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Poppies, red,white or purple?


Recently there has been a lot of talk of people choosing to wear white poppies instead of red poppies for Remembrance Day. Some of the contributors to the discussion felt there should be a purple poppy to remember the animals who made the ultimate sacrifice. I listened and pondered on the views from all sides and could only see the divisions.

I share with you some photos taken in the village of Lacock in Wiltshire where we visited the Poppy Trail with my daughter and grandchildren. They seem to have embraced the conflicting views in a very inclusive way to say ‘Remember those who will not grow old, Remember the animals, Hope and Pray for the Peace which benefits all of us’. For such a small village there are a lot of names on the War Memorial. In the church there is a waterfall of poppies, red, white and blue.

The children were offered worksheets by the NT volunteers as we came out of the car park and had great fun looking for the red poppies, posted in shop windows along the trail, with questions on the First World War.

As we went around the trail we found plenty of evidence that the villagers live in the present. Who would have thought of making pumpkins like these?

I did click on the gardening box to indicate the type of blog I was writing and although we did not find a way in to this garden with superb topiary we were able to see it over the garden wall.

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Thank you Scotsgran. The National Trust magazine features 'The Great Gift' this quarter, highlighting the mountains in the Lake District purchased in memory of the terrible loss of life in The Great War. I knew some of the mountains but had never known about this wonderful gesture and cannot remember seeing a plaque up there about this.

2 Nov, 2018


That's a very original and beautiful display isn't it? What a lot of thought and work has gone into it and very original to combine pumpkins and poppies! The pumpkins are very imaginative.
I'm a bit of a traditionalist and like to keep with the red poppies - can't really see why they don't cover everything - surely there are enough divisions already without making more. There were no blue or white poppies at Flanders,but each to his own after all.

2 Nov, 2018


That is very interesting Dianebulley, I did not know about that either. As NT for Scotland members we are able to visit properties owned by other NT's in the UK and abroad but we do not receive publications except those issued by the NTS.

2 Nov, 2018


Steragram we stick to the red poppies too but even some former soldiers felt that in the more recent conflicts they were involved in the purple poppy would not be out of place to commemorate the animals in all wars. They suggested that we should wear white poppies to signify that the fallen fought because they wanted peace to be their legacy. Having lost my father and my father in law because of injuries sustained in WW2 I was quite upset by the appearance of white and purple poppies and the senseless arguments being bandied about. I liked what the people in Lacock produced because it took the sting out of the suggestion that there are 'sides' in us remembering. Red, white or blue we can all pause to remember in our own way.

2 Nov, 2018


The poppies in Flanders fields were red, so I "support" red poppies. However, I'm glad there is a memorial to all the millions of animals that were killed in the wars and conflicts of the 20th century.

Horses, donkeys, mules, and camels carried food, water, ammunition and medical supplies.

Dogs and pigeons carried messages.

Canaries were used to detect poisonous gas,

Cats and dogs were trained to hunt rats in the trenches.

3 Nov, 2018


Thank you Eirlys.
There is an article on the different poppies and the organisations who support them on this web site.

In their FAQ page on their website the British Legion give this answer 'The Royal British Legion has no objection to any other colour of Poppy in principle, and some volunteers wear these side by side. However our volunteers should not offer these alongside the traditional red Poppy, as it may cause confusion around the appeal'

3 Nov, 2018


I don't know what to say about the poppies really.
The red ones are traditional, but time moves on and things change,
like the introduction of pumpkins for Hallowe'en.
I hate them, they are too foreign …

4 Nov, 2018


Hywel, I know what you mean about things changing. The Royal British Legion was set up specifically to care for veterans of WW1. Unfortunately 'the war to end all wars' did not succeed and to this day our military are still in need of the help offered by the organisation. I suppose my doubts about the different coloured poppies was because the red poppy was there to focus our minds on remembering the sacrifices made by those who died. I felt the use of other coloured poppies was disrespectful and was diluting the need to focus on the sacrifices made not just by the person who died but on the families left behind. Seeing Lacock take a broader view was helpful in allowing me to see 'that each to his own' and including everyones' views is better than stirring up conflict between holders of different perspectives.
Looking on the web I found this
'A message originally associated with Remembrance Day, after the first world war, was “never again”. This message slipped away. In response, white poppies were developed in 1933 by the Co-operative Women's Guild to affirm the message of “no more war”.'
I don't know about other places but our prayers at the services I have attended always include civilian casualties and the desire for no more war.
I saw the pumpkins as light hearted. I don't think they were part of the trail. The pulp can be used as bird food or made in to pies etc. We used to make turnip lanterns from swedes. That was much harder work than scooping out a pumpkin. They are being grown here now so an extra cash crop for the farmers.

5 Nov, 2018


We didn't even have swedes. Hallowe'en wasn't celebrated at all around here.
Thinking about it I don't care about the colour of poppies really. They all mean something.

5 Nov, 2018


We had to have swedes Hywel. Turnips were not grown as a winter crop but the swede was a staple food along with carrots, parsnips, cabbage, brussel sprouts and potatoes. They were all used in soups, stews and we needed mashed tatties and swedes to compliment the Haggis on Burns Night. At Hallowe'en we walked what felt like miles around the rural area where we lived under the supervision of older siblings. There was no trick or treat rubbish. If you could not perform by singing, dancing or playing an instrument there would be no payment of a piece of fruit or a piece of home baking. We had candles in our turnips to light the way and a torch for emergencies. Happy days indeed.

6 Nov, 2018


Yes we had swedes to eat but we never used them for putting candles in. Hallowe'en was something you never heard of. Swedes were put in a thing called cawl, a sort of stew. The new year was more celebrated than Hallowe'en … I could write a book about that lol

6 Nov, 2018


Hywel you set me wondering as to the origins of Hallowe'en. You might find this an interesting read.

6 Nov, 2018


Thanks, that was interesting. I'd heard about Samhain etc before, and my father and grandmother used to say they played games at Hallowe'en when they were little. My grandmother used to recite an old Welsh rhyme that was part of a play they acted out in people's homes every Hallowe'en. Those customs had died out by the time I was born.
New year was a different however and woe betide you if you didn't go singing a certain Welsh new year greeting song after midnight, to everyone you knew in the neighbourhood !

7 Nov, 2018


Hywel it is a shame that the freedom we once enjoyed is disappearing fast. Commercial ventures like the Hogmanay celebrations in Edinburgh now exclude the majority of the residents and the TV coverage is dire. Hopefully the residents will still be enjoying a traditional first footing away from these mock celebrations.

7 Nov, 2018


We never watch the Hogmanay celebrations now. It's not the same any more. Like the other festivities it has been ruined by too much modernisation. Maybe that suits modern minded people but I feel uncomfortable with things I'm not used to.

7 Nov, 2018


Ugh! we are getting old thats all. Memories of happier times are to be treasured.

7 Nov, 2018


Quite right ! :o)

7 Nov, 2018

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