Mr B says it is my turn to make the dinner.
He says it in a mildly accusatory way, as if I haven’t exactly been playing
a full part in our culinary arrangements so I have to point out that we have eaten out a lot this week and that, by my calculation, we have each made dinner once. Then I remember that I was late back home on Monday when I inadvertently caught a train
which didn’t stop at my station – so that when I finally arrived home Mr B had, indeed, cooked the dinner again. Even though it was, strictly speaking, my turn.
Today I have no excuse and we are eating salmon. So far, so healthy, I hear you say. Salmon is also quick to cook, which is a major requirement as we have our cribbage group tonight, starting at 7 p.m. There will be biscuits half way through the
evening, of course, of the superior variety, so I have decided that we don’t need a pudding. If Mr B objects I shall present him with an apple. I shall be Eve to his Adam. But with clothes on.
I have had a really busy afternoon, even if I haven’t moved out of my armchair. I’ve begun my research work on the Great War Project and, after a couple of false starts, I am well away delving into the lives of
the Richardson Brothers who served in the Royal Sussex Regiment in the First World War. The false starts came when I discovered that someone else was already researching the people I had selected for my case studies. I was particularly interested in
reading the diary written by Company Sergeant Major William John Hart (whose name appears on the War Memorial in my church – which was the other thing which drew me to him.) Obviously someone else wanted to read his diary too – and they beat me
to it. This was rather a pity as I had become extremely fond of the Company Sergeant Major so it was a real wrench to transfer my affections.
Still the Richardson
Brothers have plenty to offer. One of them has written a personal account of the action for which he was awarded a Military Cross. His brother Albert’s papers, meanwhile, include letters written to their parents. Plus there’s another Richardson
– Ernest George – who died, aged 26, in July 1918. Could he be a third brother? It will be my task to find out.
My afternoon has flown by as I search
the Military Records on my computer. I keep getting sidelined when a particularly poignant entry catches my eye – the letter from a father: “It is nine weeks since I heard from my son....do you have any news of him?” I look for the reply
but I can’t find it. Mr B would point out that I am wasting my time because this sad correspondence is nothing whatsoever to do with any of the Richardson Brothers. It is another example, he would say, of the scattergun approach I tend to adopt
when researching my own family history. He is, of course, right....
It’s so very, very sad, reading about the battles, the terror, the lives lost.
I have to admit that it’s a welcome relief when the telephone rings and there, on the other end of the line, another Band of Brothers, my Little Welsh Boys. They are phoning to say thank you for the postcard I sent them (good old Royal Mail, I only posted
it yesterday, second class!) On the envelope I had drawn three snails, a big one, a middle-sized one and a small one, each one bearing a letter on its shell – S for Sam, J for James and M for Morgan. The boys were delighted with my artistry,
so much so that I am contemplating sneaking it in to the short list for the Turner Prize.
I’ve looked at some of the other entries and I think I might just
stand a chance...