Stretcher case

Today’s guest picture, taken by my sister Mary on one of her walks, shows an artwork at the Tower of London.  It consists of ceramic poppies and when it is finished, it will surround the tower with a flood of poppies equal to the number of British and Commonwealth casualties of the First World War.  It is very striking but it makes me feel uneasy through its literalness.  It is as though the artist thinks I have no imagination myself and everything must be spelled out for me.  I feel bludgeoned.   I also question making an artwork out of a fountain of blood.

Cascade of poppies at the Tower of London

It was a day of frequent showers and I kept my bicycle hidden away out of the rain.  When it wasn’t raining, it was warm and humid and on the brief occasions when the sun shone, it was a lovely day…..but they were brief.

I had a task to do which took me a lot of the morning.  I would have been able to do it more quickly if I hadn’t had to grapple with a misbehaving printer.  While I was muttering and mumbling imprecations in my office, Mrs Tootlepedal was engaged in a committee meeting meeting in the kitchen.  It was a meeting of the local branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild, looking at the programme for the forthcoming season.  They were a very cheery bunch and from the gales of laughter echoing through the house, it would be appropriate to remark that they often seemed to be in stitches.

When the committee disbanded, I watched the birds for a while….

blue tit
A blue tit paid a flying visit to the feeder.

…and walked round the soggy garden.

poppy, geranium, marigold

I am still waiting for the arrival of coloured butterflies and have to make do with many white ones meanwhile.

white butterfly

After lunch, it was time to go to Powfoot to visit my physiotherapist to see if she could provide a bit of help, either in the way of advice or treatment.  Mrs Tootlepedal came with me for the outing and we left in enough to time to park on the Solway shore and enjoy the sea view.


Well, we would have enjoyed the sea view if there had been any sea to view but we had arrived at low tide and we could look at the radio station in the haze on the English shore opposite without seeing any water in between.


Even at low tide, we admired the courage of some dog walkers far out on the mud flats.


It was blowing a gale on the shore so we didn’t venture out for a walk ourselves before driving off to the physio.    Once there, Mrs Tootlepedal sat in the car and read an interesting embroidery book while I was stretched out on the rack indoors for a little gentle traction.  This turned out to be a good plan as I was relaxed for the first time for days when I stood up.  Although some pain had returned by evening, it was not so bad and it is encouraging to know that it can be banished.

The showers and sunshine continued to alternate when we got home and I took advantage of one sunny spell to try to catch a flying bird.  I was too slow.

siskin and sparrow

I gave up and popped back out into the garden to catch some glowing poppies….


….a sharply outlined lily….


…and a pair of clematis.


The last of the ligularia flowers stems have been cut back but the foliage continues to please the eye.


I spent some time during the day trying to pick out possible entries for the round of photographic classes in flower shows which are coming up and this gave me plenty of time to reflect on how very poor my filing system is and how badly I have managed the backing up of the original shots which appear on this blog at a reduced size.  I may learn some day.

I did catch one flying chaffinch during a rainy spell in the morning.

flying chaffinch




Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

30 thoughts on “Stretcher case

  1. I’m not sure I appreciate the artistic attempt either, given that it is a very stark contrast against the old buildings. If they want to commemorate spilled blood, they probably ought to add to the list those who died in the Tower.

      1. I suspect that the artist would be satisfied that you felt bludgeoned, my take on this piece is that its aim is to illustrate the grotesque numbers of people who died in WWI and other wars too.

      2. My view would be that I knew that perfectly well already and didn’t need to have it spelled out. Mine was a personal reaction and I can quite appreciate that a younger generation may need to be reminded or told.

        The fact is that remembering how many people were killed in the last war doesn’t seem to stop us getting into the next one.

      3. One of our neighbours went across the channel to the cemetery where one of her relations was buried and found it very moving and satisfying to have been there.

  2. Everything has to be literal these days. We are also deemed too stupid to be able to make sensible decisions about the way we live without politicians and lawyers muscling in. However, before I go off on one, I will admire your lovely flowers and say that though I said I didn’t miss your bird photos yesterday, I am extremely glad to see their return today.

  3. Wishing you all the best with your sore hip and back. That is a beautiful Lilly. I have to agree with you on the bloody flood of poppies around the Tower of London . I love poppies but positioning them in that way just seems a bit too gruesome. I thought that they were to be just in the moat area like they were actually a field of poppies growing. Ah well.

  4. Glad to hear the traction eased the pain a bit. I like your poppies, and will be the dissenting voice and say I also like the installation at the Tower. I think it’s suitable that it flows, as did the blood, and I very much like the juxtaposition of the old and new (perhaps it won’t surprise you that I also like Pei’s pyramid at the Louvre). Literal, or too literal, it’s a strong visual reminder of the sheer numbers taken from that generation.

  5. It seems amazing that the water all but disappears at low tide like that. The clam diggers must flood the place every time it happens.
    I’m not sure what to think of the ceramic poppies. I don’t think we should ever forget those who were lost to war but it seems to me that we should be able to remember in our own way and in our own time. That exhibit seems to be a bit of an “in your face” reminder.

    1. The tide is supposed to come in faster than a galloping horse and there have been many tragedies along this part of the coast over the years.

  6. Hope you feel the benefit of the physio today. Keeping track of photos is a full time job, especially considering the number you must take each and every day.

    1. Yes it is a bit indiscriminate. I should label everything as I go along but I don’t and then I have so many to go through that I start crying.

  7. That lily picture is something else, I hope you choose it as an entry into the competition. Glad the physio was some help, perhaps you should have gone earlier?

  8. Very glad to hear that the traction was helpful – good to know that something can be done to ease the pain.
    Hope you pick out some winners for the forthcoming photographic classes in flower shows – it must be extremely difficult to choose!

  9. Will the “lost boys” be remembered or the “installation”? I guess if it inspires thought? Sorry its just one of an excellent collection contained in an inspiring blog

  10. The mud flats are impressive but I do t think I’d venture out for fear of getting stuck or cut off. We regularly have news items about boys being rescued from the mud as the tide comes in here. I’m undecided about the poppy installation myself. Part of me likes it but another part would rather see real poppies. Still, anything that makes those too young to have heard first hand tales of Flanders fields aware can’t all be bad.

    1. I agree with that but somehow in recent years the idea that soldiers suffer in war has taken hold without remembering that they cause suffering to others too. I am more than happy that the dead should be remembered as they should be but children need to be taught that if you go to war, you are going to kill people. That is the lesson that needs to be learned.

  11. My opinion of the art display of poppies notwithstanding, the photo itself has a very surreal quality to it. Even if I’m ambivalent about the artwork, the photo of it is quite striking and it nearly looks as if the red truly is flowing. Interesting, indeed.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: