Had a chance to talk to my parents today. Being English we talked about the weather, but in this case I quizzed them about the great freeze of 1947. My dad remembered the barriers erected to stop snow drifting in to the roads in Kent. My mum remembered coming down stairs and not being able to get out of the front door, because of the snow blocking it. As the conversation continued I was once again amazed at my mum's ability to remember every word of poetry she was taught (or discovered) in her formative days in North Yorkshire.

When my folks talk about hardships and difficulties overcome it's always in a matter of fact way that doesn't call for anything other than respect (at least it does from me). My dad was born in a comfortable part of London but turned 12 as his city was being bombed from the air. By the time he was 18 he was serving on a Royal Navy ship. His brother, my uncle, spent his early teens putting out incendiary bombs in the streets close to where he lived and eventually, after becoming a commando, helped liberate Holland. My mum and her family left Yorkshire after suffering religious persecution.

All these things shaped the people who brought me up and I'm grateful for every detail.


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