A date of particular significance. I thought I ought to mark it in some way. Write it down somewhere. So at 11 o'clock, I opened a brand new notebook, filled my fountain pen (I rarely write in long hand, let alone fountain pen), wrote the date, and officially started a new project.
I don't usually attend the Armistice Day Service in the town where I live, Leamington Spa, and did not consciously intend to do so when I set out for a walk this Sunday morning, but I found myself on the edge of the knot of people gathered around the War Memorial. My Uncle Bob's name is on it. That's him. The boy in uniform, standing next to his father in the photograph that was taken before he went off to France and didn't come back. As I stood in the crowd I thought about my family, my grandfather and grandmother, standing here when the memorial was erected, their remembrance new and raw. The family stories: that my uncle had been killed on the last day of the First World War (he hadn't, of course, he'd been killed some months before); that when my grandmother heard the news her hair went white over night. Then I thought about another war, my father here with Bob's brothers, all in their uniforms, standing to attention, honouring the memory of another generation of young men who did not return.
They are all gone now. The town has changed, the bronze figure verdigrised and weathered, but the crowd still gathers, sheltered by the tall lime trees, much as they would have been fifty, sixty, eighty years ago.
People disperse. The assembled groups from the different services line up and march off, standards held high. I go on my way.
Not much to do with writing, you might say, but then, isn't everything?