To continue the coincidences of my poignant last post. (and that wasn’t a pun) just before the Armistice Service in Kinghorn, we were away down in Yorkshire, staying at a lovely BnB near Pickering called Lowther House.
We ate some fish and chips before strolling around the quaint streets of Pickering, where we found a second hand bookshop. Unable to walk past I got into a conversation with the owner about how difficult it must be to categorize books, when he asked us where we were staying.
‘Ah,’ he said. ‘There was an author living at Lowther House at one time. Just a minute,’ and he went off searching along the numerous shelves of books and found:
The copy was a bit battered and so I brought it home to read, aware a week later that the book in my hand was a reflection of the service at the War Memorial a week later when ‘Flowers of the Forest’ was played so beautifully on the bagpipes.
The following morning we went down to breakfast and were astounded to be faced with walls of prints by Jack Vettriano. We asked the lady why this was and she replied,’
‘I was in the forces based up at Inverkeithing, Fife and we both fell in love with his work.’
The oddest additional coincidence was that only two week’s before Roger and I had visited the popular Jack Vettriano exhibition in Kirkcaldy Galleries, the place where JV was first stirred with inspiration to teach himself to paint. The rest, as they say, is history.
The above print can be bought here on his official website.
This amazing artist was self taught, was rejected by the main stream art world but has made millions!
What a story.
As far as the book, it was a great read once you got over several moments which were not very PC in today’s world. It was a good book of its time and evocative of the traumas of life during WW1.
Yesterday, Armistice Day, was a poignant reflection on wars gone by and current conflicts in the world. The words that comes to mind, both attending the service here in Kinghorn and watching the Cenotaph on TV are:
respect, humility, sadness and a longing for peace and freedom, but not without cost if necessary
It was a beautiful day here as we headed down to the Kirk by the Sea:
After the short service we followed the piper, the scouts and cubs, the Lifeboat Crew and members of the congregation up Station Road to the war memorial.
Prayers were said, two minutes silence was observed, the bugle was played and wreaths were laid – a sense of unity with towns and villages up and down the UK.
In the minds of those present I’m sure each could tell a story from WW1, WW2, The Falklands (40th anniversary) Afghanistan, Syria ….) but the tale of bravery of two local lads on the memorial was read out.
Sunflowers had been planted in the summer with an underplanting of blue lobelia, in recognition of friends in Ukraine but, strangely, one remained in bloom for the occasion. Then, as the piper played ‘Flowers of the Forest’ fading into the distance as he walked away from us, a ‘haar’ descended. (a Scottish sea fog)
As Rev Jim Reid said afterwards, nature has a way of reflecting the atmosphere of the occasion and speaking to us in a way that nothing else quite matches.
We were treated with soup and coffee in the Church (Hall) by the scouts, after which folks walked around reading the the wreaths from local organisations and groups in Kinghorn.