Seas of Red at the Tower of London (Photo Gallery)

On 17th July 2014, a Yeoman Warder of the Tower of London (also known as a Beefeater) planted a single red porcelain poppy in the grass of the moat surrounding the Tower. Other poppies followed, and the installation named Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red was first revealed to the public on 5th August, the centenary of the United Kingdom’s entry into the conflict that became known as WWI.

Ceramic poppies spill from a window high on the Tower wall, pooling in the moat below, washing the base of the stone walls. As more poppies were added to the display by volunteers working on the project, they surge up in a wave over the causeway leading to the entrance to the Tower.

Created by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper, the installation will be completed with the planting of the final poppy on Armistice Day on 11th November. This will bring the total number of poppies flooding the moat to 888,246, each representing a British and Commonwealth soldier killed in the conflict.

The installation has been criticised in some quarters as a sanitised interpretation of the grotesque and bloody events of WWI, however the sheer scale of the work has captured the imagination of the British people and the many visitors to London. Those attending at sunset everyday for the sounding of the Last Post and the reading of the Role of Honour, can’t fail to be moved viscerally by the thought of a name, and a family, attached to each and every one of the fragile flowers blooming brightly for a few short months.

Another Day in Paradise at the Eden Project (Photo Gallery)

My last post about the Eden Project just didn’t contain enough pictures to do justice to the amazing displays, fantastic flowers and informative interpretation. So here’s a selection of pictures to guide you through the different biomes.  Continue reading

In the Garden of Eden

The Biomes, The Eden Project
The Biomes, The Eden Project

Hidden in an old china clay pit near St Austell in Cornwall are three enormous interlinked geodesic domes, like the secret greenhouse hideaway of a villainous horticulturist from a Bond film*: the Eden Project. Describing itself variously as the world’s largest conservatory, an exciting educational playground, and an inspiring environmental resource, the Eden Project is a huge garden, both outdoors and inside, which highlights our human interconnectivity with the natural world.

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12 Days of Christmas #4: The Christmas Star Scandal

This morning I read a report about a very festive extortion scam happening in Italy.  Four alleged mafiosi have been arrested in Naples, charged with forcing shop owners to buy poinsettias for more than 100times the wholesale price.

The gangsters had been demanding as much as 100 Euros (£85) per plant for the past few years.  Police said that business owners refusing the “special offer” had their shops vandalised and stock stolen or damaged.

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