The poppy field
There is something magical and spiritual when you suddenly come across a vast swathe of poppies in a field. Today is the anniversary of the armistice so it's even more poignant to think about that image. In 2014 I made a special documentary for the 100th anniversary of World War One. It told the remarkable story of a community project on Tyneside that took the deaths in combat in the trenches and mapped them to the streets of Tynemouth. Local people came forward with pictures, diaries, letters and stories about their lost relatives. Together it formed a vivid picture of warfare and the impact it had on the home front.
The poppy which I had always been proud to wear took on a new significance as I could now attach names and personal stories to it. Seeing a field of poppies also struck a deeper chord as I understood only too well there were thousands upon thousands of stories that were left untold.
It prompted me to do more research on my own family history. Although there were injuries and mental scars, it seems all my ancestors made it through the war. I could be truly thankful.
When a couple of years ago I was making a history documentary in Northumberland my camerman and I came round a corner on a country road when we were struck by the startling image you see at the top of this blog post. It was a field of poppies that a local farmer had planted... not for commercial reasons but purely for the aesthetic in a fallow year. We simply had to stop and film it.
I was determined it should make it into the final cut. It did.