Shrouds of the Somme

Shrouds of the Somme is an exhibition by Rob Heard at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, and is a physical representation of every one of the 72,396 British Commonwealth servicemen killed at the Somme that have no known grave. I went along with my sister to have a look and to remember all those that have fallen in war.

Each fallen servicemen was represented as an individual, miniature figure wrapped in a shroud. The figures were laid out in neat rows, and were slightly different to one another. Looking at the shrouds, it was astonishing and incredibly powerful to see just how large a number 72,396 is, a number that is difficult to comprehend in your head.

To one side of the field, there were a smaller number figures. These had placards at the head of each figure with a number and a date. The dates ran from the battles before the Somme in 1914 and ran to battles until 1918. There were dates for every day in those years. The numbers below the dates showed how many servicemen have died on that day. The deadliest day was at the start of the Somme, July 1st with 19,240 that died.

The exhibition was a very powerful one, and quite an emotional one my sister and I found. It was difficult, poignant and important to see just how many had died for our freedom and way of life.

I was pleased to see that there were lots of school children on a day trip to the see the shrouds. We have to hope that exhibitions like these have an impact on future generations and that we look for peaceful solutions to conflicts instead of violent ones that destroy families and communities.

This quote by the artist Rob Heard in the booklet I bought has stayed with me since I read it and I’m sure will stay with me for along time yet
“As a nation, we marked the beginning of the centenary of the beginning of the war with ceramic poppies in the summer sunshine and will commemorate the end with 72,000 dead bodies laid out in the November rain”

Snow in London

It’s been really cold in London very recently leading to some significant snowfall. It doesn’t snow a lot here but among the travel chaos and freezing temperatures, the snow looked beautiful. As per usual the cat stayed tucked away somewhere, having ventured out in the garden first.

And our garden bench looked very pretty and wintery in a layer of snow.

In the centre of London grand buildings looked even more scenic with a snowy surroundings.

Most of it has melted away now and everything is back to normal. It was nice to have a blanket of snow for a while that can transform a landscape, even amid the chaos and cold.

London’s Festive Lights

London has been looking very Christmassy these couple of months, and on my recent walks around the city here’s some of what I’ve come across.

Covent Garden has lots of decorations up.

I really liked the lights on Oxford Street, especially the glittery, golden waterfall inside one of the department stores.

My favourites was the trees made up of fluorescent coloured lights at Liverpool Street, in Shoreditch.

It’s really lovely to see all the effort that has gone in to making London festive and bright for this time of year.

Halal Street Food Festival

I recently went to a halal food festival in London with a friend. I usually don’t go to food events as I’m never too sure what I can eat, but as this was one where I could have my pick and not hold back I was keen to see what they would have. The event was held in London’s iconic Spitalfields Market in Shoreditch. There were lots of stalls with food on offer, so it took us a while to look around and decide what we wanted as well as it being super busy.

We finally decided on masala cheesy chips and chicken wrap to share and delicious looking waffles on a stick for dessert with freshly squeezed orange juice to wash it all down. We then headed towards the games section where we played giant noughts and crosses and connect four and just soaked in the atmosphere.

The event was very popular and queues were super long, but the food was varied and enjoyable. I’d be interested to go to such an event again but maybe on a weekday to try and avoid the rush.

Lights, Camera, Action

London is known for being quite an old city with lots of history and culture, and one thing that the streets and buildings are often used for are film sets. A stone’s throw from where I work is lovely area and is being used for just that. The film set when I last passed by had some beautiful vintage vehicles against the elegant Regency era buildings.

I especially liked the classic vibrant blue Rolls Royce

After some digging I think I worked out what title they were filming for. It’ll be interesting to see if it’s right once the finished film makes it to the big screen. In the meantime I’ll keep my eyes peeled for any famous faces.

So long 2016, onwards to 2017

Today is the last day of 2016 and it has been a tumultuous year both in the world and, I feel, for me personally. I hope 2017 is calmer, more peaceful and more fulfilling, for all of us. Here’s a selection of some of my favourite photos of this past year, of places I’ve been lucky to visit and things I’ve enjoyed. Happy New Year to all of you.

Discovering street art

What I love about London is how things are always changing and developing making walks around the city interesting and varied. One of the things that I particularly keep an eye out for is street art. There’s always a splash of colour or a cheeky face peeking out from just about anywhere. One talented artist whose work I’m quite fond of is Nathan Bowen and he seems to be quite busy leaving his mark in various places.

Nathan Bowen Art

I also see a number of Stickmen (by Stik) popping up which I also really like and I thought the chicken were good fun too by Holly Frean.

I always like coming across artwork that makes me think of something in a new perspective or just brings a smile to my face. I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled and hopefully will share more creative street art as I chance upon them.