Tuesday, 14 October 2014
We popped to London this weekend.
We spent much of our time catching up with a pair of friends who were over from New York, but we did make the effort to get over to the Tower of London to check out this remarkable installation.
There will be 888,246 of these poppies by 11th November, each one representing a British casualty in the First World War. Until I saw these with my own eyes, I'm not sure that I really understood how enormous a number that is. The poppies just seem to spill out from everywhere and wash around the moat surrounding the Tower. It's overwhelming and humbling.
I was very pleased to see that the installation seems to have generated a lot of interest and brought a huge crowd down to the side of the river Thames. Less pleasing was quite how many of them thought that this would be the perfect opportunity for a selfie; some pouting and putting on their best seductive pose as they snapped a picture of themselves in front of a moving memorial to our War dead. Right up there with all the selfies people were taking when we visited Ground Zero in New York. People are weird and seem to have little idea of what might constitute appropriate behaviour in a place like this. Still, they were there and perhaps they'll learn something. You never know, right?
It's possible that I'm a crap citizen: I've never actually been to the Tower of London before, and we didn't actually pop in this time either. We walked around the moat, admiring the poppies, the ravens and Traitor's Gate... but then left the crowds behind and headed off, via the unfathomable tunnels of Bank/Monument station (which are rumoured to be rearranged every night to make them more confusing).
The crown jewels can wait for another day: I had an appointment to get my beard pulled by a very precocious 4 year old, and who would want to be late for that?