- Thursday 6th June 2019, 10:47pm [Edited]
- United Kingdom
- 6,303 posts
The celebrations have been a bit a bit paltry so far as this site is concerned if I may be so bold.
My uncle Charlie (1916-2003) who was my godfather and my surrogate granddad because my actual grandfather died in 1939 and I never met him was 5 foot 6, thin, very mouthy and a joker in a Sarf London way. He was on those beaches putting down the communication lines and then having to drag them up again to remove traces so he was among the last out. He did his duty, He only stayed alive because he got into the local village, found a bike against the wall, immediately nicked it and rapidly rode away.
I am not sure how much time went by between that moment and what happened next. Certainly he wasn't told he could put his feet up and retire for the rest of his life. Instead, they stuck him in with the group who had to free Belsen with all of the dead and the emaciated in there. Anyone who is a holocaust denier should be shot literally.
He never told me any of this because he rarely spoke about it all. Instead, he stayed living in a grotty rented house off the Walworth Road, trapped until the age of 65. Low income. A maintenance man for the Church Commissioners who he thought were crooks. He also believed that the Tories. Labour and the Lib Dems were equally rubbish so in that respect he was well ahead of his time .
He wasn't right about everything. Just before he retired to his idea of heaven - Norfolk where he enjoyed his allotment and tipping softer relatives out of boats while fishing just for a laugh - we fell out. He had a bit of a dubious generational angle on black immigration which I found difficult and I was never keen on the way he pinged birds off his washing line. But all the time he was in London he had a great love of the countryside and was especially keen to ensure that children in the free world were happy so he would drive any one of us regularly out to greenery.
There are a lot of photos of him and me aged about six or eight rowing together and hiking and walking up and down Mount Snowdon which I did with consummate ease when also being afraid of walking from the kitchen to the lounge in my house. That influence meant that my tendency to retreat to my blanket all of a quiver was counterbalanced by entirely incompatible leaps towards wild adventure pursuits like kayaking and gliding.
This wasn't the only area in which he thankfully did my head in. I developed an utter disdain for the white collared when I was one myself thereby ensuring I never got promoted and an aspiration to be crap at writing which I am delighted to say I have finally manage to achieve. Did you see Theresa May today? Pure poetry. Really beautiful. Sorry, I really love that woman. She is not at all a cold fish as unkind people say and could have been brilliant for this country in different circumstances. Support the Millwall indeed.