21 November 2009 – Pappy and remembrance



We meant to go up the Big Hill to the village this morning to watch Matt LeTissier switch on the Christmas lights. Not that I’m much of a fan of Christmas, I’m more a bah humbug type of girl. When Pappy died in the hunted bedroom on Christmas Eve the whole thing lost it’s magic for me. I was twelve and I’d saved my pocket money to buy him a present. It was early in the morning. I could hear Mother walking up and down in the hall outside my bedroom door saying, “what am I going to tell her?” and all the time he was in the room opposite getting colder. The bit of me that harboured Christmas spirit died too that day.

Anyhow, we missed LeGod turning on the lights. I’m not quite sure what happened but, by the time we got up there it was all over. The lights were on and Mattie was long gone. They’ve got a pretty cool snow machine though so whatever happens there will be a white Christmas in my village. We had a little look then I got some flowers from the flower stall and walked up to the churchyard to put them on Pappy’s grave. Usually I do that on Remembrance Day but this year it was blowing a gale and pouring with rain.

Pappy was in the trenches in France in World War I. He only survived because he was shot. He was taken, close to death, on a train across France to a hospital where they removed the bullet, along with his lung. There was no anaesthetic. His hair went white overnight. Ironically he died, albeit more than sixty years later, from that bullet. He had pneumonia, quite survivable in most cases, even for a man in his late eighties, especially one as fit as him. With only one lung though it was fatal. On Remembrance Sunday my thoughts always turn to him. For all he and so many others went through I feel a little ashamed that I couldn’t even walk through the wind and rain to remember him.

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