At the going down of the sun…

…and in the morning, we will remember them. I’ve just come back from visiting a local church which was holding a flower festival to commemorate the fallen, and those who returned, from WW1. It is very moving to see the wide variety acts of remembrance taking place in the UK and world-wide.

The church display included some clay poppies made by children at the local school – very touching, not quite as flamboyant as the spectacular display planned for the Tower of London. This  new installation by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper commemorates all British deaths from WW1.  A total of 888,246 red ceramic poppies will be arranged around the tower, including a cascade of blood red poppies pouring from a turret window. It is hard to imagine what that number means, but this sea of red will truly help to visualise the human toll.

A_cascade_of_Poppies_

Of course, the vastness of the numbers hides all the individual sorrow and heartache that was experienced as loved ones received the dreaded telegram and had to come to terms with loss (something that still continues today – sadly WW1 wasn’t the war to end wars).

I was researching my own family history recently and came across a facsimile of the telegram my great grandma would have received telling her that her 22 year old son had been killed – the same age as my son now. Luckily her other son (my grandfather) survived (or I wouldn’t be here writing this of course) but how she must have worried until he returned home safely. In honour of my deceased and surviving relatives from WW1, and as a bond across the years from one mother to another, I created my own small commemoration in the form of a tea and cafetiere cosy, which I would like to share on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the day war broke out.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

by John McCrae

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Button heaven

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Just spent a sunny Saturday afternoon wandering through the streets of the lovely and historic Shrewsbury. So many delights from the Tudor buildings to the floral displays, the medieval castle and churches to the street entertainers – which, considering its distance from the sea, strangely included a sand artist?

Found a lovely craft market in the main square run by ‘Made in Shropshire‘, a collaboration of artists, designer- makers and food producers who live or work in Shropshire. Beautiful products on display (not least the meringues the size of my face!!) and what a good idea to unite disparate local artisans under a common (and meaningful) brand in this way.

Of course, as well as drinking in all the history, I did have a weather eye open for a yarn store. Sadly I didn’t find it although apparently there is one – what happened there then? I am now ashamed to hold my head up in the company of other yarn junkies as I should have been able to sniff out a dealer from a mile away!

However, I did find a lovely fabric shop, Watson & Thornton, which also boasted an extensive haberdashery section – including the wonderful wall of buttons you see in the picture. It really was a most wonderful selection of shapes, sizes and colours and looked as much like a work of art as a product display. I was very good and only bought a few that I needed for specific projects (okay, so maybe I haven’t started those projects yet but hey, I could only resist so much temptation) but in the words of Mr Schwarzeneggar….I’ll be back!