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Lest we forget – why I’ll remember the poppies 

By  Lysette Offley

Why I’ll remember the poppies

Why I'll remember the poppies - photo of poppies at the Tower Of London

As you know, I help a lot of people learn how to learn – that’s to say, how to absorb and then retain information so that they not only pass their exams easily, but still have the information at their fingertips beyond the exam.

I often get asked why we remember some things and not others.

Have you ever wondered why some stuff just seems to stick? Well, there is a reason for that (several, actually) and my visit to see the poppies a few years ago will stay in my memory for those same reasons.

Here are the characteristics of things you find easy to remember:


  • Are important and have meaning to you
  • Fit right in to your frame of reference – you can relate to them
  • Are interesting and significant
  • Are amusing or surprising
  • Provoke an emotional response
  • Are engaging – you actively take part in the experience – you pay attention
  • Engage your senses, and are highly visual

Lest we forget - why I'll remember the poppies - Photo of the poppies at the Tower of LondonSo yes, my experience on this particular Sunday was all of those things.

Some might say that choosing to drive in to London on the nearest Sunday to Armistice Day, passing Westminster and the Cenotaph at 11.00am, on the centenary of the commencement of the First World War wasn’t the best timing!

Lest we forget - why I'll remember the poppies. Photo of poppies at the Tower of LondonBut I’d just dropped Nige off at Heathrow, so I was half way there. It was a glorious sunny and hot day (in NOVEMBER!) and I knew this was my last chance before the display would be dismantled.

OK, so I had to detour around Westminster, which, of course was closed, but I found an ideal parking spot on Tower Bridge, just across the river. A short walk over the bridge, taking in the great views as I went, and hoorah! I was there!

To say the place was heaving would be an understatement! After all it was Armistice Sunday – I wasn’t the only one to have had the idea!

Lest we forget - why I'll remember the poppies. Photo of poppies at the Tower Of London

But I’m so grateful to have had the chance to really engage with the experience, on my own, in my own time. I took nearly 200 photos, most of which I will spare you! However, as you see, I soon became preoccupied with the shadows cast by the crowds of visitors.

Lest we forget - why I'll remember the poppies. Photo of poppies at the Tower of LondonMy imagination ran riot. I was of course thinking about the hundreds of thousands of souls who gave their lives defending our freedom. And standing at Traitor’s Gate, I couldn’t help wondering about the various people through history, for whom the Tower was a place of violence and the last thing they ever saw…

A good example of ‘mindfulness’, ‘being in the moment’, ‘being present’ ‘meditation’ – call it what you will – but good for my soul, with images, emotions and an experience I will remember forever.


How’s about this for a nice touch?

Lest we forget - why I'll remember the poppies. Photo of Harry HayesThe last of the 888 246 poppies was ‘planted’ on November 11th, for his great, great, great uncle, by Harry Hayes, a thirteen year old cadet. Very special to see him saluting alongside war veterans in their full dress regalia.

But even better than that… He’s from SONNING, just up river from us, and half way along my cycle route to Reading.

A local lad!

Local to us anyway!

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Lysette Offley

Genius Maker & Founder of Genius Material and The Genius Principles. Working with professionals who need exceptional academic & professional development.

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