Yes, I still have homework - of a sort! Completely voluntary now, as a local writing group in Havant continues to goad me into action. I've spent the afternoon tapping away at the keyboard, so thought I'd post the fruits of my labours.
The assignment was 'Remembering: A Narrator's Point of View'
I’m in bed, eyes closed, willing my mind to be still long enough for sleep to claim me, but my ears are still busy. Far off motorway traffic hisses on the rain soaked road. A dog barks. Plane engines drone… But suddenly this innocent plane, full of holiday makers, morphs into a monster…
The whine and whoomph of exploding bombs swirl my world with blasts of spiralling air, and flames reach up into the black night sky… I am a small child again, standing in my cot, not understanding that the pyrotechnic display means death…
Sirens wail for the second time tonight. “ Come on Dorry, here’s Penny’s blanket – quick, let’s get back down the shelter. They must be starting again. ” My Gran fusses around us, and Auntie Glad is already on her way downstairs, shrugging into a coat over her nightie, with two hats clamped on her head, like the leaning tower of Pisa.
Auntie Nell and Betty have reached the back door. They’ve grabbed a couple of thermos flasks and a bag of sandwiches off the scullery table. The first raid was short, but this might be a long one. Searchlight beams swing back and forth across the sky, making the land with its blacked out streets and houses seem darker than night itself.
One by one the family dash through the gloom past Uncle Fred’s shed and the coal bunker over which sweet-smelling, white jasmines droop. Feet stumble a little as they climb down the earth steps into the Anderson Shelter, whose humped-turf roof looms like a giant mole hill on the left hand side of the back garden. I get joggled along in Mum’s arms, but once in the shelter, I have my own little chair to sit in, and here we all are – huddled like a row of dummies in a secondhand clothes shop, dishevelled, sleep deprived but unbeaten.
I hear the adults talk of doodlebugs, V2’s, incendiaries; words which mean nothing, but gradually I learn the different noises associated with each of them as they fall from the skies, and on some level, I understand silence is sometimes worse than sound, for it is in the silences the women’s tensions can be felt. But they hold their fears in check, and guard my innocence.