Good Morning

Crow 18.11 (2)

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
Bethnal Green Road 2009

9 thoughts on “Good Morning

  1. Mrs AS,
    The crow is a resilient creature and even survives in snowy climates- do they have a thicker coat than otherwise ?
    I loved your book review. Please tell what happened to that little child and did they find who she was ? Why was she all alone ?
    It must be wonderful to read a book of a time which you can remember or have been told of.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We have a group of crows living where I live. They have their own territory.

      Although the accident in the local underground was reality, the story in the book is complete fiction and just based on the actual disaster. The child in the book goes into another dimension, but it well written. Why she was alone is part of the story.
      there are many books about Bethnal Green, many based on fact. We had a few gangsters in the area and there are many real stories to tell. I was only born in 1946, although my dad did have some memories. He passed away this yers at the age of 100 years and 7 months and served in the army in the war.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Stories set locally are always interesting to me. Every once in a while, I find one set in the valley and I have to read it. There was even a big never solved murder and kinapping right here in Uxbridge about 25 years ago, a story that Garry covered for Channel 7. I think they made it into a mini series on PBS. And anything written about one of our presidents is local since his family comes from here. Otherwise, it’s all about cotton mills and the anti-slavery movement. We have more history here than we have anything happening in the the present. Strange how things change.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bethnal Green began many years ago as a little village outside the boundaries of London. Today the name has even been changed to Tower Hamlets, going back to the time when it was a small hamlet near the Tower of London. During the 1900’s it was one of the poorest parts of London. There were no sanitary installations, famillies were crowded into basement rooms and of course there was typhus as one of the illnesses. Jack the Ripper who they never really found, killed 6 women on the streets. We had one of the most famous gangster families in London, The Krays. Today the gents in the city have realised it is not a bad place to live. Near the business center and the River Thames, if you can afford it. The changing face of London. I must admit I did not like it, one of the reasons I left. It is a nice place to visit afterwards, and you never really forget your roots.


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