Thursday, 02 July 2020
I am privileged to be part of the CB2 writing group and another writing exercise prompted this cosy recollection....
My birthday is on the longest day of the year and sometimes I’d have a party in Nonsuch Park, close to the site of the palace where Henry XIII and his courtiers hunted. It was within walking distance of the house I grew up in in Surrey. Memory says that these June celebrations were always sunny – never too hot, and it never ever rained.
We’d set up our picnic beside a clump of trees in a hollow that harboured field mice and voles and squirrels and I found especially fascinating for another reason. During the war people turned the park over to growing vegetables and during the Blitz people lit fires intending to mislead enemy aircraft so they’d drop their bombs on the park, not on peoples’ homes in and around London. Ten-year-old me was gobsmacked that craters in the park – albeit now infilled with trees and scrub – were evidence that bombs really had fallen. It made that awful history seem believable. Somehow it was more concrete evidence of the war that my garrulous Dad’s tales from his days fighting with the Irish Guards in Normandy.
The birthday parties were amazing. Dad organised games and Mum handed out unhealthy foods and fizzy drinks never usually allowed at home. I was the centre of it all. People brought me presents, I chose which games we’d play from my Dad’s impressive repertoire and I cut Mum’s amazing cake and handed it out on paper napkins. I felt like royalty.
The day was always perfect, the sun shone for me and the summer holidays from school were about to start and promised yet more excitement. I was in paradise.
Posted: 02/07/2020 09:43:27
| with 0 comments
Filed under: Blitz
, Nonsuch Park
, Second World War