Saturday, February 02, 2008

Thursday 11th November 1937

My Mother gave me an old watch – a quaint little silver piece. The mainspring was broken, so I left it at a Southend jeweller’s for repair. Called this morning at five to eleven. The watch was ready. I put it in my pocket and came out into the High Street. Almost eleven. People were standing about self-consciously, furtively. Waiting… Boom of sirens. The traffic stopped.

At first I heard a motor car engine running, somewhere nearby. “Shut it orf” said an urgent rough voice. The most perfect Silence followed, in Southend High Street.
Shop blinds creaked and I heard birds singing…Curious emotions are roused by those Two Minutes.

…But the English do not recognise emotion – do they?


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