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Lest We Forgetsilent soldiers, silent silhouettes, world war one, blood swept lands and seas of red, centenary, lest we forget,

As part of the many events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First World War, a number of Silent Silhouettes were installed in different parts of the country.

I first saw these ghostly figures in London at St Pancras station one day as I was in transit from work to home.

silent soldiers, silent silhouettes, world war one centenary, lest we forget,

Silent Silhouettes

I saw a few more as I was walking The Pilgrim’s Way in August.

Puttenham –

silent soldiers, silent silhouettes, world war one centenary, lest we forget,

Silent Silhouette – Puttenham

Chaldon

silent soldiers, silent silhouettes, world war one centenary, lest we forget,

Silent Silhouette – Chaldon

Limpsfield

silent soldiers, silent silhouettes, world war one centenary, lest we forget,

Silent Silhouettes – Limpsfield

A poignant and fitting reminder of the huge sacrifice that was made by ordinary people; people who believed in freedom and King and country….and who can forget the extraordinary Poppy installation at the Tower of London in 2014, as people from around the country came together to plant over 803,000 ceramic poppies in a breath-taking vista; Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red

silent soldiers, silent silhouettes, world war one, blood swept lands and seas of red, centenary, lest we forget,

Planting the final Poppy at the Tower of London 11.11.2014

Currently on at the Tower of London is the amazing ‘Deepening Shadows’ ritual; an evolving installation with the Tower moat gradually illuminated by individual flames. A powerful symbol of remembrance.

I’m planning on attending the Remembrance Sunday service on Whitehall at the Cenotaph this Sunday 11.11.2018 as we mark 100 years since Armistice Day in 1918…a day that officially, albeit not actually, brought The Great War to an end…the war to end all wars…..

except it didn’t and hasn’t.

 

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Buying vegan foods and trying to avoid dairy products and palm oil as well as plastic packaging presents something of a challenge, and requires some inventiveness for preparing meals. I’m learning a whole new way of shopping and cooking.

These days shopping takes a bit longer than in the past….I spend a fair amount of time reading food labels. If it contains palm oil I have to look for an alternative…not always available. I recently had to bypass my favourite soups while shopping; Heinz cream of Tomato, cream of Mushroom and peas and lentils (contains dairy). Instead I bought mostly tins of plain ingredients and dried products and will make them myself, sans the ‘cream‘ of course. I made my first dhal for supper with basmati rice recently… Apparently it smelt delicious 😋 😋

Despite it being the first time I had made dhal, it was actually really yummy. I had a look at a few recipes online and in my usual style, tossed in this, that and the next thing… pretty much whatever I could find in the cupboard in terms of spices…I also roasted some sweet potato wedges in olive oil and herbs which made a really interesting contrast to the dhal. My 2nd attempt wasn’t quite as successful and I burned the lentils coz I didn’t have sufficient water in the pot LOL I ate it anyway….waste not, want not and all that!!!

It’s been an interesting exercise to see how much of what I wanted/needed I could buy without buying anything in plastic. I think I was about 70% successful. It’s incredible difficult. Even if you buy something in a cardboard box, when you open it, the contents are usually packaged in plastic. urgh. So annoying.

Buying fresh fruit and vegetables is the aspect that confounds me the most….why on earth do the supermarkets still have to pack bananas, apples, oranges, broccoli, cucumber, cabbages, potatoes, peppers etc etc in plastic bags, trays or wrap. It’s COMPLETELY unnecessary and just adds more and more to the plastic pollution blighting our landfills and oceans. Apparently a number of brands have signed up to a pact to reduce plastic…..by 2025!!!! Why so far in the future? With 8 Million Tonnes Of Plastic Dumped in the Sea every Year, that means an extra 56 million tons in the next 7 years!!!. There are so many alternatives available already that I’m pretty certain they could reduce their unnecessary plastic packaging immediately.

I was delighted to learn about The Clean Kilo, the UK’s largest zero-waste supermarket; A Gap in the Market.

I recently tried a different type of milk; Oatly and it’s delicious, even in my early morning tea. I’m trying to avoid soya products due to the destruction of the Brazilian rainforests, as well as palm oil due to the destruction of Indonesia’s rainforests and the orangutans that live there. These forests are being torn down for palm oil, pulp and paper plantations threatening endangered species such as orangutans with extinction. It’s horrendous. “Without proper safeguards, the soybean industry is causing widespread deforestation and displacement of small farmers and indigenous peoples around the globe”. The EU’s hunger for soy is causing destruction in Brazil.

I’m afraid I was largely ignorant of the ecological impact of my lifestyle. It was only after coming to the UK, and particularly more recently, that I’ve become aware. I do agree that the number of people, consumerism and materialism have played a massive role in the destruction of the planet. Sadly, I don’t see that ending any time soon. But, lobbying to make changes, signing petitions and raising awareness by talking about it, as well as taking daily action will make a difference. I’m always reminded of the starfish on the beach. I believe that, although our actions are tiny, they do make a difference and they set an example that other people will follow. There are a number of brilliant initiatives taking place around the world that will collectively have an impact. Even grassroots initiatives like the people in Kenya who are collecting discarded flip-flops and creating beautiful artworks.  I feel for the 3rd world countries who don’t have the same infrastructures we in the western world take for granted. I just fear that the large corporations are not making enough of an effort. I’m going to start writing to every large company in the UK and urge them to take stringent actions now, rather than phase it out by…. Whatever arbitrary date they come up with.

We really do have to take urgent action NOW. On a more personal note…..my first grandchild is on the way and I want to make sure I don’t leave a planet decimated because of my lifestyle. And a major plus is that I’m saving a lot of money, my shopping bill has reduced quite a lot coz I’m not buying as many products as I did before.

In case you missed my previous post on plastic pollution

 

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The big UK supermarkets have allowed a gap in the market for innovative, eco-conscious companies to step up and BE THE CHANGE.

The Clean Kilo has opened it’s doors……

The Clean Kilo strives to be as close to zero waste as possible – and getting closer all the time.

The store is the brainchild of Tom Pell. He and his partner Jeanette long felt that they “needed to do something about the amount of plastic which ends up in the environment.” While thinking about ways to reduce the amount of plastic used in our daily lives, they came to think of the obscene use of unnecessary plastic for food packaging and the idea for The Clean Kilo was born.

I hope that more of these independent stores open up around the country.

https://www.goodnet.org/articles/uks-largest-zero-waste-supermarket-has-opened-its-doors

I say bravo to these people, and wish the very best of success. Yes, some of the named brands have signed up to the UK Plastic Pact….but their target date is 2025!!! By that’s 7 years away and by that stage 89 tons more of destructive plastic will end up in the oceans. They need to stop wrapping fruit and vegetables in plastic NOW!!!

Companies like Tesco, Sainsburys, Iceland, CoOp, Aldi, Lidls, Morrisons, Waitrose are all going to lose customers because of their stubborn refusal to stop wrapping fruit and vegetables in unnecessary plastic. They’ll post a year-end loss and sob into their plastic bags. #bansingleuseplastic

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I was in London last week and decided to make a visit to the Imperial War Museum to see the Weeping Window…..a cascade of several thousand ceramic poppies created in 2014 for the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation at the Tower of London.

Once the installation was uninstalled most of the poppies were sold off to the public and some went on tour around the country to various landmarks.

14-18 NOW is bringing the two sculptures Wave and Weeping Window to audiences across the UK as part of the Poppies Tour. The sculptures are free to view.

Sadly the tour is just about over but click here to see the various places they were installed between 2014 and now
https://www.wherearethepoppiesnow.org.uk/poppy-tour/

Seeing the poppies once again was so poignant and brought back memories of the day I helped to plant some of them at the Tower of London’s moat back in 2014, as well as the finale on November 11th when, during a very moving ceremony, they planted the final poppy after roll-call.

tower of london, Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, tower poppies, poppies tour, 100th anniversary armistice, world war one

Tower of London poppies

tower of london, Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, tower poppies, poppies tour, 100th anniversary armistice, world war one

Tower of London poppies (taken when I still did 3 days in London)

Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Redworld war one armistice, tower poppies, blood swept lands and seas of red, poppies tour, 100th anniversary of armistice, imperial war museum weeping window, tower of london poppies

world war one armistice, tower poppies, blood swept lands and seas of red, poppies tour, 100th anniversary of armistice, imperial war museum weeping window, tower of london poppies

Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red at the Tower of London 11.11.2014

The Weeping Window installation will be at the Imperial War Museum until the 18th November 2018

https://www.1418now.org.uk/commissions/poppies-weeping-window-iwm-london/

Nearest tube station: Lambeth North on the Bakerloo line

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I posted a few images on instagram of plastic pollution being caused by the supermarkets like Iceland foods, Sainsbury, Tesco, Co-Op, Morrisons, Waitrose etc a couple of days ago. Why are they STILL wrapping fruit and vegetables in plastic? Haven’t they read the UN Report? Which planet are they on?

About 13 million tonnes of plastic leak into our oceans every year, harming biodiversity, economies and, potentially, our own health.

I also mentioned how I’m making an effort to avoid palm oil. Someone asked in the comments section “what the deal is with palm oil?” Firstly, I’m astounded that there are still people in the western world who are so ignorant of the effects of palm oil plantations on the biodiversity of the countries where its been/being grown. So I compiled some information for her from all the links that I investigated via google. This is not my ‘opinion’, these are not my words, this information is compiled from the various websites that try to educate people on the destruction caused by palm oil…

read on:

Conflict Palm Oil production is now one of the world’s leading causes of rainforest destruction.

Palm oil is the most widely used vegetable oil in the world, having even surpassed soya in terms of usage. Surging global demand for palm oil has fueled massive forest destruction throughout Indonesia and Malaysia, countries that together account for 85% of the world’s palm oil production. Palm oil is ubiquitous!

Every day 25 orangutans are killed thanks largely to palm oil. The main threat to the survival of orangutan populations in the wild is the massive expansion of palm oil plantations in Borneo and Sumatra. … Increasingly, palm oil is used as a biofuel. Oil palms only grow in the tropics and need much water.
In Indonesia alone, an area the size of a football pitch is lost every 25 secs.

Over 50,000 orangutans on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra have died because of palm oil deforestation.

Orangutans whose habitats have been destroyed often enter villages and oil plantations in search of food where they are captured or killed by farmers who treat them as pests.

Palm oil is the leading cause of orangutan extinction. It’s in 50% of all household and food products sold in the West. It’s an ingredient in shampoo, toothpaste, detergent, frozen microwave dinners, cookies, peanut butter, lotion, makeup and much more!

Palm oil is a type of vegetable oil made from the fruit of the African oil palm tree, which originates in West Africa. However, it can be grown successfully in any humid tropical climate and has taken a strong foothold in Indonesia.

Not only is Palm Oil bad for the environment, and a major cause of climate change, but it is also the leading cause of orangutan extinction.

From ice-cream to shampoo, palm oil is present in a multitude of consumer products.

25 orangutans are lost every day

https://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/news/180215-borneo-orangutan-150000-lost-palm-oil-logging-vin-spd

Just check the ingredients label of the food you buy….but bear in mind that often it’s listed under vegetable oils. Just another dishonest way for manufacturers to use it without listing.

Petition your MP, sign as many petitions as you possibly can, stop buying fruit and vegetables wrapped in plastic; look for the unwrapped items. Check the ingredients list of your purchases…look out for palm oil and buy a different brand.

If we as consumers challenge the corporations, they will HAVE to make changes. It’s not about convenience anymore…..it’s about actually saving this planet from total destruction. No matter what you do today, every bit of plastic you and I have bought, used and trashed in our lifetimes, will still be here in 400 years plus. BUT we can make a difference by reducing the amount we use.

The plastic takeout container from your dinner last week is going to be around a lot longer, up to 1,000 years longer, than the rest of your trash.

 

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Day 3

Well what a day it was. The 3rd of 4 days of the Doula Course and turned out to be completely different to what I was anticipating or expecting. It was an emotional roller-coaster. I’d been surrounded by some amazing women and although it was an extraordinary day, I was emotionally shattered….in a good way. I was been surprised by some of the things people have said about me, how they see things I thought were well hidden. The exercises we did, that made us dig really deep and although in a safe space, it’s left us feeling very vulnerable…but safe.

Interestingly some of the women have said how doing this course has made them realise how unprepared they are for working in this field, and how they feel that perhaps its not for them, yet its left me feeling more empowered and ready to go (so to speak).

We also did some role playing (which I’ve always hated, and avoided at all costs), but weirdly I found it really easy to slip into another persona and surprised the group (apparently). It was actually good fun, and the prognosis is that I may appear to be all sweetness and light (uhmm really??) 😂 😂 but that I’m really good at shocking them with my ability to be someone else. Actually our group practically ended up on the floor with laughter (very inappropriate laughter) at some of the stuff that came out of my mouth 😂 😂 I actually threatened to send one client to hospital in an ambulance on a stretcher… In context of course. But it was hilarious. We were laughing so much that the facilitator came to find out what was going on and none of us could speak for laughing. They’re a brilliant group and its been truly enlightening. I love learning new stuff and exploring preconceptions and how our beliefs and values are shaped by society, expectations, outside influences and family dynamics. All good. But boy am I tired 😴 😴 😴 ready to sleep now. I didn’t even have the energy to watch Strictly Come Dancing. 🤔🤔🤔

In case you missed the original blog There’s more to dying than meets the eye

 

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I remember hearing about Broadstairs from one of my clients some years ago. I thought at the time that I would have to visit, so when my daughter announced three years ago that she had found a house here, I looked forward to visiting to see what it was like. I am now totally smitten and truly I must live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country.

broadstairs kent, seaside towns of britain, east coast of england

fantastic cloud scape lends an eerie glow to the sky and sea; Viking Bay

One of my favourite activities is to take an early morning walk to Ramsgate…just because it is quick; 45 minutes if I don’t faff around, and the scenery is just amazing. On Saturday I woke quite early to watch the sunrise

broadstairs, isle of thanet, walks to ramsgate, ramsgate royal harbour, cliffsend, hugin viking boat, pegwell bay

sunrise over Viking Bay, Broadstairs

and as it was such a beautiful day, decided to take a walk along the beach to Ramsgate (I had to visit the bank anyway) and while I was there, I followed an impulse and carried on walking till I reached Cliffsend.

broadstairs kent, seaside towns of britain, east coast of england

one of the prettiest village signs I’ve ever seen; Cliffsend

Along the way I stopped for a swing in what has to be the best type of swing ever. One day, if I ever have a house with a garden, I plan to have a swing like this installed.

one of the prettiest village signs I've ever seen; Cliffsend

best swing ever

It is one of my favourite walks and I do so enjoy the scenery along the way. It was terribly windy and standing on the cliff edge was a tad tricky.

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