Great holiday in Portugal’s Algarve.

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Beautiful hotel, straight onto the beach.

Gordano is a fine place if you just want to relax, enjoy beautiful beaches, swimming and good food. The nearby forests were great to explore and there are excellent cycle paths for gentle cycling.


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Fishing Boats On The Beach
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Fine, Wide, Clean Beach
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Wooden Walkway
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Beautiful Forest Walks
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Nearby Marshland
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Great For Cycling

How The Poppies Sculpture Was Achieved In The Moat At The Tower Of London

sparedscn2324_origOn Thursday evening I’ll be giving another Talk about Poppies In The Moat. at the Guildhall Library. I will discuss how the eight key people brought this together as a unique team. Tickets and more information may be obtained on the link below. The original inspiration came from artist Paul Cummins and the following extract is from his contribution in my book Poppies, Pomp and People, which gave the first full account of how it was achieved.

‘His idea for the Tower installation was inspired by the will of an unnamed soldier, which he found while searching old records in his hometown of Chesterfield; it included a poem, which began, ‘The blood swept lands and seas of red’. This inspired him to create a large-scale installation, a sea of handmade ceramic poppies mounted on metal stems, to be placed in the moat around the Tower of London. Each poppy would represent the life of a person who died during the First World War; from research, he found that there would need to be 888,246, the total number of British and Colonial lives lost. His vision was for this sculpture to become a lasting and meaningful experience for the public; could he have had any idea just how important it was to become and the numbers of people it would touch and inspire?’

More About The Dunkirk Veterans Featured At St Katharine Docks, During The Recent Classic Boats Festival

Fourteen of the Dunkirk veteran boats on show at the 2017 Classic Boats Festival at St Katharine Docks.
Original Dunkirk Veterans Boats Which Saved Many Thousands Of LIves, Rescuing Soldiers Off The Beaches At Dunkirk   Gallery

Last week, on display at St Katharine Docks, were fourteen of the boats which gallantly went across to Dunkirk in the Second World War, saving many thousands of British and French soldiers from being trapped on the beaches by the the German Army. The article detailed below tells much more of the story. 

  • George Wagner was just nineteen years old when he was trapped in Dunkirk 
  • He remembers driving lorries into the water to help create a makeshift pier
  • Wagner, 97, eventually returned to France as part of the D-Day landings
  • He and Prince Harry attended a private screening of the new Dunkirk movie
  • Prince Harry Acompanying Dunkirk Veteran George Wagner To Watch the film Dunkirk
    Prince Harry accompanied George Wagner to a private screening of the film Dunkirk

Read more:



Shocking ‘Future Dust’ Artwork At St Katharine Docks


Important artwork, Future Dust, Displaying Unwanted Items Thrown Into The Water.
Future Dust, Artwork,Displaying Unwanted Plastic And Metal Items Thrown Into The Water.

Featured at this year’s Classic Boats Festival at St Katharine Docks, this shocking display shows all kinds of discarded plastic and other items, previously thrown into the water. Presented in cages, it illustrates the need for urgent attention to avoid damaging the environment. The following quotation is taken from the website linked below.

‘Plastic pollution is a timely, global environmental issue affecting the Thames, waterways and oceans. The World Economic Forum has predicted there will be more plastic than fish in the sea in weight by 2050. 

Artist Maria Arceo will highlight this in Future Dust a large-scale artwork responding to the sheer scale of plastic litter that is being deposited into the Thames. The installation will tour to different riverside locations across London and will be illuminated at dusk by Dutch interactive light artist Tim Scheffer.’

Thanks to the artist, Totally Thames and St Katharine Docks for featuring this and bringing it closer to our attention.

To buy The Story Of St Katharine’s, please press here.

Excellent 2017 Classic Boats Festival Here At St Katharine Docks

Bril;liant Spectacle of Classic Boats at St Katharine Docks for 2017
Classic Boats Festival, St Katharine Docks 2017

We have all had a wonderful few days here at St Katharine’s, with more than forty classic boats of all kinds, including the Queen’s Row Barge Gloriana, the only coal fired tug, a fireboat and many others, also featuring fourteen of the ‘Dunkirk Veterans’ who helped save more than 330000 British and French soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk during the Second World War, topically recalled in the excent new film ‘Dunkirk.’ There was also an ambitious music programme, including great concerts given on Marble Quay by the British Youth Jazz Band. Congratulations to Paul Tetlow the General Manager and Claire Daniels, his Events Manager for organising this finest entertainment and spectacle for us to enjoy and savour. Pictures of last year’s festival can be seen here.


My Talk At The Guildhall Library Yesterday

Christopher West Talking At The GuildhallLibrary in London
Christopher West Talking At The Guildhall Library in London

My thanks to the excellent audience yesterday at the Guildhall Library. I always enjoy giving Talks there and people were delighted to see my own treasured ceramic Poppy. These Talks are for anyone who wants to come, not just to sell and promote my book, but for anyone interested to learn more about life at The Tower Of London. My next Talk will be at the Barbican Library on the 20th September, then at the Guildhall Library on the 28th September. To buy the book, click here.For details about further Talks, click here.


New Poppies In The Moat Initiative

My new book Poppies, Pomp And People included the first full written account of how the awesome ‘Poppies In The Moat’ sculpture was achieved. It included statements and interviews by the key players, including Paul Cummins, who had the inspirational, original idea and Tom Piper, who brilliantly designed the setting.

It is thrilling that this is now being followed by a powerful initiative to contact many of the people who bought the acrylic Poppies and learn about where they are now around the world and listening to the stories behind why they were bought. Copied below is a link and explanation of Paul Schofield’s excellent initiative. To buy Poppies. Pomp and People, please use this link.

‘Three years on, Phillip Schofield is fronting a Where Are The Poppies Now campaign to discover the journeys they have taken. The movie will see the ITV presenter encourage poppy-holders across the world to ‘pin’ their poppy to their location on an online map and share the story behind why they bought them.

Launched by 14-18 Now, the arts programme for the First World War centenary celebrations, the campaign aims to digitally reunite all 888,246 faux blooms created by Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper.’

The Moat At The Tower Of London And How It Is Used Today


Using the Moat at the Tower to grow vegetables during the Second World War
The Moat During The Second World War

This old photo shows vegetables and fruit being grown in the Moat at The Tower of London, allotments style, with Tower Bridge in the background. It reminds us how seriously the Nation responded to the need for everyone to help the war effort, while the enemy was trying to starve us by sinking ships bringing food to the UK. Here, at this medieval Castle at the centre of London history, Beefeaters and other staff at the Tower were also busy with this vital work.

In my book, Poppies, Pomp And People, I considered the way in which the Tower is used for promotions, corpotate events and other use today. The rich tradition of ‘sharing’ the Moat continues and I reproduce a piece from the book below:

‘I have listened to many different points of view about the best ways to utilise the Tower’s historical moat. Traditionalists argue that it should remain unspoiled, local residents bemoan its ugliness following use by marquees, and others champion the facility for marketing and promoting ‘today’s Tower.’If you want to purchase a signed copy of Poppies, Pomp And People, just use this link.

Menagerie Of Wild Animals At The Tower Of London

Lions At The Tower. ,Wire animal sculptures at the tower, by Kendra Haste
Reminder Of The Menagerie At The Tower Of London, Wire Animal Sculptures At The Tower, by Kendra Haste


It is likely that the first guests of the menagerie were wild beasts from Normandy, during the reign of King John (1199-1216). It was a long established custom that exotic animals were a favourite gift between countries and National rulers. Leopards and lions followed,  and a polar bear arrived which was tethered and allowed to swim in the Thames for food. Many similar gifts were donated over the centuries.

The eventual site of the menagerie was in the south east corner and there are many colourful stories about its activity. In 1821, Alfred Cops was appointed and he developed the menagerie extensively, filling it with many new exhibits, much to the delight of the public, who arrived in droves to view. By 1830, it was decided that the Tower was not the right place for the animals and they were removed to Regents Park Zoo, which had opened in 1828.  The buildings were knocked down and Mr Cops was allowed to remain until his eventual death in the 1850’s.