Mr B knows exactly how the Last Post should be played.
Many is the Service of Remembrance we have attended when I have been aware of him, wincing at my side, every slightly
wrong note a source of major distress. Today at the Worthing Armed Forces Day Drumhead Service in Steyne Gardens, the person charged with the considerable responsibility of sounding both the Last Post and the Reveille managed to play his way through both without
provoking muttered wrath from the Man at my Side. Okay, so he was playing a cornet rather than a bugle (according to my Learned Friend) so the sound was a little thin - but it was a "pretty good" rendition. Believe me this is praise indeed from Mr B.
Mr B, you see, used to be a Silver Bugler when he was a member of the Army Cadet Force at his boarding school. He was much in demand, apparently, on Armistice Day, often playing his bugle at as many as three parades
in a day. He was always, I am sure, note perfect. Even if he wasn't, he's not about to admit it all these years on.
I took the opportunity to wear a hat. Julia, the Chief Officer of Voluntary Action Worthing,
the organisation I was representing at this morning's service, had emailed me to tell me that she had met two other women buying new hats for the occasion. I took this to be a subtle hint that I, too, should don appropriate headgear. I have to admit that hats
really don't suit me; I think it is something to do with the size and shape of my head which is on the small side. Still I do possess a hat or two from my days as Mother of the Bride / Bridegroom so I didn't have to go to any expense. As we were travelling
in by bus, however, I carried my hat until we reached the venue. You don't see too many wedding type hats on the Pulse bus.
We arrived early which, Mr B told me, was better than arriving late. It meant we
were able to secure seats on the central aisle, fairly near the front, which meant that we could see the Drumhead on which the colours were ceremoniously laid. The singing of the hymns presented something of a problem in that the band played very much more
slowly than the assembled audience sang. We had all finished singing each line but the band played on. I think it caught up with us a bit during "I vow to thee, my country" - or maybe it was just that we had all slowed down in sympathy.
Despite all this, I had a lump in my throat as the representative of the Far East Prisoners of War Association, moved forward, painfully slowly, to read the Kohima Epitaph. Overcome with emotion, his quavering voice was the most poignant
reminder that some experiences can never be forgotten.
"When you go home, tell them of us and say
For their tomorrow, we gave our today."
I spent the afternoon sitting in the Lovely Linda's beautiful garden where the Trefoil Guild was raising money through selling coffee, tea and delicious cakes, and running competitions like Tombola and Guess the Number of Sweets in
the Jar. I shared a table and conversation with Sue (from choir) and her husband Roger (from the Birdy Group.) Rain threatened once or twice but we simply moved our chairs under a convenient, sheltering tree where Roger kept hitting his head on a hanging bird
Such a lovely afternoon. One of those "tomorrows" which were fought for so bravely, so courageously, all those years ago.
We are, indeed, the fortunate