Time to Z’self

I’m feeling absurdly reassured by having done a timed agenda for the next governors’ meeting.  There was absolutely no point with the previous Headteacher – wonderful man, fine Head,  but there was no point in trying to restrict his verbal flow.  But on this occasion, there’s a disconcerting amount of stuff to get through and it mustn’t overrun because we’ll lose concentration and be tired out.  So I added timings to the agenda and have sent it out, with Helpful Pointers to speed up meetings (the last one didn’t go well, frankly, with several unexpected items being raised that, had they been brought up by phone or email sooner, could have been covered much more simply and effectively.  It’s much of the reason I was highly frazzled for several weeks afterwards).

Today, I went to a Nadfas study day, which was excellent, and at lunch I sat next to my friend Angy, with whom (ooh, grammar) I’ll be sharing a room on our group visit to Vienna later in the year.  It was not until after we’d agreed this, a few weeks ago, that she reminded me that she snores heavily.  But she has very fine earplugs for me, she said reassuringly.  Oh well.  I’m not brilliant with earplugs as I like to sleep on my side and anything in the underneath ear feels very uncomfortable, in my experience.  But no matter, I can put up with most things for a few nights.  In my turn, I explained that I listen to the radio, wearing earphones, when I can’t sleep, so there may be the dim glow of my iPhone during the night – though I’m happy to huddle under the bedclothes and will try not to disturb her.   The single room supplement is around £250, an absurd price which both of us are unwilling to pay, so it’s worth a bit of forbearance.

I haven’t been to Vienna for many years, not since I was a child.  My parents visited it last in 1960 and they had a wonderful time (without Wink and me, that is…).  However, not remembering it at all myself, what I do remember is my mother saying how shocked she was that so little had been repaired after the war – fifteen years on, that is.  There were still bullet holes in buildings, for example.

I’ve never seen anything like that in English cities, though I do remember derelict areas in London, undoubtedly caused by bomb damage.  These have been built on long since, of course, and what I mostly remember is the rosebay willowherb growing on the rubble.  As poppies grow on newly turned earth, rosebay willowherb grows on a bomb site.  I haven’t seen it for years.

8 comments on “Time to Z’self

  1. Mike Horner

    One of the South Kensington Museums (The Science Museum, I think) has been left with the scars of war (bullet holes, flak scars, etc.) in one side wall. I showed it to two of my grandchildren (who live in London) a couple of years ago, and they were surprised that it (the damage) is still there. When we’d talked about it, though, they thought that it had been a good idea to leave the damage there. Wish I could remember which one it is, though.

  2. Mike Horner

    P.s. Ann says that it’s the V.& A. Just checked it, and she’s right, the war damage is to the Victoria and Albert Museum, from the Exhibition Road entrance down to the Cromwell Road. Also, a plaque has been placed on the wall near to that entrance recording the fact that the damage was caused by enemy action between 1939 and 1945.

  3. tim

    I’ve been reading a marvellous book called ‘London Under Fire 1939-1945’, by Leonard Mosley, which vividly recreates what it must have been like, largely through direct quotes from Mass Observation contributors. It’s good to know that at least some memorabilia are still preserved, and that children are being shown them. (They should be asked to imagine how it might feel in those many war-plagued cities right now, and scream in protest.)

  4. PixieMum

    I remember a few bomb sites in London when I was a child, was surprised when I went to college in Liverpool that there were still plenty some 20 years plus not built on, or being used as car parks as in London.

    The plant I remember was called London Pride, small pink flowers on a tall stem. Assume Fullers Brewery, as they were London based, named their beer after the plant.

  5. Z Post author

    According to Wiki, rosebay willowherb grows on scorched earth, that’s probably why I associate it – I expect I read that as a child. I remember derelict sites in Lowestoft when I was a child, but I wouldn’t have made that association. However, the bullet holes in Vienna that my mother remarked on weren’t left deliberately, they just hadn’t been repaired yet.

    At the study day yesterday, there was a photograph of a bombed-out library, roof missing and debris in the centre of the room (this was wartime London). People were calmly browsing through the books on the shelves.

    Figs and tomato plants near a sewage outlet are another thing that struck me when I saw them, having grown from undigested seeds. I wonder where that would have been?

  6. 63mago

    On the main front of the Julius-Spital here a stretch is left with holes & gashes as a memento. I remember how astounded I was when I visited Budapest for the first time (1990 I think) – some facades looked as if the Russians just had left – I think the Hungarians simply had other problems than to repair bullet holes. Nowadays the city is back to its old glory of course.
    When we moved to a town at the end of the sixties I was told not to go and play in the ruins. There were not many left and one by one was cleared, new houses were built, but it is still something I remember from childhood. My daily way to school led me by four rubble heaps or so, some years later only one was left, I think this area is still untouched.


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