… of a better day today, which is just as well because it couldn’t have been any worse than yesterday.
Not that I was expecting it to be because even though I was in bed at something like a reasonable time, once more it took me an age to go off to sleep.
Not as much on the dictaphone as last night either, and when the alarm went off I was flat out asleep. So at least that’s something.
After the medication and checking the mails and messages it took me another age to actually wind myself up to start work. I seem to have a very great difficulty getting going these days.
First thing to do was to check the dictaphone to see where I’d been during the night. It was wartime. A group of soldiers had been sent to a barracks. They had been given their equipment, including hooks for hanging up their clothes. The sergeant was going through this, interrogating the privates who were already there about certain of the things. He pointed to one of these clothes hooks and asked about it. They came out with some kind of nebulous opinion about what they thought it might be. He dropped it and it was spring-loaded so it sprang right across the road and embedded itself in the front bumper of an old car that was going past in the street.
Later on I came across an obscure reference to some kind of line-of-sight between somewhere in Sinai across to the coast in the Spanish Sahara and then back from French West Africa to the east coast of Africa. It looked quite interesting so I went to the library and borrowed probably a dozen books. I sat there for the whole day reading them. It turned out to be the report of 4 people who’d gone on a cycle trip between these places, what they’d seen and what they’d done. But they didn’t mention the cycles very often. I was busy plotting their route trying to work out the things that they’d seen and cross-reference it with other books. Then the librarian came up to me and asked me for several books back because the library was closing. I was on the point of asking him if I could keep the others somewhere so they aren’t filed away so they’ll be here tomorrow morning for me.
There was also a woman and girl. We were in Ramsgate and had to go somewhere down in the south of Kent so we set out to drive. The woman driving was confused about the way out of Ramsgate so I gave directions. We ended up talking to another couple of women so somehow we began to walk out of the town. We walked for quite a long way. I was saying about where my mother used to live and talking about the evacuation in 1940 etc, saying that I’d show everyone where my mother used to live. I suddenly realised that we didn’t have the car. I asked the woman “where have you left the car?”. She replied “back in Ramsgate”. We carried on walking and came to the main road, Thanet Way. We decided that we’d better go back to fetch the car. There was some talk about some tea in the oven etc. I volunteered to run back with the keys and fetch the car but the girl wanted to go on the bus. I hadn’t a clue what the buses were like, where they ran to and their times etc. It was beginning to go dark now. The first thing was that a tram appeared. They were thinking about boarding the tram but I remembered that there were no tram lines anywhere near where we were with the car so I didn’t think that going on the tram was a good idea. We had a big argument or discussion about going back to pick up the car. This is the kind of thing that would drag on for hours, we won’t resolve anything and we’ll still end up without a car. It could all be resolved in half an hour If I were to run back to fetch it.
Actually, there’s a lot of truth in this story, believe it or not. I’ve been asked several times why I seem to be so concerned with the plight of refugees, and the answer to this is that my mother and her sister were refugees.
They had a very peripatetic childhood and when World War II broke out they were living in Birchington on Sea, not too far from Ramsgate, at the end of the runway at Manston Airfield, an RAF station on the Isle of Thanet.
At the fall of France in June 1940 the Luftwaffe began to drop bombs on all of the airfields in South-East England and Manston was particularly devastated. After one major attack early in the Battle of Britain, all of the children in the area were rounded up, taken to the railway station with just one suitcase, then stuck on a train and sent to live with complete strangers.
For girls who were not yet teenagers it was completely and utterly traumatic and I think in all honesty that it scarred my mother for life. She told us many stories about her life in Somerset and so I have a great deal of sympathy for these people who are fleeing a war zone.
Every time I see some of the hatred and vitriol that’s poured out about refugees, I just reflect that thank God those people weren’t around when my mother and her sister were desperately looking for shelter in 1940
When the alarm went off I was in bed with a girlfriend of mine. The question of motor bikes came up. I was going to buy a new motor bike but for some unknown reason my girlfriend hadn’t ordered a new helmet. That, for some reason, sent me into a fierce temper. I couldn’t understand why I was in such a bad mood about the fact that no helmet had been ordered. Even though I was tired I forced myself out of bed to go to order one myself. I threw a few things across the bedroom. I couldn’t understand why I was in such a bad mood. Had it happened 30 or 40 years ago I could have understood but I’m a different person these days than I used to be.
So having got that out of the way I turned my attention to the radio programme. I listened to the one that will be broadcast this weekend and then sent it off. Once it had gone off, I made a start on preparing another one. The music has been chosen, paired off and I’ve dictated quite a few notes for it.
For much of the rest of the day when I’ve not been asleep on my chair, I’ve been working on my Canada 2017 trip, but not actually doing much in the way of notes but doing some research.
There’s an island off the coast of Cartwright that is known by the locals as “Prisoner’s Island”. The local story was that there was a murder in a fishing gang and as there was no Law Enforcement in Labrador, the alleged perpetrator was cast away on the island and taken back to England at the end of the fishing season.
It occurred to me that if he had been taken back to England, it’s likely that he would have been put ashore at the Port of London and if so, had there been a criminal case, it would have been heard at the Central Criminal Court, otherwise known as “The Old Bailey”.
Consequently I’ve been browsing my way through the records of the Central Criminal Court – and guess what?
On 14th January 1818 “His Majesty’s Special Commission was then put in and read, authorizing the Court to proceed to the Trial of Samuel Harvey Brown who was indicted for feloniously killing and slaying Thomas Pearse , on the 13th of July, at Dumpling Island, in North America, without England “
It just goes to show that many of these very old rumours have a great deal of foundation in fact.
Tea tonight was a taco roll with rice which was delicious as usual, but I had to eat it quickly because there was football on the internet. Having been eliminated from the Champions League last week, TNS were competing in the Europa League against Swift Hesperange of Luxembourg.
TNS went behind quite quickly and were under the cosh for much of the game, with the Luxembourgers missing a penalty and having several excellent chances. However they rode their luck and played much better than they did against the Swedes of Hacken and pulled a goal back late in the game.
And so it’s all to play for next week.
But that’s next week. Right now, later than usual, I’m off to bed. I won’t have much time for sleep unfortunately but I’ll try to make the best of what I’ve got. The cleaner will be around in the afternoon so I’ll need to do some tidying up before she arrives.