A trip to London can be likened to Marmite.
You either love it or you hate it. I actually love both.
As soon as the train arrives in St Pancras station I feel part of a much bigger world; a very busy world, with people of all nationalities going here, there and everywhere – the ‘buzz’ is infectious.
On a recent visit to the capital, having enjoyed a rather special afternoon tea to celebrate the end of my friend’s treatment for breast cancer, we went on an open-top bus tour on one of the many routes round the city.
The weather was perfect, and we had a very informative guide on board, so it was simply lovely to sit back and watch and learn.
We learned a great deal but to me the most significant part of this trip was when we passed by the Tower of London.
Here we witnessed volunteers laying 888,246 ceramic poppies in the dry moat surrounding the Tower; each flower representing a British or Colonial military fatality of the First World War.
It was such a memorable sight and despite the motion of the bus I was able to get a reasonable photo which you can see on the right here.
With the nation marking the centenary of the start of the First World War, I had to research this amazing feat, called: “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red”.
These were words borrowed from the will of an anonymous man who died in Flanders.
The last poppy is to be laid on November 11 – Remembrance Day – with a bugler playing the Last Post every day in the lead up to this, with names of the fallen being read out daily.
The human toll of war is hard to appreciate and to understand but seeing this array of poppies, even though the piece was unfinished, was humbling.
I hope to return in November to see the moat filled.