Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Lunch at a Civil War & Dinner with America

On Saturday I went to the 10th Fairfax Civil War Day with MJ, Martin & Susan held at Blenheim House. The farm was a camping ground and refuge for Union soldiers who left graffiti and messages over the walls. This was later covered by paint and wallpaper on the first 2 levels of the house but the attic was left undisturbed and a replica of this has been built on the grounds for visitors.
 There were many displays and people dressed in typical garb. I felt for them as it was so hot and humid but some soldiers reassured me that the woolen clothing actually breathed and they could feel the breeze through it. Not so great in winter time though?
There were lots of wonderful artifacts on display and demonstrations of medicinal treatments, a blacksmith, and spinning along with talks on the period throughout the day. 
 Civil War music was played by a SC string band, there was a women's fashion display and an excellent firing demonstration by the riflemen above using Enfield rifles.
 A cannon was fired and I was really lucky to snap my shutter at just the right time. I just wish I could've closed off my ears too, it was deafening.
This soldier and his horse put on a display for the crowd and photographers.
This site will become even more active next year at the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and a Interpretive Center has already been built in preparation for this with an assembly room, exhibitions and gift shop. Until today, I had no idea this place even existed, it's barely noticeable from the road, but I shall return next year.
I left Blenheim Place and rushed down to Alexandria to get in line for my America tickets. There were a few people in front and the guy sitting here has been to about 200 of their concerts. This was the realization of a dream for me. I'd bought their album Silent Letter in the early 80's and been hooked. I'd always wanted to see them and it seems like fate that I'll see them twice this year, tonight and also later in the summer at the Shenandoah County Fair. I got in line and started chatting to a couple, Robyn & Tim. The time soon passed and Rich turned up to claim his ticket as the doors were opened. We all sat together and manged to get a table right in the middle facing the stage.
 America were better than I could ever have imagined and I had to keep stopping and thinking, 'Am I really here?' My eyes filled a couple of times as I so was happy to be there. They sang one of my favorite songs, Lonely People, and Sandman was far better live than any studio recording.
Too soon the concert ended and we had to leave, but the band had promised to meet us out front for autographs so off we went.
While we waited in line, I grabbed a shot of this mixing desk. Who knows when I'll get this close to one again.
Eventually it was my turn to reach the table and I could barely contain my excitement at meeting Gerry and Dewey. We talked about Kent and North Yorkshire in England and about the Canon G10. It was awesome. They asked me to come and say hello at the county fair. Hell, yeah!  Rich kindly took some photos of me and I left with their autographs on a 40th anniversary poster, a Gerry guitar pick and a humungous smile. I also left with 3 new friends. What a superb evening.

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