You will know by now, that I have a good memory for events long gone, but to be honest I have no outstanding personal memory of that important day on May 8th 1945. As a child, I suppose it had always been wartime to me and one was used to air raids, ration books and blackouts. I think it was just after midterm and I was about to move from boarding school to day school in Stirling. We had no television so one had to go to the cinema to see the big celebrations in London and elsewhere. I certainly did not attend any street party and I don’t remember a bonfire or anything special. If I had a long weekend home from boarding, it would have been to a quiet cottage some way from the village of Aberfoyle in the Trossachs. My father would have been working away from home, so maybe it was not a big event for my family. Of course, now I have the iconic images of Churchill at 3pm, the Royal Family on Buckingham Palace balcony at 9pm and I know of the young Princesses mixing incognito with the crowds. We have seen the old film reels many times, one feels part of it, but I was not!
I do remember quite vividly VJ Day on 15 August a few months later. It was my first trip out of Scotland. My mother, sister and I were on a train going South to visit my father who was working in Lincoln. We had seats, six to each compartment, or was it eight? with a door on the outside with an opening window operated by a thick leather strap and an indoor sliding door to the corridor. The train was packed with singing, joking soldiers around York, the corridor, a mass of khaki uniforms and huge kit bags. Now, it was really the end of the War. They were most generous with chocolate, biscuits and chewing gum. Sweet rationing was still in place, so this was heaven for two little girls. I was just at that awkward age when I didn’t want to be a little girl, dressed in a kilt, Fair Isle knitted jumper with matching beret, just like my younger sister and horrors, having to wear short white socks. Later, I remember to this day, running ahead of my family on our way to visit Lincoln Cathedral, stuffing my beret in my satchel and throwing away the socks. I also remember the terrible blisters on raw heels after my defiant behaviour. It’s not a very patriotic memory but there it is.
So on this 75th anniversary of VE DAY, my Union Jack is flying on my front doorstep as it has been since I have been in lockdown and will stay there until this new enemy is overcome. I would like to think this virus has united the world in a common battle.
My scarf is by Dior and sports a big D, which is the best I can do for DDAY, VEDAY and VJDAY.
Hope it’s a good one for you all.
Busy Bee, Scarf Face!