone was laughing and enjoying themselves, some people were swimming and others just sat on the side with their feet dangling in the pool. It was very warm in here, so I made my way outside again.
I walked around the park and saw many animals. There were squirrels and two huge peacocks roaming around the park. I had seen a peacock before, but not this close up. As I watched they opened their feathers like a huge fan and the patterns on the feathers were like eyes. I had been told that they were very spiritual birds and would roam around the palaces of Kings and Queens in India. The eyes were referred to as being the all-seeing eye and that they were like God who sees everything and misses nothing.
The main park was full of soldiers in uniform, they had gathered here today, for a final get together before they went off to war. I managed to speak to a few of them and many of them were nervous about leaving home and going off to train for battle. The main officer in charge asked me if I would be able to do a sketch of all the soldiers. I said that I would and could he call everyone together. It would take a few hours, but we could have a break in between. The officer agreed and I got to work.
I had some soldiers standing in a row at the back and then at the front, the others were knelt down. It wasn’t important to get all the facial features correct, what was important was to capture the soldiers altogether. They tried to smile and look happy, but you could tell that they were anxious. There were over 50 soldiers in this picture. I was given the names of them all and where each one of them was stood or knelt. I wrote every single name down in the correct order.
When I had finished I showed them all what I had done and they could not believe it. They said that you put the uniform on and go about your day, but when you see a picture like this it really hits you that you are in the army and that you may go to war.
I rolled up the sketch and put it away for safekeeping. I didn’t want it to tear it or for the images to be damaged in any way. I was given the name and address were to send it when it was finished and put it n the top pocket of my jacket.
As all the soldiers packed all their bags a band played for them. All of their loved ones had come to say farewell and some would be heading to the train station as well to see them off. Nobody knew what would happen in the coming months, but they all tried to stay positive and passed around words of goodwill to each other.
The park started to empty and as it did, I walked to the main entrance and saw a small child playing in the park with its mother. The child could only have been around 5 or 6. They were both running up and down and then the mother would swing the child around. It was lovely to see, I thought of my own child and imagined that I too was swinging my child around and having fun in the park. I knew that I had to leave and that it was the best decision for both of us, but I couldn’t help think about how much of his life I had missed and no amount of time would ever bring that back.
Just before I got to the gates, a lady started to walk towards me. I walked towards her, but just as we got close, she turned around and walked back out the gates again. She probably had forgotten something and just remembered as she entered the park. The one thing that I did notice was she was carrying the same bag as the lady at the train station. I didn’t get a good enough look at her, but the bag I did notice. It was very unusual and stood out. I walked very quickly out of the park hoping to catch her, but I didn’t make it in time and never discovered if it was the lady from the train station or not.
I continued to walk and straight over from the park was a notice that said
The Boys From Loughborough Grammar School Invite You All To Their Passing Out Ceremony
I followed the notices. It led me to a tree-lined dirt road. There were many houses on the right as I passed by and some of the schoolmasters were coming out of them. I finally arrived at the Grammar school and went in. People were sat down in a huge hall and listened to the headmaster give a speech congratulating all the boys on passing their exams. A few of the boys took to the stage and read about their time at the school and the scholarships that they had been given. Other boys, had decided to become soldiers and join the army. When everyone had finished everyone clapped and then we all had refreshments.
I saw a few girls from the church helping in the kitchen. They were preparing the evening dinner that would be served up. They used huge pots to cook all the food in. Some of the women had to bring their children with them and they were asked to be quiet and sit on small stools why all the food was being prepared.
Outside the boys played games and they even had a firing range.
By evening time, we all sat down and had an evening meal together. This may be the last time some of the boys would ever see each other ever again.
At the end of the evening, we all danced and sang. All the boys held hands and ran from one end of the room to the other cheering and hollowing.
It had been a great day and evening, I am so glad that I visited Queen’s Park and also came to see this magnificent place. If it hadn’t been for the signs I would have never known it was here.