Friday 11 November 2011


Yes. I know. It's been weeks. Months. I almost forgot that I was a blogger. Well it's not as if anyone out there is reminding me... and I've been away and busy and all sorts of darned excuses. Researching book number two now, but please look out for book number one which will be coming in your direction in 2013. Lord that seems a world away. And I must brush up on my German. Hah now that's got you interested. I'll give you the title and the reason why, if you're very good and say hello to me before then. Put it in your diaries. Diary. Hi Alice, how's it going? Sole friend. You know why already.
11.11.11 I took my cup of coffee to the local Cenotaph and gathered myself there along with a pit bull terrier (or some such dog) and its owner, the local parking ticket man, complete with high viz jacket, and a whole bunch of others who just melted out of the street and cars and shops and landed around the monument. It wasn't an official thing, that's on Sunday, and there was no-one to lead us in a service, so we just did our own, taking the cue from the local private school which hauled out all of its pupils, gowned up all of its teachers and rustled up a very fine cornet player. The Last Post drifted over the school, enough to catch most of it, and use as a timing device. Then silence.
Silence is an interesting thing. You hear all sorts. Like the scrape of leaves across the paving stones, and the trees breathing in the wind. Oh and the cars, still moving, not stopping for a couple of minutes, which is a pity. What's two minutes out of 356 days worth?
No, I don't know anyone on that monument, I don't know their families. I read the names anyway, as a list poem, and when you've only one face of the monument to read, you get to the bottom of the list and start again. You can go on and on. Not just for two minutes but for two days. More. The same names repeating so that maybe you almost get to know them. Remembrance Day services always remind me of my dad, who, if he was alive today, would still sit and cry as the poppies tumble down and the bands march. Big tough Royal Marine, battle-scarred inside and out. He could so easily have been a name on a monument. I'm so glad that he wasn't. But maybe we all have someone, somewhere, whose name could be on a monument. I suppose that's why I gathered myself and my coffee, and though not properly dressed, (writing gear, sloppy, slobbing around gear, I hope nobody minded) stood in a biting wind and heard the leaves and the wonderful cornet player, just a boy, probably in a school uniform.
That's it. I'm done now.


  1. At last a post; and a very nice one too. But why do you need to be learning german? Are you coming to pay me a visit in Regensburg? Or are you going to the massive Frankfurter book fair re- your new editor?
    And really, although I don't say anything I really do have a little pang of disappointment when I click my special "from under the compost heap" favourites tab and nothing new has appeared.
    But there's a question: where is the "comments" box for the absence of posts, I don't see it...

    Looking forward to seeing you at Christmas!

  2. HI Alice
    here goes. Let's see if this works.Yes, the book will be published in Berlin so may do a trip there...and I'd dearly love to read some of it out in German, though I draw the line at answering questions in anything other than Geordie.