Friday, 1 July 2016


When will they ever learn?

This morning I was in central Birmingham and fancied brunch. I went into Prêt-à-Manger (sounds French, but isn't) and ordered porridge (sort of Scottish). The cheery lady behind the counter rang my purchase on the electronic till and it flashed up her name. Her name was Polish. She handed across my change and I unthinkingly said Dziękuję. Dziękuję she said back to me, and smiled.

No big deal. The everyday stuff of life. I used to take such things for granted.

Three days ago, for example, I found myself in conversation via Facebook messaging with a Hungarian conductor who is living and working in France. We were writing in English. This was something else that I had sort of taken for granted, no need for consideration or comment, one way or the other. Such things can happen all the time.

In Prêt this morning I took my porridge upstairs and sat by the window, a little sad. A time of unthinking assurance had come to a end. I had begun to feel that it never would, in my time or after.

Through the window something caught my attention in the street below. A file of about a dozen young people, all thin, all dressed in khaki British Army field uniforms of a hundred years ago, were filing down the road. A shockingly vivid and evocative image. I do not know where they were going but today the nations who fought each other on the Somme are remembering, together, what we did to each other.

The irony was not lost on me.

Sag mir wo die Blumen sind



Anonymous Andrew said...

Friday, 1 July 2016 at 12:38:00 BST  

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