Sweetbriar Dreams

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Sunday, 2 November 2014

Sunset at the Tower of London Poppies



It's been such a busy half term week with visits here and there, clearing our garage, decorating and Halloween preparations.  But our focus was the end of the week with another visit to the Tower of London's poppy installation.  The News programmes kept reporting not to visit the Tower until after half term due to the thousands of people viewing the poppies, the tube stations nearby had been closed with an explanation of needing minor repairs however with the amount of people making their way to Tower Hill, the stations really would not have been able to cope.  But, we HAD to go on Saturday!  An email had been received from the Tower to say that one of our ancestors was going to be read out at the Roll of Honour at sunset on the 1st November, so I needed to be there.
The News Reports were absolutely correct!  The crowds were HUGE.  Completely surrounding the moat of the near completed installation.  In some places the lines of people were about twenty deep and myself and Miss Teen carefully started maneuvering our way to the closest position.

 But slowly, very slowly, we found gaps to the left.
And to the right.
So many nationalities, all talking, taking photos where they could and shuffling to try and get a better view.  And then, the sun slowly disappeared and the Tower gave off its own glow.
The enormous crowd became silent and still, a very somber moment.  Then a voice rang out into the air reading out 180 names along with their regiments.
My ancestor, Private E G Adams, was read out about half way through.  His name just rang out and reached our ears, we both looked at each other and respectfully smiled.  Others around us were similarly doing the same when someone was read out that was part of them, a touch on the shoulder, a smile, a look to the heavens.  It was a truly emotional experience and worth making our way through the crowds of people to hear and experience this.  At the end of the Roll of Honour, the Last Post was played and for a few moments everyone was still.  Then, the moat was lit up to show the poppies.  It was as though we were looking at a river of blood, an incredible moment.
Slowly and respectfully, the thousands of conversations started again and the journeys home were beginning.  There are no real words that can explain the whole experience.  For us though, we walked up to the River Thames and sat down for a few minutes to reflect this experience and to remember Ernest, and also to work out the best way to get back to Kings Cross.  London at night is so magical so we just had to take photos while we sat.
Even the awful Shard has a different look in the evening (still not a fan though!).
There are only a few days left before the Installation is complete and then it will gradually be dismantled and the poppies will be sent to those who have bought them.  If you do go, make your way to Bank Underground Station and make your way to the Tower from there (Northern Line from Kings Cross about four stops), it's about .7 of a mile's walk where you can take in the sights, especially of The Monument, BUT be prepared for the crowds, and be patient!

You can see my less crowded post here from the last time I visited, but now that the moat is almost full, it really is a once in a lifetime experience to see for yourself if you can.

Now to rest my feet!

Have a wonderful week, I'm looking forward to catching up with you all now I am sitting down again!!



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35 comments:

  1. What an adventure Chel! I love going on these little virtual trips with you. This must be an awesome sight to behold. Gives me chill bumps just reading about it. I hope you (and your feet) enjoy getting some rest today. Have a blessed and beautiful week my friend!

    Hugs, Vicky

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  2. Hello Chel, what a lovely post. The Roll of Honour is a wonderful tribute and the poppies are just beautiful. I love the moat lit up and the city of London is beautiful lit up at night.. Great post and a beautiful photos, thank you for sharing your visit. Have a happy new week!

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  3. Loved reading this post, your descriptions seem perfect to me about the crowds and London and I read out your words to hubby about the roll of honour, the quiet crowds the poppies being lit up and I had a lump in my throat. I'm delighted you could be there in honour of your relative, a wonderful experience indeed.

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  4. This was another great post of the poppies, loved reading it and the pictures are wonderful, it is indeed as you say, like a river of blood.

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  5. It was a beautiful tribute and does give you an idea of the scale of the loss.

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  6. Wow, that's amazing as well as sad in a way...
    Amanda xx

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  7. That must have been really something, Chel. We are heading down next week.

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  8. It's a wonderful tribute they are doing.. Seeing the number of poppies really does bring home the reality of the numbers of fallen heroes. Your first photo is amazing with the tower and poppies lit up. x

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  9. What a meaningful tribute to the fallen...the poppies lit up were beautiful.

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  10. Such a moving event they really won't be forgotten

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  11. WOW ! What a beautiful garden of poppies and a lovely tribute to all the hero's past and present ! Thanks for sharing lovely photos ! Have a good week !

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  12. A very special ceremony, Chel. :o)

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  13. Well done on going there, just a pity you had to contend with the huge crowds

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  14. Those are the most amazing photos... I saw glimpses of the scene on Facebook. Wow!

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  15. What an amazing 'once in a lifetime' moment for you and Miss Teen. How proud you must have been. I did think of you when I heard on the radio about the crowds at The Tower. I am so glad you managed to get there and have a reasonable view. Hope you are soaking your feet now!!! X

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  16. Truly magic to experience I am sure. You will always remember this, so definitely worth while.

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  17. I love that first photo and I can really feel the atmosphere. I wish I could have managed a trip before everything will be dismantled. It's lovely to see so much through your blog and I'll be looking out for programmes on TV as the 11th of November approaches.
    How wonderful to hear your ancestor's name read out. It must have been a touching ceremony.

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  18. Oh Chel, how beautiful! Your photos make me want to visit and experience this beauty in person. Thank you so much for sharing - you always bless me with your photos.

    Hugs to you!

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  19. What a moving and emotional experience that must have been.
    I'm hoping when my sister was in London that she managed to get to the Tower but I'm not sure, I'll have to find out.
    Thanks for sharing your experience Chel.

    Diana

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  20. Truly a wonderful experience full of emotion and respect. I've seen this installation featured on the news. It's truly amazing. I'm glad you could be there and hear your ancestor's name honoured in this way.

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  21. What a fantastic experience for you to be there. The poppies are so amazingly well done and the whole thing just evokes a sense of respect and gratitude for those who gave their lives.

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  22. I am so glad that you got to go and hear your ancestors name read out. It must have been so incredibly moving. While reading your post and looking at your amazing photos all the hairs on my arms were stood up and I was so touched to see these images. I have not made it to the tower to see the poppies, but I have bought one and it will be a treasured memory of those in my family who served and died in the war. xx

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  23. What an amazing sight! The beautiful of the Tower all lit up and the poppies flowing red - just stunning. I am happy that you got to visit for the calling of your ancestor's name. What a special moment for you. Your night shots of the bridge and the shard are gorgeous as well. Pamela

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  24. It must have been a very touching experience. The pictures of the tower surrounded by all the poppies are absolutely amazing.

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  25. Wow Chel, the Tower of London is so beautiful with all the poppies in the moat. So glad you got to hear your ancestors name called out. Thanks for the wonderful photos. Have a wonderful week.

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  26. What an amazing experience to hear your family members name read out. Thanks so much for sharing the photos. They look wonderful as usual. We had so hoped to get down to see the poppies but just haven't had chance. I will be sharing your pics with my OH when he gets home from work.
    Ali xx

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  27. How beautiful, Chel - both the poppies and the experience of hearing your family member's name. Lovely photos - I am in awe!
    Karen xo

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  28. What a moving experience to have heard your ancestors name read. Sends a shiver through me. I think I would be brought to tears had I been there. I only am aware of one of my relatives who died there. He was an only son and child. It must have been devastating for them. I am also writing a piece on my garden bog and might use one of your photos. Kind of you to give permission.

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  29. What a stunning display of poppies! They look even more amazing lit up at night. What a very special experience for you to hear your relative's name being read out ... something for you and your daughter to treasure in years to come. You got some really nice photos of the evening. I thought it was touching that you saw others recognizing the names being called and sharing the moment with loved ones. Wendy x

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  30. What an amazing display and colour for a meaningful event, I know a few people who have been to see it. Unfortunately time and travel doesn't permit me at the moment.

    On a side note, your post inspires me to look up some Christmas shopping rail charters to get some night shots in digital, it's been years.

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  31. Absolutely phenomenal photography Shel!
    What an amazing year it has been watching the poppies go up...
    I hope you're having a fantastic weekend, Tammy x

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  32. Thank you so very much Chel - sharing your very own personal experience of this amazing installation has touched me deeply.
    Mary x

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  33. Hi Chel! I just saw this on the news last night too. So very beautiful!
    karen

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