D-Day And The Lost Stories Of Two Grandfathers

From 2014, the 70th anniversary.

City Jackdaw

Today, as I am sure you will be aware, is the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. I intend to watch the many programmes commemorating the event today, my thoughts no doubt turning to my two Grandfathers who took part in history’s largest ever land invasion. I know next to nothing of their own, personal D-Day stories. I know very little of their time during the war full stop. Like so many, it appears that they didn’t speak too much about it. And by the time my own curiosity had grown, it was too late.

One of them died of cancer before I was born, the other died when I was twenty years old,  at a time when I had yet to fully develop my great interest in history, and in particular my own family history.

I do wish I had asked. Either them, or other older relatives who may…

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If Walls Could Talk, Concrete Confess

The post that was Freshly Pressed two years ago, gaining me close to a thousand new followers: family, connections, generations and ghosts.

City Jackdaw

If walls could talk.

If concrete could confess.

If soul could seep through cement.

If only one of those monochrome apparitions could reach out and take me by the hand, leading me into a world of smoke and ale and revelation.


The woman stood by the door on the right of the picture is my great grandmother. The two little girls are my grandfather’s older sisters. The guy on the far left, in the bowler hat, is my great grandfather. The other two younger men could be family, I don’t know. Will probably never know. Posing with a football and a trophy of an unknown triumph, they remain silent, anonymous ghosts. Enigmas of imagination.

The building itself, its very brick and mortar, contains more than can be revealed in a two dimensional image. It contains that which is valued in meaning.

Ancestors of mine dwelt in that place between 1901…

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No More. On The Death Of My Father.

This poem appeared in my book, Heading North. Although in it I don’t explicitly say so, ‘No More’ was written after the death of my father, which was thirteen years ago today.

No More

No more. No more bleaching white
the nicotine stained flesh
of your fingers,
picking at the sterile 
veneer of cordiality 
amidst the well-thumbed
scattered deserts
from which ruins strive to rise.

No more counting down the markers,
elbows jostling territorially,
courting, sequential swans
rising in toasts, triumphant.
Your slow, inexorable withdrawal 
left behind a vacuum,
the equilibrium of a table
out of kilter.

No longer the trumpeted parading 
of the heir apparent,
the tedious repetition 
of vine and tongue,
reproduced seasoned lines 
framing the true inheritance 
and held to likeness.
Casual comparity no more. No more.

©Andrew James Murray

X-Rated Conversation


The effect that The X Factor has had on the art of conversation. My nine year old daughter Millie and I, Saturday night, when the girl from Finland came on to sing:

Millie: “Is this the Polish one?”

Me: “Finnish.”

Millie: “What?”

Me: “Finnish.”

Millie: “Is that her name?”

Me: “No, she’s Finnish.”

Millie: “But she’s only just started!”