Everything’s coming up… Poppies!

You know the saying, “Everything’s coming up roses“…

Well, that’s how it feels to be back in London.  Rosy. 

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What better way to “step back” into life in  London than to take my favorite Friday walk from St. John’s Wood to Borough Market, a 6+ mile journey that is always enhanced by the company of a good friend en route.  This was like my Welcome Back Walk, highlighting the best of iconic London.  We strolled though beautiful Hyde Park, past the imposing Buckingham Palace, along the bird-lined shores of St. James park’s ponds, under the looming shadow of Big Ben and Parliament, along the Thames, over the Millennium Bridge, past the Tate Modern and the Globe, along the cobbled streets to Borough Market.

Here I loaded up on my usual groceries, buying too many candied and chocolate coated nuts from Turkey; spiced olive oil, aged parmesan, and thin prosciutto from Italy; and various pot pies from the English country side.  I tried something new and fell in love with mini coconut pancakes from a Thai vendor.  They were curiously sweet and tangy at the same time.  Then I enjoyed my favorite veggie/halloumi burger al fresco on the outskirts of the lovely Southwalk Cathedral.

With sore feet and a full stomach, my friend and I jumped in a taxi to take a quick ride over to the Tower of London.  As a veteran expat, I avoid the Tower with its predictable crowds of camera clicking tourists and jovial scripted Beefeaters.  However, this visit was intended to view the poppy installation designed to commemorate the lives of those who died in the First World War.

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Each ceramic flower on the grounds of the Tower represents the loss of a single British or colonial life during one of the bloodiest and darkest periods of modern history.  The bright red poppies carpet the dry moat all around the Tower, a place were young men were enscripted to the services years ago.  The flowers in the art installation are pictured spilling out from the windows of the Tower, over its walls, and into the grounds, symbolic of the bloodshed in war.

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Poppies have been added gradually and will continue to “grow” before the final flower is laid on November 11th, Armistice Day.  I found it particularly poignant to see a volunteer “gardening” among the poppy field.

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Poppies were not randomly chosen.  In the UK, poppies are a symbol of remembrance for those who died in combat.  Small artificial poppies are often worn on clothing every Fall until Remembrance Day celebrations which take place on Armistice Day every year.

I found the exhibit very moving, and its vast scale was both breathtaking in its beauty and overwhelming in its symbolism.  For me it sparked another thought of remembrance.

I was reminded of how much I love the city of London and cherish my time here.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

May September 9, 2015 at 9:40 am

Thank you, Alex, for the wonderful phtoos. I used to be so upset that we had quite few phtoos together now we have a bunch of great phtoos together thanks to you! I kind of like to be taken in phtoos and to walk so, high heels or not it was a pleasure for me!

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