Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Friday 28 November 2014

The last poppies

The last of 888,426 poppies
Passing by the Tower the other day, it was possible to see the last of the work to remove the installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, which caused such a stir in the run-up to Remembrance Day. The part of the moat on the riverward side was still being cleared.

Volunteers were hard at work, even in the rain, some lifting and separating the ceramic flowers, each one representing a Commonwealth soldier who died in the First World War.
Others were hard at work hammering the metal stems to separate them from the central button, no doubt for recycling.

From the way the rush to see it in the last few days was reported, anyone would think no-one knew the installation had been growing since August. The cynic in me couldn't help wondering if the solemn announcement by the government that there would after all be arrangements for people to see something of it even after its scheduled end wasn't just a re-packaging of the fact that it would just take this long to complete the removal. 

Here's what it looked like some months ago, well on its way to completion:

Friday 21 November 2014


By the adhesive strength of Marmite, that is.

Being of a thrifty frame of mind and hating to see something I've paid good money for go to waste, I thought it would be an idea to add some hot water to the last scrapings with a view to adding a bit of flavour to a soup or stew or something.

But that, of course, required the lid to be removed, for the first time in a while.

There were pliers involved. And sundry remarks not to be repeated here. But at least the Council won't be complaining about food waste in the recycling.

Friday 14 November 2014

Today's mystery object...

...is a serpent - the kind you blow down to make (if you're really proficient) a sound somewhere between a French horn and a tuba.

This weekend the Painted Hall at Greenwich serves as the impressively grandiose venue for the exhibition part of the Early Music Festival, for makers and suppliers of music and musical instruments.

And an amazing collection of harps and harpsichords, recorders, viols, crumhorns, shawms, bagpipes and other products of great artistry and craftsmanship it turns out to be.

Complete with a programme of concerts by professionals and students, it (almost) inspires a desire to have a go oneself.

Monday 10 November 2014

And round it comes again....

Gog and Magog, legendary guardians of the City
The Lord Mayor's Show, that is. This year's vantage point wasn't so ideal once the latecomers turned up and stood in front with their cameras (and sometimes umbrellas) raised, which means there are no photos of the pomp of the Lord Mayor's Coach and all the flunkeys, but that's all been discussed here before, on more than one occasion.

But the usual mixture of civic pride,  community spirit and historical reminiscence was on display: to add to the traditional robes for the liveried companies and City officers, there were several reminders of both the First and Second World Wars, and an advance warning that next year will be the bicentenary of Waterloo.

If I hadn't been too mean to buy a programme, I'd probably have known why there was an owl leading some soldiers - and fish on Segways; and where else would you expect to see a flying pig?

But be that as it may, as ever, as well as the procession, there were fireworks in the evening (and then it really rained):

Thursday 6 November 2014

Call for Sherbet Holmes...

I could have sworn the bag was full yesterday afternoon.

Sunday 2 November 2014

As I passed through Kings Cross, the Midland Hotel, against the remains of the daylight, looked particularly Gormenghastian.