Thursday, 1 May 2014

Red, White … and Blue

I am really enjoying the BBC1 Series “Crimson Field” which airs on a Sunday night [not that I have watched any in ‘real time’ – thus far all have been recorded for catch-up later] I guess it is quite predictable plot-wise, but I find so many aspects of it very interesting.

crimsonfield cast

It has quite a stellar cast – I have yet to see Hermione Norris in a role where I have not ‘believed in’ her character – she can play such diverse parts so very convincingly. Kevin Doyle has done well for himself away from Downton too!  I thought Sam West was brilliantly evil last week [like Mr Cumberbatch, he’s had the benefit of two distinguished actor parents, so it is probably in his genes]

I’m a little ambivalent about all this WW1 stuff – part of me realises that we need to acknowledge the centenary of the start of WW1, but I hope we are not going to have 4 years of programmes [which will end just before 2019, when we will be at 80 years from the start of WW2] I wasn’t happy about an announcer recently declaring a programme was to ‘celebrate’ the start of the War. I do hope he’d misread his autocue and it really said ‘commemorate’

crimson field matronOn the bottom of my Dad’s bookshelf in the 1960s was a little Red Cross Manual, which I think had belonged to Grandad in WW1. It included instructions on how to fold a Nurse’s Veil [like those above] from a square of linen. [Similar details here]

I drove Mum mad by getting out her linen table napkins and making a hat and apron from them. Eventually a lady in the church kindly made me a nurse's uniform. She sewed a red cross onto the apron – but sadly it was not colourfast, and ‘bled’ alarmingly the first time it was washed. I cried. Lots! There’s a superb guide to the WW1 Military Nursing Uniforms here, and the BBC have been careful about accuracy. So that’s the red and white – but the blue?

It’s the enamelware! I just love enamelware, and the way the soldiers have their mugs and bowls and plates of blue and white enamel [and the surgical instruments are in metal dishes] I have a few bits of stuff – I think a pie plate and a couple of regular dinner plates would be good. I keep looking in CS, but with no success yet.


Are you watching Crimson Field? What do you think of it? [Bob’s not keen. I’ve talked to a couple of female friends who both said ‘I watch the recordings when my other half is out – he hates it!’]


  1. I enjoyed the first couple but when Vera came back onto ITV this week, it was no contest and I headed northwards very readily. Maybe I will catch up with the nurses on the i-player if I have time. It didn't keep my interest terribly well, even though I thought it would because of the quality of the acting from people like Hermione Norris and Suranne Jones. Like you, I was glad to see the butler from Downton emerge as a stronger character!

  2. Also seen - Lee Ingleby from Inspector George Gently complete with shot back and sides and a moustache!

  3. Lakeland have the blue and white enamel plates. I have a lovely pie plate.

  4. We used to have enamel ware at my prep school. Whenever I see it I'm reminded of lining up in the kitchen for meals.
    Jane x

  5. Yes, I wondered that about whether we'll have four years of it! I've got to arrange a WW1 concert for November for school. I was originally going to write a musical and was going to fill in all sorts of funding bids but it was hell and I decided it was a bit too much!x


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