The Last Post
The bugler stands in silent remembrance on the Tower Of London Gatehouse. We remember, we thank, we grieve, we wish it had been the War To End All Wars. We regret. We must change.
ShareMondays2018 – The Deep Shadows
I went to the Tower Of London last Wednesday, to witness the commemorative sound and light display, Beyond The Deepening Shadows: The Tower Remembers by Designer Tom Piper and Sound Artist Mira Calix. Yeoman Warders, members of the armed forces and a team of volunteers proceeded to light the installation, gradually creating a circle of light, radiating out from the Tower as a symbol of remembrance.
It was so evocative, eerily beautiful and a thought provoking tribute to those who fought and died during the First World War. With an estimated 40,000 visitors watching on Wednesday evening, I felt lucky to have a view and was delighted to be able capture some images, so that I could portray the emotional impact that this event has had on me.
As the Yeoman Warders directed the many volunteers to their areas, I couldn’t help but think of prisoners of war, paraded in line, heads hung low, their steps measured and cautious. Under spotlight and the wavering flames of the torches, shadows appeared on the Tower wall. They could have been the shadows of lost soldiers. Wilfred Owen’s poem Dulce et Decorum est came straight to mind:
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
I felt like I was looking down into those dreadful trenches, transported into the past and standing witness to the extraordinary sacrifice of so many. The music was hauntingly beautiful, an extra dimension to this evolving installation. You can download it free HERE to hear the words of war poet Mary Borden’s Sonnets to a Soldier in this specially commissioned piece of choral music.
Set against the backdrop of the Tower with it’s own history as a palace, a fortress, a prison, a museum, with the walls covered in so much of the symbolism associated with wartime, this was a stark reminder of the tragedy of war. I want to say a personal thank you to the Historic Royal Palaces, the Tower Of London and all those involved in the production from it’s conception through to the final note, the extinguishing of the last flame. I was moved to tears.
A Blue For Lou
This was the first common blue butterfly that I found this season. Late and few in numbers! It’s a worrying year for many of our insects after the late wintry weather. To make matters worse grassland, verges, parks and gardens are being cut back far too early and too frequently. There’s absolutely no need for this cutting, there’s a very important need for grasses and wildflowers. My dear friend Lou always understood the importance of letting the grasses grow and flowers bloom. The little garden that I shared with her as her lodger was a haven for wildlife. Dear Lou was terrified of frogs though, which were numerous around the garden pond! Her cat, Smudge, regularly brought frogs into the house as a gift 😂 I often came to the rescue after one of these presentations, rescuing Lou, that is, from the poor little amphibians! I still miss Lou so much but, as ever, she is still with me in my heart and memories. She used to laugh at me chasing butterflies around! She would be very amused watching me over here in Kos chasing blues and coppers around the ancient ruins. She loved coming to the Greek Islands herself so I always feel close to her here. Today is her birthday and my little blue is dedicated to her life, spirit, energy and compassion. In many cultures around the world butterflies, particularly blues, are revered as the returning spirit of a departed loved one. Save butterflies and save souls 💙
Flower Meadow For Lou
Before I sign off for the night I have one last post in remembrance of my dear friend Lou. Today was her birthday. She would have enjoyed the sunshine but, like me, struggled with the humidity! I suspect that if she’d not been working we would have just headed off to Guildford Lido for the day and kept cool in the water. No swimming for me this week as we’re off on our holiday to Kos tomorrow. Last Tuesday this incredible sight of meadow flowers, particularly lots of birds-foot trefoil, greeted mum and I as we arrived at Thorpe Open Water Swimming Lake! Well, Lou would have just loved this too. Completely perfect for a picnic with plenty of Pimms! So this wonderful, golden sight is for you, my dear friend. I know you’d be wishing you were coming with us to Kos tomorrow and I wish we could have taken you. In so many ways you’re with me wherever I go anyway! One of these years a dolphin will finally come to greet us in the Mediterranean waters and I will know that you have sent it to me. Love always xxx
Flowers For Lou
I usually keep Sundays silent but today would have been my dear friend, Lou’s forty fifth birthday. I like to celebrate her life and the time I had with her, as my friend and my housemate, with flowers! This year I have some beautiful peonies to share and a little quote about the etymology of their name:
The Etymological Meaning Of The Peony Flower
The Peony is best known by its scientific name, Paeonia. This is only the name of the genus – individual varieties of Peony feature different individual Latin names. The Peony takes its name from the mythological Greek character Paeon, who studied with the god of medicine known as Asclepius. Zeus had to transform the student into a beautiful flower when he showed more promise than his teacher and incurred his wrath.
Peonies originate from China, as do so many of our favourite blooms. The translation, from the Chinese names this flower “most beautiful”. It really is and so was Lou, especially when she laughed.
Blue Monday: Forget Her Not
Your smile remembered
In the shining eyes of the
Boys you leave behind
Eyes full of wonder
At the beauty of the world
That you shared with them
Your legacy grows
Blossoming brightly in them
Nourished by your love
Each year more flowers
Will blossom in your honour
Stars of blue and gold
For my cousin David and the boys. How I wish I could just open a door, walk through to you all, and hug you! Half a world away but very much in our hearts xxx
Part of Blue Monday hosted by Jeanne at Backyard Neighbor
Blue Monday: Rest In Peace Sally
I’ve been posting blue images for over two years now, linking them to the Blue Monday theme run by Smiling Sally on blogspot. Last Tuesday she passed away after a lengthy battle with congestive heart failure. Although I knew that she had recently had a spell in hospital, the news still came as a huge shock. I have never met Sally and we were very different people in many ways, but I liked her very much! She was a retired teacher, married for over fifty years with a close bond to her family. Many of her posts where about her husband, children, grandchildren or her new great-grandson. They meant they world to her and my thoughts are with them all at this sad time.
Sally always left me such lovely comments on my posts. She was amazed at how many natural blues I found in flowers, birds, butterflies and more! Her meme for the post was of the Blue Jay, a wonderful natural blue bird of the USA. I’d love to see them in the wild one day. She always loved seeing my photos of our Blue Tits from the UK and so this is what I choose to share with you all today, in remembrance of Sally. I will continue to post a Blue Monday every week to continue Sally’s wish to spread some joy and happiness around the world at the start of the week with her favourite colour.
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VCE Chemistry teacher in Melbourne, Australia
Photographic diary of flora and fauna in the United Kingdom. Written by paulfarnfield.com
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Birds, Animals, the Occasional Dash of Whimsy and lots of Pictures.
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