A Touritst’s Guide to Being a Tourist: Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red Display, Tower of London

I realised that I’d better get a move on with this since the poppies are coming down after Armistice Day (you can also purchase them for £25. Christmas present, anyone?). So I Googled the project and it turns out it’s called Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, which is slightly more intense although harder to promote on Twitter than ‘Poppy Display at the Tower’.

I’m assuming you’ve all seen the HD news coverage of the installation, which was first, er, installed, in August. I’ve seen it twice, once each when we schlupped up to London for the Bond exhibition and Bernadette’s show. When we first got there, I came over very 21st century HD news watcher and couldn’t really see what was so special about it in real life. Plus it was raining. But I took some pictures and then turned a corner and it dawned on me that there was a poppy for every solider who died in World War I.

Poppies August Bank Holiday 2014

Remind me to practise my photography skills while I’m away… it will be hard to gloat about how lovely my workspace is if I’ve cut out half of it and used a bad flash. In my defence, the best angles are probably either above like the news channels do or right in the moat bit itself, because they’ve got railings to lean over and whoever designed that building gave very little thought to the possibilities of future technology. On the plus side, the Shard looks nice half-hidden!

Anyway, we went back at night the second time, less than a fortnight later, and there were more poppies. Way more. I have no idea how commuters come out of Tower Hill station every day and don’t break down in noisy tears over the unfairness of the world.

Poppies September 2014

The Shard is definitely at it’s best when you can only partially see it, huh.

Event and Place Blood Swept Lands  and Seas of Red Display, Tower of London (go to Tower Hill station and follow your nose)

Cost Only the serious bumming-out experienced by all viewers. Plus £25 if you’d like to buy one.

Food I don’t recommend eating right there because you may be in the way of a budding photographer.

Other people Lots of them wandering about. Exchange a ‘how pretty/heartbreaking’ comment if you want. Don’t fight over the best photo places – apparently the poppies will eventually (or might already) fill the entire moat and circle the Tower, so maybe just walk around a bit. When it’s Armistice Day and the news channels are streaming the finished piece, be sure to say ‘I’ve been there!’ just not too smugly because, you know, it’s an installation that really shouldn’t have even been needed.

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