March 31, 2017, and an unusually warm and sunny day here in Kingston-upon-Hull, Yorkshire.
Hull as it is known locally and sometimes called for obvious reasons is the U.K.s City of Culture 2017.
This sometime bruised and battered semi-northern city, situated on the North Bank of the River Humber, just keeps bouncing back after each hit; high unemployment, bad press nationally, increased crime figures, poor health and more have all hit the reputation of this city and its population at one time or another and we are not quite out of the woods yet; in fact we may never be but we will continue to fight for a way out.
In party of the city centre of Hull the world famous Ferens Art Gallery, City Hall music and theatre venue and Hull Maritime building await your discovery.
Some fine statues bedeck a raised part in the middle of these buildings. But Queen Victoria and her cohorts only offer you long established free toilet facilities.
Crossing Victoria Square to access these toilet facilities was a daring feat when this blogger was a child as traffic whirled around but these days like much of Hull's city centre it is pedestrianised.
Until recently a huge wind turbine blade boldly dominated this square as a temporary art installation for the City of Culture festivities.
Initially the square looked so empty when the blade was removed but there have been some changes now.
Construction work, the accompanied staff, equipment and barriers are still visible in parts of the city centre almost one year and five months after work started but the construction sites are shrinking fast as completion nears.
New and stylish seating is in the square.
And appearing to tumble down the outside of the city's former Dock Offices, now the Maritime Museum, are bright red ceramic poppies. These 'poppies' began a tour of the U.K. following a successful installation in London:
The major art installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red at the Tower of London, marked one hundred years since the first full day of Britain's involvement in the First World War.
In November 2014 BBC News reported "888,246 poppies will start to be dismantled by a team of about 8,000 volunteers" and thousands were to go on a nationwide tour.
The ceramic poppies displayed in London were for sale with money raised going to the British Legion and five other charities; "Chancellor George Osborne has previously agreed to waive the £1.1m VAT from the poppy sales, also using money from Libor fines."
The Maritime Museum was chosen for the Hull installation of "weeping window" because of the sacrifices made by the city's Merchant and Royal Navies.
This blogger's grandfather was a merchant seaman who died during WWII. His vessel was sunk by a U Boat while it was travelling off the coast of Egypt.
But the city has a history of service on land, in the air and at sea during various conflicts.
It has severely bombed during the WWII Blitz though that was kept an official secret nationally for many years.
Hull's "weeping window" is small compared to the installation in London but it sits well in its temporary location.
On a sunny day the blue sky, cleaned up stone buildings and red of the poppies contrast wonderfully.
But remember each poppy represents a person lost in WWI.
The display in Hull will end in May 2017. The ceramic poppy tour of the UK ends in 2018 one hundred years after WWI ended.
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