Saturday, 19 September 2015

Learning Something Every Day

I am greatly in favour of the doctrine that says we should each learn something every day. Unfortunately, I'm not sure I manage to put it into practice, particularly as, even when I do learn something, I'm awfully inclined to forget it. I feel like the woman in a New Yorker cartoon from a few years ago who is shown removing the files marked Renaissance Painting and History of the Civil War from inside her head, so enough room  can be made for files marked Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston: Will They Get Back Together and 6-Week Diets for a Bikini Body.

In fact, the main reason I keep (rather haphazardly, I admit) a blog is to try to keep a vague hold on what I've been doing and reading and seeing and thinking.

And what I've been doing lately includes going to Ypres yesterday.

And while I was there I learnt a new thing. Which is why I'm on here now, writing it down quickly before I forget it.

The thing I learnt yesterday,  I did not actually learn in Ypres, if we're going to go for absolute accuracy. I learnt it in Zonnebeke at the Passchendaele Museum, which I have been to before and which I never find it possible to get through without weeping a bit - quietly, discreetly, of course, no howling, but still it's embarrassing, On the other hand, I defy anyone to contemplate the awful losses that occurred in that part of the world and not get upset.

Anyway, the thing I learnt was something everyone else may know already, but I didn't - it was that military tanks are called 'tanks' because when they were first being developed people didn't want outsiders to know that they were developing a military transport device and so they pretended they were tanks, as in tanks for water.

Well, I thought it was quite interesting. Sorry, if you don't agree. Perhaps I can placate you by suggesting you look at the photographs I took in Zonnebeke and in Ypres, which you can see if you look me up on Instagram under my user name of zedmkc

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