Just thought I’d post some photos of our church all dressed up for Remembrance Sunday, which this year is on November 12th.  The good ladies of the village have been knitting thousands of poppies since last Remembrance Day, and this is the result.  No, I haven’t knitted any, because my efforts wouldn’t have looked like this:

Sad to learn that the Queen and Prince Philip won’t be taking part in the service at the Cenotaph this year, and will be watching from a balcony.  It won’t be the same without them, but then again they’re both in their nineties, so I’d say they’ve earned a rest.  I always did get a bit worried when they had to walk backwards down the few steps of the Cenotaph after laying their wreaths, so I expect Princes Charles, William and Harry will be in the forefront instead this year.

I always have a tear in my eye when the massed bands play Elgar’s ‘Nimrod’ and Beethoven’s Funeral March No.1.  I think of all those young men and women who died too soon, and somehow the music says it all, doesn’t it?

When I was younger, the bands used to slow down the tempo for the march of the ‘Old Contemptibles’, but of course now there are none left.  Veterans of World War II are becoming fewer too, and it’s natural that successive generations will probably remember the soldiers of more recent wars.  All I can say to that is how it’s a shame we’ve had all these wars in the first place.

One of my grandmother’s sisters was called Somme (they always pronounced it ‘Soo-mee).  As a kid I used to think it was a strange name, but as I grew older I realised that she had been born when the Battle of the Somme was raging.  Nan was one of 14 children (5 others died in infancy), the eldest born in 1900 and the youngest in 1920.  All the others had ordinary names except Somme, who unfortunately died long before any of her siblings.  All 14 are dead now, but their extended families are spread all over London and the South East.  Whenever I visit London I always wonder whether I’m passing any of my unknown cousins twice and thrice removed in the streets.

 

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