Despite all my moaning and mention of boredom I’m having a reasonable time at work and, let’s face it, the money is enjoyable. After 25 years of precarious self-employment I’m just starting to relax with the idea there will always be money at the end of the month.
Here are some of the things I’ve been working on recently.
The first one is a railway whistle – a traditional ACME Thunderer, as you can see, with the “LMS” stamp of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway. It came to us with a number of other bits, including a pair of First World War Medals, a membership card for the LDV, which was the forerunner of the Home Guard, and a nasty looking bomb or shell splinter.
The whistle disappeared in the post and we were just getting ready to reimburse the customer when, according to a note he sent today, it appeared. It’s taken a month. Such is life on eBay.
Private Mobbs served in France at the end of the war and hasn’t left much trace of his military activities, but, despite being in a reserved occupation, he was prepared to give up his nights and days off to train with the Home Guard to defend the country all over again.
The next photographs show poppies on coins. The commemoration of the Great War is becoming increasingly mawkish as time goes on, and the recent centenary celebrations have made things worse. Everybody, it now seems, is an expert on the First World War, and everybody has an opinion. I have my own opinions about many of these opinions, but I’ll keep them to myself. All I’ll say is that Blackadder Goes Forth is a comedy, but many people treat it like a documentary.
This is a crown issued by the Falkland Islands. The Falklands are not strangers to war, with a major naval engagement there in 1914, as well as the more modern war.
The second is issued by the UK, the first time (2017) that the UK has issued a commemorative of this type, though other Commonwealth countries have done so.
The story of then poppy as a remembrance of the Great War is an interesting one, and although we tend to think of it as a British thing, we owe it to an American academic called Moina Michael. She took the poppy on board and popularised it, and wrote a poem of her own in response to McRae’s famous In Flanders Fields.
They are poems of their time, and are probably not quite in line with modern taste, so the poem of the day is Larkin again, with MCMXIV.