I love poppies, I always have. I read a book a long long time ago called Mr God this is Anna by Fynn. If you haven’t read it give it a go. I’ve read it several times, and to my children. I can never get through it without crying, it is a great book. Anna collected poppy seeds, and without realising I was emulating her, I started doing it a few years ago. This year seeing these particular poppies reminded me to sow them, hopefully in good time for next summer.
These poppies remind me of the Book Mr God this is Anna, because they remind me of our next door neighbours Gordon and Doris. Here is a photo of them on their wedding day, around about the time my parents and Al were born
We moved here in August 2001 and by that time Gordon was 81 and Doris was a spring chicken at 77. They got together when Doris was just 14!! Gordon could talk for England, and regularly did. His stories always involved the sentence ‘during the war….’ and he regularly repeated his tales over and over. Often when Peter came home from work I would hear him pull up, and expect to see him coming through the door, but nothing would happen. 20 minutes later I would have a look through the door and there he was ‘stuck’ with Gordon chatting about motorbikes, camper-vans, the local area, and of course the war. Peter, born in 1962 doesn’t remember the war, but Gordon used to conveniently forget this!
In preparation for remembrance Sunday every year, Gordon used to sell red poppy pins with his friend Doug. Here’s a photo of the two of them together ready to go to sell some poppy pins. (You can see one on Doug’s jacket above his medals).
Gordon was a keen gardener and had run a greengrocers after the war, so was always out in his garden. Every year he would come in with bags bursting with courgettes & rhubarb. He used to grow great courgettes but give away all of them as he hated them! His back garden was a huge vegetable garden (apart from the sheds full of motorbike parts)
Gordon and Doris were keen bikers and used to go all over the country on motorbikes when they were younger. Every time Peter got his motorbike out Doris used to come out to talk about their holidays on motorbikes, and their many mishaps! Gordon was also a speedway rider so had more metal in him than bones due to his numerous accidents!
Doris used to look at Peter’s bike & say ‘Oh how I miss being on the back of a bike’, so one day we got a little step ladder out & got her on the back of his bike.
Doris treasured this photo & kept it beside her chair all the time. When her son saw it on a visit from Canada he asked me to scan it and email it to him, and the next year their grandchildren and great grandchildren sent Gordon and Doris a photo calendar with this photo on the front cover 🙂
Gordon’s friend Doug (above) who lived at the end of the road and was about the same age had the most beautiful garden of flowers on the road, he was always out there weeding and pruning, the garden was a mass of multicoloured flowers. Gordon & Doris’ front garden was fronted by a low brick wall, and on the top of the wall was a bed of yellow Californian Poppies. Every year the front of their house would be overflowing with bright yellow golden poppies spilling over the wall.
When Gordon died last year, Doris got put in a home as she was getting forgetful and wasn’t able to look after herself alone. The house they lived in, like ours is a Housing Trust House, so the housing trust came to sort out the house for the new tenants. They put in a new kitchen and bathroom, and got rid of all the sheds in the back garden, but they also got rid of the vegetable patch and the lovely red brick wall at the front of the garden. Instead they put up a horrid wire fence.
I was so happy when I went out a few weeks ago & saw this sight growing through the fence 🙂
Some poppies survived to remind us every year of our lovely lovely neighbours
I guess this post also fits well into this week’s ‘Weekly Photo Challenge; Nostalgic‘.