The Field

Becoming obsessed with the dark arts

I was born in the industrial Midlands, a few months after the ending of the last unpleasantness with our German friends. Someone had evidently told the man who ran the Luftwaffe that an awful lot of ball bearings, nuts and bolts, and machine tools were made in our town and his chaps clearly thought that it was their bounden duty to the Fatherland to put a stop to it.

As a result, I grew up surrounded by bomb sites and by people who had, as part of their daily lives, pulled the dead and injured from ruined buildings, put out fires, tipped sand on incendiary bombs, filled holes in the road so the buses could run and wondered what to do about the 1,000lb landmine that was sitting in their garden.

Having been surrounded by such stoicism, I felt it was my duty not to be too upset by our latest tribulations. Upsetting and dreadful though they are, I find it helps me to remember that our ancestors had it worse, and not only got

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