On another blisteringly hot day, before the sun was fully up, I produced
a dozen current garden views from above.
Later, Jackie occupied herself planting and watering, while I carried out some dead heading. These activities were continued at intervals throughout the day.
Some years ago, now, encouraged by a number of my readers, I began work on an autobiography reflecting the era of my life so far. Eventually I came to a seemingly unsurpassable crossroads.
I have now decided to publish extracts from my draft, in occasional instalments, making use of some material previously posted and further thoughts and details, of which this is the first:
During the early 1940s members of my father, Douglas Michael Knight’s, generation were doing what those of his father had done before, namely fighting to save the life of our country, and, indeed, the whole world, from the might of Germany and its allies.
My maternal grandfather, an engineer in the prison service, was attached to Leicester Prison. As such he and his family including my mother, Jean, née Hunter, were allocated prison quarters.
Dad was billeted for a while next door. The teenaged neighbour must have aroused his interest, because, on 7th July, 1942, I was born in Leicester General Hospital. The above photographs were taken around this time.
Wherever he was stationed, Mum tells me, Dad took every opportunity when in England to get home to Mum and me and, later, Chris. If he had no official leave, this involved nipping off for what she calls “a sneaky weekend”. Apparently he found all kinds of means to do this, often involving the railway services. On one occasion when he couldn’t find any sort of train he walked all through the night from ‘somewhere in Yorkshire’ to Leicester for the pleasure. Dad himself has told me about marathon nocturnal walks to Leicester.
Mum’s part in the subterfuge was to keep a lookout for redcaps, as were termed the military police, one of whom was her elder brother Ben. I guess discovery could have been awkward.
Later this afternoon, having read more of David Copperfield, I scanned the next four of Charles Keeping’s illustrations.
‘What was my amazement to find, of all people on earth, my aunt there, and Mr Dick!’
‘I observed Agnes turn pale, as she looked attentively at my aunt’
‘Mr Micawber had prepared, in a wash-hand-stand jug, a ‘Brew’ of the agreeable beverage for which he was famous’
‘I replied, ‘I, Miss Mills!’ I have done it!’ – and hid my face from the light, in the sofa cushion’
This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious liver and bacon; boiled new potatoes; tender broccoli and cabbage, with which she drank more of the Sauvignon Blanc, and I drank Valle Central Syrah Reserva Privada 2019