Monday, 17 November 2014

My search for an all-year poppy

Walking about in a high-immigrant area of south London last week proudly sporting my poppy - something I have done every November since a schoolboy without thought - I did something I've never done, which is to assess how many others around me were doing similarly. The answer is far fewer than I would have thought. Very few young people, very few women and very, very few immigrants - the notable exceptions being a pair of wizened little Nepalese fellows, almost certainly ex-Gurkhas. And yes, I was aware, but not at all concerned, that should some deluded Jihadist with a breadknife be on the prowl, I'd make a prime target.

I'm of an age and background that views outward displays of partisanship as rather vulgar and capable of causing unintended offence; union flag enamel lapel pins, a crucifix or suchlike are therefore out. And none of my clothes are permitted to display the tailor's name except discreetly on a patch in the lining. The poppy is the one symbol, worn for one brief week, that says so much; respect for those who have lost their lives, a belief in the causes for which they fell and a quiet and dignified statement of national solidarity. 

My search is on for something that communicates in the quiet, respectful, tolerant way as does the poppy those values which I and many more hold dear. A Help for Heroes wristband comes closer than a union flag badge but still doesn't quite hit the right note. 

Any ideas?

14 comments:

backofanenvelope said...

I wear a veteran's badge.

Anonymous said...

I think an SMLE over one's shoulder might be a necessity soon.

Anonymous said...

backofanenvelope has it spot on, the veteran's badge covers it perfectly.

And yes, I too once carried an SMLE in Malaya, and also a Sterling SMG, skills I am glad I retain.

G. Tingey said...

I have seen small enamel poppies this year.
They are, apparently difficult to find, though.

And yet, I think the seasonal wearing is a better thing to do.
Two examples:
Some years back, it was the last week of October & I'd got a poppy "in" & was sent on a works course ... which included a couple of French employees of our larger group.
One noticed & realised & asked "est ce que pour les veterans de la guerre?" [ Or something like that] & I said yes, of course ...
He was VERY polite thereafter ....

Another occasion reduced even me to speechless rage, when (I forget what) some guvmint idiocy put "our lads" in to unnecessary danger & I said so. Some ultra-rightwing fuckwit stated "Bet you're one of those creeps who would wear a white poppy"
Given that 2 of my uncles survived the trenches, on of them also survived "the railway" & my father was drafted to be a "civil servant" - to make explosives (he was a professional organic chemist) ...
I started to splutter after about 20 seconds, & then swear, but to no effect ....

Anonymous said...

http://www.poppyshop.org.uk/poppy-lapel-pin.html

This do?

Anonymous said...

Raedwald,
A Google search reveals several enamel lapel badges, example here

Anonymous said...

A well cut tweed suit and a tie should suffice.

hatfield girl said...

Anon. 12 32. Ties aren't worn much at all any more though - and arguably are divisive (being their purpose).

It's easier for women. We wear pearls.

Pearls settle where you stand wonderfully.

Sebastian Weetabix said...

A rhodesian ridgeback should do the trick.

Demetrius said...

A Lee-Enfield Mk 4 No 2 with fixed bayonet would look nice.

Cascadian said...

I like your style Demetrius.

Not too heavily polished though, it should look field ready not ceremonial.

Subtlety just does not work.

Cascadian said...

But if you crave subtlety, how about a National Rifle Association lapel pin, and for those with a sensitive character there is the neutered NRA UK that also have a lapel pin.

That, or a golly pin from Messrs Robertson, easily available on Ebay there is even a very nice policeman golly pin that no copper could take offence to (who am I kidding). Teamed with a sword stick-very English.

Anonymous said...

Raedwald said:

'Walking about in a high-immigrant area of south London last week proudly sporting my poppy - something I have done every November since a schoolboy without thought..'

Where I live we don't have a high, medium or low immigrant area. There are no outward showings of patriotism either - no need - and that's how it's always been.

Having said that:

An old Royal Marine goes down my road every day still, he's 91; wears a blazer with the corps badge on the breast pocket. I've known him since he was 45.

About 6 years ago he told me he didn't take bullets in the chest at Normandy for his country to be turned over to the Third World.

I didn't argue with him.

Steve

Anonymous said...

Phlegmatic, an unflinching gaze, polite always, ready to help and always smartly turned out in understated but undisguised style, a ready smile and charming wit - no matter what the circumstances.

No necessity, of wearing a motif nor, decoration [unless awarded, gained in battle]. Forsooth, an Englishman always, ALWAYS stands out when matched against the rest.