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Walking in Fields of Red Poppies in Norfolk

Updated on January 22, 2015

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.’

John McCrae 1915

Wild red poppies

Wild red poppies
Wild red poppies | Source

Red poppy

Red poppy
Red poppy | Source

Lest we forget those brave men

Lest we forget those brave men
Lest we forget those brave men | Source
Those brave men
Those brave men | Source

Flanders fields song and slideshow

We Will Remember Them: Official Album of the 2010 Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal

Those brave men

I gaze over a field of red Norfolk poppies and I think of those brave men whose lives were lost at Flanders. The poppy, still a much loved flower and also a symbol of remembrance for the Royal British Legion who’s first Poppy Day were held on the 11th November 1921.

The church at the end of a poppy field

Giving Thanks
Giving Thanks | Source

Red Flanders Poppies - 50,000 Seeds

Dancing in the breeze!

Oh what a sight those poppies make, growing all interspersed with wild daisies and other wild flowers. Side by side, they dance together in the breeze. They hold their beautiful heads up high for all to see. I stand a while - just looking - half waiting, half expecting, half hoping that a few will decide, to drop their petals from their skirts but no, they cling tightly onto them.

It reminds me of a time, which seems so long ago now, that I would pluck the petals from flowers, one by one they would go, as I silently chanted the words, ‘He loves me. He loves me not! The petals all spent and useless I would then toss aside, was it then perhaps that my fate was decided?

A little long eared owl & a fly

A large fly rests on a blade of wheat. He begins to express agitation as I focus my macro lens on him. All the while, his beady little eyes observe me and then he begins to anxiously rub his legs together as if to warn me to go away. I snatch a few quick shots of him and then move away, respecting his right to be there, all the while walking carefully and quietly so as not to disturb his sojourn. That is my way but just occasionally I forget and then I may find myself talking back to a small creature!

Sometimes they will respond, as did a baby long eared owl, just a few years ago! I found him there, sitting on a low branch. We looked at each other for a long while and then facing him, I began to call out to him in what I only hoped sounded just like another owl. He responded immediately, sucking up a great gasps of fresh air into his throat. I was so close I could almost touch him. And so it was that together for just a while, just like two long lost friends we talked to one other and then I left I left him , sitting still on his log where I had found him.

They flit from flower to flower

Leaning closer, I watch the bees and other little insects as they flit from flower to flower. How busy they appear. . They fly by about in such a curious haste! Only they know where they are headed! Behind them, they carry with them, their little sacs of pollen, all caught up between their legs. I admire their little wings as they fly, they shine so beautifully in the sunshine! Occasionally the insects will aggressively pounce on one other- perhaps protecting the best honey pots - maybe!

A small church

I practice photographing the poppies. In the distance I suddenly notice through my lens, a small church which I had not noticed before. Do I want this to appear in my image? How shall I portray it? Will it be a field of poppies with a hint of the church or will it be the other way around! I decide I want just a hint of the church so the flowers win this time but seeing the church serves to remind me, of the gratitude I feel to my creator for allowing me to be a part of this lovely scene.

A little pea shaped flower

A little pea shaped flower
A little pea shaped flower | Source

Wild flowers

Beautiful wild rose
Beautiful wild rose | Source
Wild Iris
Wild Iris | Source

Soaking up the sounds

As I soak up the beauty and sounds too. I spy a wild Iris and a small pink pea shaped flower whose name I don't know and oh, yes, a few wild roses too – how lovely! I take a few shots to share with you - my HubPages friends. These sights are so indelibly imprinted on my mind. Sadly, the digital images will not produce the sounds or the scent of the vegetation. Alas, these I cannot share. but if only you could take the time to stop and feel it and breathe it with me. Walk slowly now and yes, just as quietly as you are able. Walk with confidence whilst treading carefully.. Feast your eyes upon it all - listen with your ears and smell deeply with your nose – drink in all the sights which stand before you. Be patient, my friends, everything will soon be reveal itself. . It is all there for you to see if you will only take the time to look.

The woods beckon me

A short drive away and I find myself driving through some tall woods. I decide to stop a while to explore. I am searching for the Rhododendrons which I know I might find flowering at the foot of the tall trees. I can hear the trees creaking as I walk, sometimes my shoes catch a fallen branch. Once again, I walk quietly so as not to surprise any small woodland creatures which I might lurk close by. I can hear the call of a turtledove in the high trees and an occasional crack of a branch high up. . I follow an uneven path and around a corner, I see them, how magical, how stupendous, the Rhododendrons stand high above me - as big as trees. Their outstretched branches all covered in lilac blooms are such a sight to see. I breathe a sigh of pleasure and so I just stand a while to admire them all.

Wild foxgloves

Wild foxgloves
Wild foxgloves | Source

Tall fir trees

Tall fir Trees
Tall fir Trees | Source

Rhododendrons

In the Woods
In the Woods | Source

Rhododendrons in the woods

Lilac Rhododendrons in the woods
Lilac Rhododendrons in the woods | Source

The front entrance & rear of Booton Church, Norfolk

Entrance of Booton Church, Norfolk
Entrance of Booton Church, Norfolk | Source
Booton Church Norfolk - rear side
Booton Church Norfolk - rear side | Source

Stephen Fry Chronicles: An Autobiography

The church of St Michael the Archangel, Booton

Another short drive stop away, I stop at one of my favorite churches in this area, the church of St Michael the Archangel in Booton, North Norfolk near Norwich. The architecture of this church is something quite exceptional – so extravagant and so out of place in this small place which is hardly more than just a smattering of houses, one being the family home of Stephen Fry whilst growing up.

I am greeted by a large wooden door at the entrance to the church. I lift the bolt carefully and I hear a great clunk as it opens. I turn the large knob and I enter the stillness of the interior. I am alone but very conscious at the same time that I am being watched on 'candid camera' – a notice tells me so. Perhaps somewhere, my every movement is being watched by Big Brother instead of an 'Our Father'.

My first impression is that there is a quaint simplicity to the row upon row of small wooden chairs. I love the way they contrast with the outrageous and delightful stain glass windows. I am immediately aware that there is a theme to the windows! Young men and young women and the occasional child look down at me - each one of them I see, is playing or holding a musical instrument of one kind or another. Amused, I walk up and down the one side of the church, photographing the images.

Reading through some literature I soon learn that this it is a redundant Anglican Church which is now a listed Grade 11 church which is under the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. It seems it is known as the Cathedral of the Fields. How very appropriate.

This church was the brain-child of the Rev Whitwell Elwin who was rector in the village from 1850-1900. He was descended from the Native American princess Pocahontas of Hiawatha fame.

The stained glass windows depict angels, musicians, and female faces. Architect Edwart Lutyens apparently said that the church was a 'very naughty but built in the right spirit' church and I can't help thinking he was so right.

The result is a breathtaking masterpiece. The interior is this fairy tale creation of angels whose faces were all modeled on the rector’s young female friends! The wooden carved angels which hold up the roof are the work of a well known master-carver James Minns whose carving of a bull’s head is still the emblem on Colman’s Mustard, a well known Norwich based company.

Booton church door details

Booton church door details
Booton church door details | Source

Those brave men who gave their lives

Source

Row upon row

Rows of chairs
Rows of chairs | Source

Church moulding

Church moulding
Church moulding | Source

Church moulding

Church moulding
Church moulding | Source

Church exterior

Booton church exterior
Booton church exterior | Source

An umbrella, left behind!

I hear the clunk of the great latch behind me and a woman enters the church. She greets me with a question and asks 'have seen an umbrella anywhere?; I tell her that I had not noticed one - but before I can say another thing, she exclaims in delight as she finds it herself, in exactly the same place where she left it on one of the chairs a few days earlier.

We chat a little while and then she walks away from the church carrying her treasure!

I wonder what Big Brother thinks of that. not the church silver this time but just a simple umbrella left behind on a chair?


Angels, musicians, and female faces.

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Booton, Norwich

© 2013 Sally Gulbrandsen

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    • sallybea profile image
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      Sally Gulbrandsen 8 months ago from Norfolk

      Greensleeves Hubs

      Alun,

      It is clear that you have a clear understanding of what I set out to do with this hub and it fills me with gratitude. Your observations are spot on and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

      For me, there is nothing more magical than being outdoors and in nature, preferably alone with my Macro Lens. A companion usually wants to talk and disturb everything which I set out to see:)

      Sometimes I am aware that it is too easy for me to miss out on the 'wider picture' because I am so tuned into the 'smaller' one. The sound of a Buzzard calling above serves to remind me that there is a much bigger picture out there too:)

      It is true that I cannot walk past a bunch of nettles without seeing that flash of red as a ladybird scurries along on its way. Then, as I concentrate my lens on the ladybird I see the group of aphids standing up to him. It truly is a magical world our there, one which is seen by too few.

      I have sometimes stood back to watch a group of people as they pass by the same bush, where I stood earlier! They see nothing but the green bush and they pass by. Perhaps they do not even see the bush!. None of them turn their heads! It amazes me and saddens me too because from where I stand I can see a large hairy caterpillar! I think they are missing out on something really special!

      I think if you like this Hub you will enjoy my 'Magical Butterflies and Dragonflies' Hub. I hope that when you return to Norfolk and when you do, I hope you will remember reading it. I hope it will encourage you to see much of the same. Of all my hubs here, it is the one I most enjoyed writing.

      When you return to Norfolk, don't forget to walk along the Bure River and 'drink' in the Demoiselle as they fly from leaf to leaf. Their wings sparkle green and emerald in the sunshine. They are quite entrancing.

      Nature brings me the greatest pleasure. It is my 'soul time' It could be yours too:)

      Best wishes,

      Sally.

    • Greensleeves Hubs profile image

      Greensleeves Hubs 8 months ago from Essex, UK

      A lovely potpourri of images and experiences Sally - the church, the poppies, the flowers and insects, all brought back evocatively to life in your writing. And not just images of the present, but stories of the past - the soldiers of World War One and the creation of the stained glass windows. I shall be sharing this.

      Incidentally I just love one of your subtitles - 'A little long eared owl & a fly' - I bet those two creatures have never been put together in a title before! But it's a title with a deeper meaning. Too many will only see the owl. Or they will only see butterflies, or flowers. Or maybe they will only see the church. What that passage shows, and indeed the entire hub, is that any visit to the countryside should be an experience for all the senses - sight, sound and smell - and nothing, even a humble fly, should be overlooked.

      I recently spent two days in your neck of the woods Sally, specifically to explore and photograph English Heritage sites in Norfolk. On that occasion time was pressing and I had to concentrate on the castles, priories and churches, but the whole setting is worth more than the sum of its parts, and when I next make a visit to Norfolk - soon, I hope - I shall have to spend more time walking through the countryside too.

      I've been doing some exploring of that kind in my home environment in South Essex since giving up work earlier this year, and there's nothing better than just wandering down country lanes utilising all the senses and taking time to study and photograph anything that grabs one's interest - natural or manmade. That comes across so eloquently in your article. Alun

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      tillsontitan

      The owl and I, now that really is such a precious memory which I am glad to share. I am so glad you enjoyed the images, photography is something I love to do. It affords me the opportunity to interact with all creatures great and small.

      Thanks for the vote up, all but funny;) Your visit is valued and appreciated.

      Sally

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      I don't know how I missed this lovely hub. I can picture you hooting with the owl as your descriptions are perfect....but then the photographs, amazing! You are quite the photographer and how lucky you shared them with us.

      Voted all but funny.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      DrBill-WmL-Smith

      You are very welcome, I am delighted that you enjoyed my poppies and that you could stay a while in a little part our beautiful Norfolk, United Kingdom.

    • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

      William Leverne Smith 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Beautiful images. The poppies brought me in, I stayed to see the rest. Thanks for sharing!! ;-)

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      jantaya

      I am delighted that you have found your way to my Hubs. I like to think that you will find several more here which should appeal to your taste. Photography is a passion of mine. My personal favorite is a walk I took with Butterflies and Dragonflies.

      Thank you so much for your very kind comments

      Sally

    • jantamaya profile image

      Maria Janta-Cooper 2 years ago from UK

      What a beautiful hub! Amazing. Love the text and all the photos!!!! Thank you for this beauty. Are your hubs all like this? Wow.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      D.A.L. - thanks for the lovely comment, the vote up, beautiful and interesting! Your visits are always very much appreciated.

      Best wishes

      Sally

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      D.A.L. - thanks for the lovely comment, the vote up, beautiful and interesting! Your visits are always very much appreciated.

      Best wishes

      Sally

    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 3 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Beautiful church,beautiful flowers, beautiful hub, enhanced by your great photography. Voted up ,beautiful,interesting.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      tobusiness - I love poppies and there were some lovely images to get this year in Norfolk in the UK Nice time to think of those brave men who fought and lost their lives too so am glad you stopped by. Thank you.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 3 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Your hubs are a feast for the eyes, I love poppies but all your images are incredible beautiful.

      Great work.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      Syzanne Day - you are most welcome, thank you for taking the time to stop by.

    • Suzanne Day profile image

      Suzanne Day 3 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

      A very visual and picturesque hub. Thank you for writing it!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      I hope you can too, I think Norfolk has it's own beauty a gentleness which I have grown to love. Thank you for your comments regarding my photography and writing. Thank you for your visit.

    • Rock_nj profile image

      John Coviello 3 years ago from New Jersey

      Beautiful photos and commentary. My wife is from England and loves flowers (and painting flowers). Hopefully, next time we are visiting, we can make it to Norfolk.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      I love Norfolk and the peace and tranquility of it all. I am glad that you were able to stop by howcurecancer. Have a great day.

    • howcurecancer profile image

      Elena@LessIsHealthy 3 years ago

      Amazing! I would love to be there!!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      Thank you for your visit Thelma Alberts - I am glad you enjoyed it. You have a lovely day too.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 3 years ago from Germany

      What a beautiful photos! I enjoyed "walking" with you. Thanks for sharing this very interesting and informative hub. Well done. Have a great day!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      PeggyW

      Mrs Browns Parlour

      Thank you both so much for your visit and also your very kind comments. I very mjuch enjoyed writing it. Norfolk is often described as being flat and boring but I don't share this opinion - I think it is calm and beautiful and there are so many wonderful places to discover. The poppies are an annual delight which one can always look forward to.

      Thank you for the votes and also the share. Sally

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image

      Lurana Brown 3 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Enchanting writing and gorgeous photos! Beautiful piece, thank you for sharing. :-) Lurana

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      What a marvelous sojourn into the countryside. Your photos and descriptions are absolutely stunning. I loved reading and viewing this from afar. Thank you! Up, beautiful and interesting votes and will share with my followers. This is a visual feast for the eyes!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      Nell Rose, thank you so much. The poppies have been amazing this year - one moment here and then they are gone! Such a short beautiful life and then they leave little pepper pots of seeds behind! Nature sure is something special and yes, so too, so is the stainglass in that lovely church. Thank you for the vote and also for the share, it is much appreciated. Sally

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

      This was such a beautiful hub, those photos were stunning. I also loved the poppys, nature knows how to do it best I think, but the church and the stainglass was amazing! voted up and shared, nell

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      Hi Eddy

      So glad that you enjoyed it. Here's to many more for both of us to share too. Have a great day

      Sally

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      Interesting, useful and so very beautiful.

      Here's to so many more for us both to share on here.

      Lots of love

      Eddy.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      Thank you MsDora, It made me happy to share them with you. I always appreciate you visits - thank you so much!

      Best wishes, Sally

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      Thank you Kathryn, I am so glad you were able to come along for this outing. It gave me a lot of pleasure to bring it to you. It also allowed me to show a little more of what 'makes me tick'. I appreciate your comments and your visit, thank you very much Kathryn.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for those gorgeous pictures. I remember, as a child, wearing a poppy on Poppy's day in honor of the heroes. You've added some feeling!

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 3 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      This is beautiful! The photos are spectacular, and your words show me what you see, hear, smell and think. I liked how it flowed from one thing to another. We may not be able to smell what you do, but with our imaginations we can come pretty close! Thanks for bringing us along this journey, starting with those stunning poppy fields.

      Have a wonderful day!

      ~ Kathryn

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      Thank you so much DDE - so lovely to see your beautiful face on my HubPages too. Have a great day.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      One of the most attractive presented hubs so beautiful photos and a great idea to share such beauty on HP

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      Billybuc - so too are the simple chairs -such a tribute to the men who made then. I love their symmetry - they are the first things I saw in that lovely church. Thank you for your visit billybuc.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 3 years ago from Norfolk

      Joe, how lovely to have you come visit with me. I missed the end of your long writing journey as I was away for a little while. Now, I shall have to catch up with it but I though of you several times on my own little journeyhere among the poppy fields. Have a great day Joe and Aloha to you and your week ahead.

      Sally

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      What a wonderful array of pictures. I should love the poppies the most, but I really love the shot of the chairs. Well done!

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      Oh, my, Sally! What a literary and visual feast you've prepared for us here! I'm honored to be an invited guest. Thank you so very much for utilizing those awesome talents God blessed you with. Your writing and your photography paint indelible images on my soul. Aloha, and have a great week up ahead!

      Joe

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