Not one of my best quality photos of a crow, but it is difficult when they hop around outside the borders of my garden to snatch their breakfast treats. There is always a silly remainder of bread in the morning from the dried edge of the loaf. I do not like dry bread with my butter and spread, so now I cut the end slice into small beak sized pieces and scatter them on the garden. It takes a few minutes and they arrive. This morning I had 3 mega crows and 2 magpies. I notice the crows get the first pickings whilst the magpies sit in the tree and wait patiently. When the crows fly off the magpies arrive. Unfortunately they are quite shy birds, so I can only make a few shots behind the kitchen window. As soon as I open the window they fly off. I can of course leave the window open, but at temperatures below 0°C in the early morning, I begin to shiver clad only in my nigh attire.
It’s Saturday and almost nothing to do: even the bed linen is ironed and put away as we were a day early this week, because Mr. Swiss was away and I am not so good at re-doing the beds, too much effort.
In the meanwhile I have now finished my book “Beth Green” by Nicci Rae, not to be confused with a subject from The Walking Dead film series Beth Greene. No my Beth Green is something completely different. Not a best seller and I must admit I had never heard of the author, but I stumbled across an ad for this book on my Bethanal Green site in Facebook, which is the area in London where I grew up. It is in the East of London, known as being a working class district, until the docks were developed and the young business men from the city decided to move in and push the rents up.
Although the book has a tinge of supernatural in the story, it is based on the facts of the time, 1943, and all the places mentioned are known to me, one street bordering on my own. The truth is that the London Underground station of Bethanal Green had not yet been completed due to the war. The tracks were not yet laid, and as most stations underground, it was used as refuge and protection from the falling bombs. As soon as the warning siren was heard, many people would go down the steps to the station and remain and sleep there during the night or until the “all clear” signal was given. I would add my family never went there. It was at the other end of the road and they preferred to stay in their Anderson shelters in the garden.
The book actually takes place in modern times and the main figure is a British Railways security man. In this day and age of terrorist attacks, he was resposible for keeping an eye on any strange objects that might be in the station, which could be a bomb threat. One day in our time the station was evacuated due to a lonely piece of luggage laying on the platform. It was not a threat and afterwards he examined the platforms to make sure all was well. It was then he noticed a movement in the tunnel and found a 5 year old child sitting on a ledge dressed in torn clothing and crying. This is the beginning of the story. No-one knows who the girl is and her family cannot be found. She is not missed by anyone, and so our railway man steps in to help and discovers that this girl is a mystery in itself. Here I give you a link to a newspaper article explaining the background of what happened. It is something that I am sure all Bethnal Greeners know, and my mum told me all about it when I was growing up. There was a terrible accident in this station in 1943 resulting in the loss of 178 lives. Bethnal Green Tube Tragedy.
The book was well written in connection with this event. For me particularly interesting. To commemorate the event there was a small plaque on the wall where it happened, but at last a monument has been errected bearing the names of all people that lost their lives. Money was collected and given to finance the monument by the Stairway to Heaven Memorial Trust. There are still many Bethnal Greeners that have someone in the family that never returned on that day. The whole incident was kept quiet for some time, not wanting to demoralise the people in war time.
I find the storyline in the book not bad and being a native of Bethnal Green find that the atmosphere has been well captured, especially after hearing what my mum and her sisters told me about wartime in Bethnal Green. I am glad I picked up this little 200 page book based on this moment in history.
And now to other things, although it will be a nice restful Saturday morning I hope. Mr. Swiss off to the shops and me off to the appartment for a few cleaning operations. I will not be blogging this morning, or reading: life is too busy with other things in the morning, but I will return this afternoon, so see you all on the flip side of the online world.
Bethnal Green Road 2009