Good Morning Dear Friends . . .
Well, I've just sat down after an exhausting (well, hardly!) 40 minutes or so dashing away with the smoothing iron and pressing my bib and tucker into some kind of vaguely presentable shape for my trip out later this morning to the cenotaph . . . glancing out of the library window the weather seems fairish and blue-skyed so one can't really ask more than that I suppose . . . on a point of sheer vanity I am delighted to announce that the two sides in the war of my suit jacket have also agreed an armistice and are clasping each other firmly as brothers should, so the lack of alcohol in my life is having an effect after all!
Which actually brings me to another point; it has been my tradition to have a glass of beer before I go to the Cenotaph and normally one afterwards, in some local hostelry such as the Moon . . . it hardly seems worth it to go in and drink a glass of non-alcohol lager does it? I shall ponder on it longer and deep whilst chilling my toes off in the churchyard whilst looking around me and searching for the familiar faces of friends and acquaintances . . . as I have said in a previous post the commanding figure of Jack Bolton will not be with us this year and with each passing year time takes its toll; however, I do believe that the memory will live on a while longer and, sadly, as we are no nearer to peace than we have ever been there always will be newly fallen ones to remember . . . the war to end all wars . . . hmmm!
You may be wondering what a peace-loving, buddhist-type (with a small b) chap is doing attending such events and I suppose there are a couple of reasons; primarily I attend on behalf of my late father who fought in the war and lost friends at Monte Casino and in the North Africa campaign and for who the day had a really significant meaning. As he is no longer with us I feel it almost a duty to be there in his stead. Another reason is for my mother. Although the Old Duchess is still relatively hale and hearty the travel and standing about wouldn't do her too much good and so I go and place a cross in the Garden of Remembrance for her uncle Arthur Whittle who was killed in 1943 in Benghazi.
And so I suppose I must away and to my toilette to make myself presentable to the great and the good on this Sunday morning . . . a quick peek through the window and, yes, gray clouds are slowly sliding in and preventing the blue sky and sun from being with us all today - oh hum! With any luck it will just be cold and miserable rather than raining - especially for the hordes of brownies and beavers and other assorted animals masquerading as children that are forcibly pressed into service this morning and who seem rather lost with it all . . . I suppose for them, unless they've lost a parent in a recent conflict - which one can only hope not - it's like trying to associate with Agincourt whereas, even though a relatively young stripling in comparison to the majority attending, for myself it has real and strong family connections.
Anyhow, make yourself at home whilst I'm out; make free with the breakfast and with drinks; lounge in the comfy chairs and read the papers; it is, after all, Sunday and a day of rest . . . and for those, as Rupert Brooke said resting in the corner of a foreign field, another year passed in Elysium.
'til next time
Be Seeing you !
* "The Soldier" Rupert Brooke