This was an event worth participating in. In the week before, we drove through Yorkshire to see all the villages decorated with knitted, yes knitted, poppies, hundreds of thousands of them. At Fountains Abbey it was raining too hard to walk to the abbey, so we went to Ripon Cathedral instead. Again there were knitted streams of poppies flowing through the nave, but in the transept was quite another memorial. Mud brought from the trenches had been spread out, and as it dried, ghostly figures of soldiers were emerging.
The portraits of soldiers raked in the sands on 30 beaches were amazing, given that at ground level it would be impossible to see how the works looked. When the tides turned, all the images were slowly erased.
In Newcastle city centre I was impressed by the crowds, thousands of people, many hundreds of soldiers, two bands and a long marching procession. The only way I could see any of it was to stand on a litter bin to see over the 8 deep crowd. It was moving, and I felt proud of all my fellow Geordies.