In Flanders fields


FOR 80 YEARS the people of Ypres in the Flanders region have marked the inauguration of the memorial Menin Gate by stopping the traffic driving under the gate’s dome every evening at 8pm and sounding the last post in honour of the fallen.


As part of the commemoration of the 90th anniversary of the battle of Passchendaele the 80th anniversary of the last post ceremony was marked by a high-powered gathering of representatives from all the commonwealth nations that participated in the Flanders fighting during the First World War. Earlier the same day, Her Majesty The Queen attended a ceremony at the Tyne Cot Commonwealth War Graves cemetery near the village of Passchendaele,  to learn more see this Europe cities website.

The special commemoration marked the anniversary of the battle in which more than half a million men from both sides died fighting to advance about five miles over a front of 15 miles.


More than 12,000 graves makes Tyne Cot the biggest of all the Commonwealth War Grave cemeteries.


There are several exhibitions in the area marking the part of Australian, New Zealand, Canadian and other commonwealth armies in the battle, all of them co-ordinated by the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 at the village of Zonnebeke.


They are well worth a trip across the channel for a short break if you want to learn about the battle, for more information check here.


What can you see in Burghley House


The tour of the house’s staterooms takes you about a quarter of a mile through the ground and first floor of Burghley. After the video presentation the first room is the old kitchen, the most Tudor of the house.


Then it is a breathtaking journey through the lavishly decorated and fur-nished rooms. The collection of paintings, tapestries and furniture is amazing. But the ceilings, painted by the Italia Verrio, are the most spectacular. His sion of Heaven in the Heaven Room is e mas-terpiece and his version of Hell a ve the grand staircase down to the Great all is a close second. The two works ha e been cleaned and restored.


Verrio spent ten years at Burg ley on various commissions and by all accounts enjoyed the conviviality of The George


Hotel in nearby Stamford a too much. He apparently loved a rink, a wager and a pretty girl.

Verrio was commissioned by e Fifth Earl, who died in 1700. The Earl nd his wife Anne Cavendish, from the Devonshire family who own Chatsworth House, were responsible for star ng the collections and for refurbishing i essentials its style today.


The couple spent everything ey had and more, undertaking at least for grand tours buying items and gathering inspiration. They died with more than 000 of debts — a huge sum in those days. The estate took 30 years to recoup the money.


The renovations and furnishings they started were finished by the ninth Earl some 90 years after their deaths. You may have already seen those Verrio master-pieces and many of the state rooms even if you haven’t been to Burghley. Part of the film The Da Vinci Code was shot on location here and Burghley also starred as Rosings in the most recent film version of Pride and Prejudice. One to look out for in.