Saturday, 8 November 2008


So, November already. I've spent all afternoon raking up beautiful pink and orange cherry tree leaves in the garden, and planting bulbs which I'll now forget all about until they cheer me up on some still far away spring day next year.

I've just come back from Bruges, which is beautiful - all medieval architecture, horse-drawn traps and autumn leaves drifting through the November fog into canals full of swans. They have amazing lace, very tasty beer and every object, person or animal you could ever imagine made out of chocolate. I bought a chocolate Pope, just for the rather bizarre experience of eating him.

There were also hundreds of British tourists, many visiting World War One sites to commemorate Armistice Day on 11th November. I've written about Armistice before, and was annoyed that I'd forgotten to take my white poppy with me to wear instead of a red one.

Both of my previous posts on the subject prompted some interesting responses last year, and lots of people also got in touch to ask where they could buy white poppies. It's a bit late now to buy them online, but there is a map here showing all the places you can find shops or people selling them in the UK.

I'll be wearing mine on 11th November, when I always try to be in a crowded place at 11am to observe the silence. The silence of a large group is incredibly powerful, and it's a tradition I've always liked - I remember mass silences being called often during protests against the war in Iraq, and what it does to the mood of both participants and observers is quite moving.

I'm saving all the programmes I want to listen to on i-player until tomorrow, when I won't be able to turn the radio on without being assaulted with cannon fire, hypocrisy and Nicholas Bloody Witchell.


James Higham said...

Missed you greatly, Alice.

Steve Hayes said...

Still haven't seen any white poppies on TV, though there have been lots of red ones, long before 11th Nov.

merrick said...

Really glad to have you back Alice, and thanks for the link to your piece on remembrance, I hadn't read that before.

Like you, I'm used to my politics containing very clear certainties and absolutes, whereas remembrance calls for something much more intricate if we are to act with conscience.

It took me a wordy meander to explain my position too.

therapydoc said...

Technology is amazing, isn't it? Love those fish!