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Talking Of Times Past

By Bernie Bell

I was talking with an old chap I know.  We started talking about poppies, as a lot are coming up in our veg patch where the soil has been dug for planting, and poppies do like disturbed soil.

He was saying how his father fought in ’The First War’, and how poppies have become a symbol of remembrance. We were talking of how they like soil which has been disturbed by ploughing, and he said….”It was ploughed by bombs instead.”  He came out with it, like that – it was ploughed by bombs – the land which should have been ploughed and sown to produce crops for food, was – ploughed by bombs instead.

He has an immediate connection with that war, through his Father.

We were then talking of how the fields are now ploughed, and sown, and sprayed to eliminate all ‘weeds’, including the poppies, which take refuge in the verges and hedge banks.

Poppies on the edge of the wheat field © Copyright Chris Reynolds and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

I was thinking that he, himself, is a direct link with times past – he has direct memories of those times.  His Dad fought in the First War, found time between the wars to meet and marry his Mother and have children, one of whom now still has a direct link to when fields in France were “ploughed by bombs.”

Time passes, and times are forgotten – clear memories of them are lost or get muddied.

I felt privileged to talk with someone who not only has those memories and connections, but who also has a mind and outlook which means that he says things like………….. “They were ploughed by bombs instead.”

These people are passing, we need to value them and listen to them and their tales of times past.

And – appreciate wild poppies when we come across them.

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2 replies »

  1. Remember that there are no native poppy species in Orkney. All the ones you see are introduced.

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