Poppy Day – An RFC Pilot learns

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Pre 1940

At a dinner in the early sixties it just so happened that a discussion came up about how  ineptly the politicians had handled the Suez situation in the fifties. I was fortunate enough to be sitting next to a very genteel man with great diplomatic skills.  However, something had obviously touched a sore that evening. This, most humble of men, very discreetly started to tell of his frustration when, as a young man of just eighteen years of age, in The Royal Flying Corps in France in 1916.

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Fleury/Verdun March 1916
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Hun Captive Balloon

He, like all the others, risked their lives every time they took off to survey the battlefields from above. On this particular mission he lost two colleagues. Obviously distraught, he went directly to his superior. There in front of him was a General and other Senior Officers. Their heads were bowed in deep concentration, studying an enormous map. His spirits lifted. He realized  he could give them vital information as to where the guns were laying in wait. He enthusiastically saluted and started to give the latest  from the air. ” The guns lay right along this ridge Sir.” Before he had finished one of the officers said words to the effect of “That is of no interest to us and you will be disciplined for such insolence” He was then told a disciplinary letter would follow. Stunned,  he saluted and went back to his muddy barracks. Fortunately his career continued with distinction until his retirement in the late fifties.

 

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20 Squadron RAF November 1918

From this he had hoped many of his age would learn from the experience. Listen to all the intelligence gained from your scouts. He certainly did during the next war. But as he indicated some politicians had not.

After further debate the one thing he was very clear on. That was – not to blame others for their actions in very difficult situations but learn from them. As he so correctly indicated, you cannot change history but oh how one can learn from the mistakes of those who will not listen.

 

I, for one, am so grateful to all those courageous  people who gave so much for us to be free today. Let us not criticize those who did not make sense at the time, but learn from them.

 

“I am not fit for this office and never should have been here.”

Warren G. Harding

 

Designers dictate ‘Modern’ to the innocent!

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The Beauty of Autumn 2016
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Perfect for today!

Who actually dictates fashion? This question came to me the other day when visiting great friends. Recently they have renovated a beautiful house and, of course, put in a modern kitchen. Then in the dining area I noticed a painted wooden dresser. It looked gorgeous and so modern. When I commented on it they said the children (in their forties!) had asked them to get rid of all their old furniture and become modern! So the first thing they did was to keep it. Then paint it! Now the children are in awe of their new modern Welsh Dresser without having spent too much!

In our new home in the sixties an old dresser had been left in our kitchen! It was painted an awful green. In my mind it had to go! Not so for my dear practical husband! Many weeks later, after much scraping and using a lethal acid, a lovely old pine piece of furniture was revealed. All of a sudden it was considered so modern! I loved it!

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Some things rarely change! Farm 1948

 

Last year another friend tried to sell a magnificent mahogany dinning table which she had polished every day over the last forty years. Her new home required smaller furniture. So off to the saleroom she went. No, they would not take it! Brown furniture is out, even if it has designer legs and not a scratch on it. OK to the Community Furniture Centre  to give it for someone to use. No they would not take it. A suggestion was made – strip it and distress it. This she did and painted it followed by adding false stains and used marks on it. There was no glamour to this table anymore. Guess what? It sold for over £300.00.

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Sometimes they got it right!

Great to see furniture being recycled but not sure I can see the sense in destroying something quite so beautiful. That is the power of designers.

“Why change? Everyone has his own style. When you have found it, you should stick to it.”

Audrey Hepburn