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Not stories but excerises. attempts to get emotion on the page. If they make you smile weep or shiver they have made it!
These were written whilst writing a novel. I had problems getting emotions to hit the reader. Looking back a couple of years later I thought they would make a short book - and they have!
Table of contents
The house in the middle.
The old knife in the drawer.
The first sip of beer.
Shall we have a barbeque?
Reading on the beach.
The new car.
Where were you when Diana died?
A Mars bar.
Bacon bone soup.
Taking the underground.
Have you heard the one about...?
The right moment.
What can I wear?
So what’s it all about?
The new trading system.
The house in the middle.
It is an aberration. The line of Victorian dwellings, uniform, symmetrical, and identical, has been breached. Rows of yellow London brick, grey slates, and leaning chimneys have been interrupted by a flagrant white square. It sits lonely and different, like a lost blockhouse. The balance, aesthetics and skill of traditional architecture have been offended. The disciplined patience of the nineteen hundreds stands in superior contrast to the hurried botch of the late forties.
How on earth did it get there?
Jerry built in the mad rush for accommodation and profit, and patched up ever since, it looks cheap and inferior, hugged as it is by its neighbours of quality. It emanates unease, a breakdown of planning, a monument to stupidity, or, to dark money counted in whispers in council corridors.
But the thinking and logic of today does not fit with the nineteen forties. There is a clue in the railway line. The road was built when railways were novel. People fought to live near fashion, to sip tea in the garden as the trains rolled by. It was smart, it was sedate, it was secure.
Then the murderers came with their tubes of death, raping the skies of England. Railways became the lifelines of the nation, carrying food, munitions and troops. Terrified teenage aircrews, paralysed with fear and deep in enemy territory, pressed their buttons hastily, anything to escape the RAF slaughter and the bombs tumbled everywhere.
The house is not an error of planning, a dubious land deal or that monument to stupidity.
It is a Cenotaph.
To those who crouched, terrified as the night roared red and was blown to bits, who starved on rations and lived by the hour, who repaired the lines and made the bullets for victory so that we could criticise.
There are many Cenotaphs in the streets of England.