War Stories – The Great War as Seen on Television

Ceramic poppies in the moat of the Tower of London, one for each British fatality of World War 1. Photo: BBC

Canadians have given more attention to Remembrance Day this year, mostly due to the death of Corporal Nathan Cirillo, the Hamilton-based soldier who was killed last month by a lone shooter who also breached security on Parliament Hill. The death of a soldier defending a cenotaph is most definitely an understandable reason to set aside one’s ambivalence and embrace a sense of patriotism, but I had expected that Canada would have made more of an effort to acknowledge the fact that this is the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the first world war.

With Britain from the very start, Canada’s contribution included 67,000 dead and 250,000 wounded. Yet there appears to be little mention of the Great War, or the important anniversary, at all this Remembrance Day.

Quite the opposite from the activity in the UK where massive memorials are taking place – over the summer, the moat of the Tower of London has been progressively filled with 888,246 poppies created by ceramic artist Paul Cummins.

On the telly, much of the year’s programming has included shows about or referencing World War 1, including a number of regular historical drama series.

Here’s where to learn more about The Great War:

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Everybody’s Heard About the Birds

Every year we go to the Royal Winter Fair on the first day, and every year we go home disappointed. Not because the Royal isn’t awesome, it is! But because we always forget that the poultry competitions don’t take place until mid-week. This year, we held off and attended the fair on Wednesday, specifically to check out the hundred of truly gorgeous birds.

I should have been taking notes because I have only a vague recollection of the names of the breeds for most of these, but these were definitely the best of the best. Slightly disappointed to see so few really rare breeds – a few silkies and a frizzle, but not a crested Poland in sight. Still, these birds are all really beautiful, and it’s really interesting to see how much they vary in size and colouration.

The observant will note the absence of any male turkeys  -despite my best efforts the buggers would all turn and shake their tail feather at me, every single time I tried to take a shot.

Thirty or so photos to follow, probably not of much interest unless you’re a bird lover, but they are pretty darn cool.

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