Strange things happen in the city, I’m lucky that I have been spared quite a few of them. When the family lived in Primrose Hill, in London, the war was on. My father was only a young boy when he sat in the front room listening to the wireless…war had broken out. That night the air raid sirens went off, my grandmother hurried the family into the bomb shelter at the bottom of the garden. My dad hated going into the shelter. All the action was happening outside and he was missing it. Whenever a bomb hit in the neighbour, the local boys would rush out and hunt for bits of shrapnel they collected and traded. It was exciting times for a young lad, and naturally terrifying for anyone over the age of ten who understood the devastation of war.
That night, to my father’s delight, the house took a direct hit. When they came out of the shelter, the roof was smoking and a great gap let in the night sky. He raced into the house, up the stairs as fast as he could. It was his room! The attic room! He flung open the door and through the smoke saw the best thing ever. An unexploded bomb in his bed! What fabulous luck! He was about to go and examine it when my grandmother, in near hysterics, grabbed him by the collar and drug him out of the house to safety. He never quite forgave that. He sulked the rest of the night and the next day, not really listening to the relentless lectures about safety and danger that the aunties and my grandmother were raining down on him. After all, it was rather a splendid find and so cruelly snatched out of his reach. Years later when he told the story, still chuckling, he was far wiser about war and how easily tragedy strikes.
I was reminded of his adventure when I read about a woman in London, who by all accounts was quite a local stunner. She had just slipped into the bath, and was just relaxing, when her house took a direct hit. The house was destroyed. No one expected to find any survivors, but when rescue workers came to the scene, they found her with the bathtub over her like a giant iron shield. What a bath that was!
A warm bathtub and an empty bed in London, both very lucky for their occupants, adding to the tales of a great city!