Magazine article The Spectator

The Phoney War

Magazine article The Spectator

The Phoney War

Article excerpt

The sirens going off at 12, and all of us called in.

(Taking our trikes in to save them from getting bombed. ) Worse-than-usual Sunday dinner (fish pie, with leeks);

tea with the MacIntyre-Gibsons, all brushed and combed, the grown-ups saying it couldn't last more than six weeks.

Mowgli at bedtime. Never hearing the All Clear.

Battleships for Christmas. Not much happeneing for a year (gas-masks, rationing, Dunkirk). The Spitfires, and the Blitz:

black-outs, some neighbours vanished, two uniformed uncles;

the Astoria Dance-Hall flattened by 'direct hits';

nights in the coal cellar, the droning Dorniers and Heinkels - then out on the street for bits of shrapnel next day.

A year in Devon (no visits). 'Out of harm's way' - but back in time to take control of the war.

Lord Haw-Haw ('Jairmany calling') at 7 a. …

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