School’s Out

I love this old photograph, showing children in their ageless cliques. Looking at the girls’ bonnets and the sign on the side of the building I think they are fresh out of Sunday School

Fast forward a hundred years and those lads would be getting thrown out of McDonald’s.

Sedentary Sunday

Sunday morning. Palm Sunday morning.

Reading outside in the sun.

Slowly the town awakens, quite some time after the world had awoken.

Blackbirds are nesting in the bushes that border the garden; jackdaws in the tall chimney pots.

All unnoticed by the people returning from the shops with their six packs to greet the sun with, or driving around the estate on their noisy quad bikes.

Flaubert comes to mind: ‘Civilisation is a conspiracy against poetry’.

Maybe I’m getting old. Given to moan a lot.

Remember #1

Today, for the first time, we were unable to attend the Remembrance Sunday service that takes place at a local memorial in Collyhurst, where ancestors of mine are listed. So instead, yesterday, we took our remembrance crosses to Phillip’s Park cemetery. Normally, we place one cross at the service, then one in the cemetery where one of these ancestors lies.

In a cold, autumn wind, my son placed a cross on the unmarked grave of his Gt Gt Grandfather, who died in 1919 as a result of being gassed at the front. Once a year, around the spot when other forgotten members of my family once stood, this anonymous spot is located by a marker.

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It lay lost amongst the autumn foliage, barely noticeable to any passing mourners, but to those to whom this kind of thing matters, we know it is there.

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Our second cross this year found a home at the memorial in this cemetery. No doubt this morning, the day after we visited, these three, lonely crosses will be joined by a forest of others, each placed in the name of people long gone. Side by side, on parade.

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The sword and the cross. The suffering and the hope. Symbol and silence.

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In memory of my two Gt Grandfathers, and my wife’s Gt Uncle. R.I.P

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Sunday Mornings, Lazy Mornings

Sunday mornings should be lazy mornings, leisurely mornings. There is a feeling of time slowed right down. This morning, at least, the sun is out, its light streaming in through half closed window blinds. Or are they half open? I guess it’s a question of perspective. The dilemma of whiskey drinkers the world over.

The children are asleep. My wife being away with my fourteen year old daughter, I had a late night with my two youngest. First, my son was placated with the latest Doctor Who episode, and then his sister wanted a Marilyn Monroe night. Being a fan of the shining, doomed starlet, she has her favourite movies, but we plumped for Monkey Business, a film in which she has a lesser role. The premise of the film is silly, but that doesn’t matter when you are seeking 90 minutes of escapism.

There were many laugh out loud moments. And, of course, my lad loves monkeys.

Ginger Rogers is brilliant in it. I used to think that she was ‘just’ a dancer, rather than an actress. For someone who professes a love for old films, I can be quite ignorant. But I am au fait with Cary Grant.

So now the kids sleep in, the morning crawls by, languid minute by languid minute, and I observe its pass with a cup of coffee and silent demeanour.

My wife returns tonight: I have a house to clean.

But I have a book to read, too.

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