Its rare that we go to see a film on opening weekend, our nearest multiplex cinema is a 40 mile round trip so we have to be very excited to make such plans. Today was one of those films that we were all keen to see and wishing to have a quiet relaxed weekend before all the Christmas parties and events sprinkle the diary, it was the perfect timing.
Paddington was one of those books and television programmes which I fondly remember as a child and its charm and wit were beautifully transferred to this film. Its a timeless film which could be set in any decade, but it had a magical quality, I loved the scenes in the antique shop and around London a mix of fantasy and fairy tale against the city setting. The children loved the slapstick but for me it was the beauty of the themes which made the film. Its about belonging, with poignant references to World War 2 child evacuees and the importance of being and loving as a family. It felt so relevant to our family life and a few tears did fall in the darkness of the cinema.
This story was such a part of my childhood that I reminisced with the children of when Granfer would take me to find Paddington Bear at Paddington station. I remember the Paddington so well, a very large plush Paddington Bar in a glass case and I loved it. I’ve since been on the Internet and cannot find an image anyway, its so frustrating when you can remember something so clearly in your head but cannot find any evidence on the net. Now, there is a statue at Paddington station and whilst it looks lovely, for me it doesn’t have the same charm and style of the 1970/80s model.
The children have been asking for some play doh playtime all this week. Its been a busy week with sickness, a ballet recital, school trips and just the daily ‘busyness’ of life so such an activity was difficult to fit in but I had promised that we would get creative at the weekend. The pleas were still being made this morning, so after hair cuts and football, we settled down to our play doh afternoon. Now, it would be easy just to prep up the activity and leave the children to play whilst I tried to tackle some of my never ending to do list, but something in me felt the need to be in the moment to be playing, listening and creating with the children. They are growing up so quickly and its these moments I’ll remember and look back fondly on in the years to come, I want the children to remember me as Mum who was there, did stuff and laughed with them.
Today is Remembrance Sunday and I feel strongly about honouring and remembering our armed services who have served in conflict around the world. This afternoon, I took the children to the annual Remembrance Day parade in town, it was a wet afternoon but there was an impressive crowd of all ages. It was a simple parade, an old WW2 vehicle leading, enabling some of the more infirm veterans to participate, a pipe band providing the music, a group of veterans proudly parading in their uniforms and medals, local dignitaries and public service organisations and then current soldiers from a local garrison. We watched the parade, which paraded first to the parish church for a short service and then to the war memorial for the wreath laying ceremony. During the service, I took the children to the war memorial which already had a number of wreaths around it despite the official ceremony not having taken place. I wanted to show the children the memorial up close, Little Man had been talking about soldiers names and I wanted to see if we could find a soldier who shared his name on the memorial, unfortunately it was simply initials for the first names so we weren’t able to but we did find multiple entries for some family names, it was quite emotional discussing with the children that these men may have been brothers, cousins etc..
Finding a soldier with your name or birthday was always an activity we used to do when as a French teacher, I helped to run school trips to Normandy. The rows of graves at the Commonwealth cemeteries was so powerful and we liked to think that this activity helped our students have a special link with a fallen soldier, rather than be overwhelmed by the sight of all the graves.
There has been much in the news of the art installation, Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red at the Tower of London, where in the moat they have planted more than 880,000 ceramic poppies to represent the Commonwealth dead of WW1. I have not been able to visit it but it is stunning and such a powerful and emotive memorial. I have purchased one of the ceramic poppies, which will raise money for armed forces charities and am looking forward to displaying it in our home. We will remember them…