Friday, August 8, 2014

And There Were Poppies Too

After having had a lovely few days in Ireland last weekend I took myself off for a day in London yesterday.  I spent the morning in the Chelsea Physic Garden, somewhere I'd never visited before.

It is an oasis of calm, surrounded by beautiful buildings.  As someone who is very interested in the properties of plants, especially for healing and dyeing I found it all fascinating - and the glasshouses were fab too :-)

After a short tube ride and an unplanned walk from Green Park (courtesy of 'significant delays on the Piccadilly Line') I arrived at the theatre to see this:

I never managed to see it in the 80s when it was first on and all I can say about is that it is totally brilliant.  I've seen many many West End shows over the years and this has to rate joint first (joint with Phantom of the Opera which I saw with the original London cast in the 80s).

Then I set off on a long walk - first of all along the south bank where I wanted to see some of the Books About Town benches.  These are 50 benches in all designed to celebrate London's literacy heritage and to promote reading for pleasure.

William Shakespeare

Julia Donaldson and Alex Scheffler
If you're in London it's worth taking the time to find some of them as they are all so different and such fun (and free!).  The War Horse bench was my favourite.

Micheal Morpurgo's War Horse

But the poppies on the bench weren't the only poppies I'd come to see.  I had come to see the Tower Poppies - an art installation by ceramic artist Paul Cummins with setting by stage designer Tom Piper entitled 'Bloodswept Lands and Seas of Red'.   888,246 individually made ceramic poppies will be 'planted' around the moat of the Tower of London, each one representing a British Military fatality during the 1st World War.

They start off tumbling out from a window in the Tower

and meander their way along the west wall (clicking on an image will enlarge it)

before appearing to leap over the main entrance bridge.

At the moment they don't go much further than this but by November the sea of red will completely surround the Tower.

You can find more here, including a video of how they were made, and also how to buy one if you so wish.

If you're in London between now and the end of November it really is worth visiting this very poignant and beautiful tribute to the British Servicemen and women who died fighting for us in the 1st World War.


Debs Dust Bunny said...

What a lovely day out you had! Andy and I are off to the new Jacobean theatre at the Globe soon. We hope to make a visit to the Tower to see the poppies in person. We've also purchased a poppy so we will own a piece of this incredible art installation. Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos. Debs X

elaine said...

What an amazing day you had - I loved the benches and the poppies are utterly amazing - imagine the work that went into it!

Gina said...

You have convinced me that I must make time to see the poppy installation Su. The benches look wonderful too.

Anna said...

Sounds as if you've been having a great time Su. Would love to visit the Chelsea Physic Garden which I've passed on my way to the Chelsea Flower Show but have never ventured in. Hope to follow in your footsteps later this year to visit the Tower and maybe squeeze in some of those brilliant looking benches.


Gosh - I'd not heard of that poppy exhibit but it really brings in all home to you, doesn't it. The benches look great fun - were they comfy? xCathy

Marigold Jam said...

Me too! I want to see more of the 50 benches sometime and I'd love to go back in November when the huge poppy which has the roof of the Tower as it's centre will be revealed although I guess one couldn't see it except from the air! I don't know how but I seem to have lost you from my blogs I follow list so am off to put you back on!

Jo said...

What a fabulous day out you had. I've heard about the Chelsea Physic Garden, somewhere I'd like to visit myself, it looks so peaceful. I've never seen Miss Saigon but it's a show I'd love to see. I know it's on Eleanor's wish list so we'll definitely see it if we ever get chance. Those benches are fabulous and the poppies at the Tower are just amazing, such a breathtaking display. What a lot you piled in to a day.

Rustic Vintage Country said...

Those benches are amazing, I love them. The poppies must have been a special sight though and to see it completely covered in November will be very a poignant reminder. x

Annie Cholewa (aka knitsofacto) said...

Ooh, I'd love to see the poppies and the War Horse bench. Looks like you had a great time :)