So, what next?

June 24, 2007

Once upon a time, when I was four years old or so, my father used to sit me on his lap at the end of the day and invent a story for me in block capitals, illustrating it with drawings of stick men or, more often, little girls; the girl figure had a triangular skirt and for some reason always wore a hat with a feather in it. He read the words aloud to me as they appeared on the page and pointed to the pictures. When he had run out of ideas he used to draw a line across the page and underneath it he always wrote:


The phrase keeps coming back to me. There’s always more tomorrow, even when, for example, you can’t squeeze any more juice out of an experience like the one I described last week (scroll down and see below).
A friend from the Flying Club who read about our voyage has just sent me an email saying, “Would you and Chris really sail the Atlantic again? Why not take PTN next time?”
Now there’s a thought.

Talking of my father, by the way, my brother-in-law found a reference to him on a BBC web page the other day. The writer, a fellow prisoner of war in the 1940s, has spelled my father’s name incorrectly. (It should be written with “three Ts, two Ls, a U and an E. Put it together and spell it for ME!” as he used to tell people.) Never mind; here’s the reference:

We marched to the railway station, boarded cattle trucks and in insufferable heat travelled south to Lamsdorf, near the Carpathian Mountains. […] Lamsdorf was an enormous complex with separate compounds for Australian, New Zealand, African, French and Canadian prisoners, and these were sub-divided according to service and rank. Movement was permitted, though we had to return for evening roll call. Life was well organised and each day a list of activities was displayed in the orderly room. One notice caught my eye and I joined the camp choir, conducted by Bob Tullet.

He was an inspirational character and announced that we would present Handel’s Messiah for Christmas. There was no shortage of musical instruments, which had been acquired through the Red Cross, but the sheet music was in short supply. Bob divided us into our respective parts; first tenors, second tenors, etc, and dispatched us to transcribe our parts onto scraps of paper as the one person who had the music called out the notes. This took three days and then we started rehearsals, sometimes with a flute for accompaniment. When Christmas Day arrived, we had to perform it three times to meet the demand for tickets. For a while, it was possible to set aside thoughts of hunger and separation from home, and share the message of peace…

Once out of the War, Dad became a music teacher, which gave him the opportunity to give many more concerts. At the end of each one, after the applause and congratulations, he’d help to fold the music stands, he’d tidy the sheet music into neat piles, pack it away and come home… where high as a kite, he’d map out the programme for his next concert.


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