Monday, 29 September 2008

incendiaries and sheep

...definitely the last picture for the Downs Wildlife book; this one accompanies my two-page romp through 350 million years of history, and is based upon Geraldine remembering having heard someone talking about the war years:

...More recently, troops were stationed here during both world wars, and the Second World War saw the erection of stone obstacles to prevent the landing of enemy aircraft, the tethering of barrage balloons, and the positioning of an anti-aircraft battery at the Dumps. With the arrival of American troops, the Downs were used as a vehicle assembly area in readiness for D Day, and wild flowers flourished between tanks in this temporary respite from mowing.

I asked my landlady, who lived in this very house during the war, if she could confirm that tanks were there; she wrote down her recollections of Bristol in the Blitz, and told me that an incendiary had come through my kitchen ceiling. I looked at the kitchen floor and imagined a German incendiary bomb sitting there fizzing but failing to go off. Gosh.