Latest News

As passionate hosts and historians, we’ll be writing regular articles about the past, present and future events at No.fifty6 and the Somme.

If you would like to know our latest news, as well as our insights into WW1, make sure you bookmark this page or sign up to our newsletter.

July 2022  - Scorching Summer News from No.56 - Harvests to Heartfelt Visits

Posted on 31st July 2022 by Julie and David Thomson in General News.

July 2022  - Scorching Summer News from No.56 - Harvests to Heartfelt Visits July  - Phew what a scorcher of a  month – record temperatures, no rain, commemorations, farmers busy harvesting, wonderful guests, and always things keeping us busy but happy at No.fifty6.

While July started off with summer norms, by the second week the temperature went up and up and like most of Europe we had a heatwave. Searching the shade became a new hobby. The second half of the month the temperature has been near normal to high again with more high temperatures expected this week. It’s dry, so dry, the rainfall is really down on previous years. Farmers waited until the worst of the heatwave was over and then began harvesting the wheat – Le Moisson – The Harvest. All around us the fields are golden with wheat stalks, the precious grain collected by the harvesters, much needed to feed this war-torn world. The stalks are rolled into bales and soon the cycle of ploughing and reseeding the next crop will begin. The cycle of life in the fields which saw so much death and destruction continues. 

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June 2022  - Long Days, 2 Wheels Return to fifty6, Friendships Made, Work Done

Posted on 30th June 2022 by Julie and David Thomson in General News.

June 2022  - Long Days, 2 Wheels Return to fifty6, Friendships Made, Work Done June  - Flaming June at times, other times stormy and showery, the weather has kept us on our toes this month – that ,along with all the other things keeping us busy but happy at No.fifty6.

After a very dry Spring we have at last had some rain – some heavy showers and storms which light the night sky as well as hot days. With a record 37 degrees in mid-June when all we could do was search the shade.

Generally though, it is still drier than normal and the tracks and roadways  of the Somme remain dry and dusty. The rain has however let the crops that bedeck all the fields flourish and green of various hues blankets the land – potatoes in flower, maize growing, wheat nearly ready for harvesting  - that cycle of agriculture continuing.

As we write this month’s newsletter we think, as always, of the soldiers who would be in the trenches, under the artillery bombardment which continued in the week leading up to 1 July 1916.  How did they stand the noise, the vibration, the fear, the waiting….? One remarkable man who captured the mood of the solders so well was Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy – an army chaplain who was held in great affection by the men – earning the name Woodbine Willie as he would dish out cigarettes and pastoral care to the men. He wrote much poetry, using the language and slang of the men he moved among.

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May 2022 from No.fifty6 - Spring on The Somme, VCs, Ancestors, Walks & More

Posted on 31st May 2022 by Julie and David Thomson in General News.

May 2022 from No.fifty6  - Spring on The Somme, VCs, Ancestors, Walks & More May - a month which has kept us on our toes. Lots going on, familiar faces and new ones coming through our door. Wonderful weather - hot days and no rain for weeks then a few showers towards the end of the month much needed for the fields of new crop and the wildlife. At month end The Somme has its verdant coat of new growth on, the rolling landscape tinged in shades of green and the promise of summer to come. Blue skies on most days. But the ground is dry, despite some showers of rain and irrigation devices are in place all over The Somme. Guests a raking the most of the long evening with walks post dinner to catch the sunset at Ovillers or Lochnagar. A perfect way to end the day. Peace, perfect peace in a once war torn landscape.

As we watch our guests sitting on the terrace after a day out walking, taking refreshment and pondering what they have seen, or us standing in a spot we love on one of our walks, it brings to mind this poem which we find forever poignant with its musings on loss of a loved one. It is called “After The War”.

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April 2022  - Spring Sunshine, Visitors, 100 Year Old Seats, Beds and Podcasts

Posted on 30th April 2022 by Julie and David Thomson in General News.

April 2022  - Spring Sunshine, Visitors, 100 Year Old Seats, Beds and Podcasts Sweet April….with gentle breezes and warm spring sunshine, blue sky days, sunsets and farmers busy in the fields, April is a sweet moth. Perfect for exploring and so many guests have benefitted from the glorious weather that has extended through all of the month. With just an odd day of rain, it really is a warm, sunny Spring on The Somme. We have been kept very busy with all sorts of things including having so many lovely guests back to stay.

The landscape is changing its winter coat to softer hues of green, and gold. Colza/rape/canola (depending on where you are from)  covers the fields in its golden hue. From our window, under the Somme blue sky we reflect on Ukraine as the colours mirror the Ukrainian flag. Poignant that our now peaceful fields, that saw so much destruction, hold a mirror to current conflicts and man’s inhumanity to man. All that normal folk want to do is live in peace, but certain puppet-masters pull the strings of War. Thomas Hardy writes so well in his poem “The Man He Killed”  about how our enemy – the men in opposing armies -  are just like us.

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March News from No.fifty6 - Somme Spring Sunshine, Stories…..and Snow!!

Posted on 31st March 2022 by Julie and David Thomson in General News.

March News from No.fifty6 - Somme Spring Sunshine, Stories…..and Snow!! March, that in between month, not the end of winter, not summer but the promise of beautiful Spring days. A favourite month of ours. And not without good reason this month – the weather dominated by warm, blue-sky days and very little rain. Our guests could not believe how lovely the weather has been, day after day of constant cheer. Don’t be fooled though, says Mother Nature, there is a chilly front over us at the end of March as we say hello to April and even some snow flurries. So glad we haven’t planted our tender garden plants just yet. So what has been going on this month?...

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We remembered him #otd at his memorial in Pozieres attended by the Maires of both Pozieres and Contalmaison. We pla… https://t.co/2HGwl2SNz9

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