• HCF

London at War, Part 5

Updated: Sep 14, 2021






Last Christmas I composed a short poem for my Grandson, Samuel, which began with these words, “Twenty twenty, what a year – Covid disease, isolation and fear”. We are now well into the second half of 2021 and many of the legal restrictions have only recently been lifted. In fact, as I sit to write these words the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, postponed from last year, is due to begin in just a few moments.


Are we tired of restrictions – being told where we cannot go, or what we must or must not do? I've been thinking of the restrictions which the people of London endured,- not for eighteen months but for six years! Spare a thought for the thousands of women whose husbands had been conscripted into the armed forces and whose children had been evacuated to towns and villages to escape the German Blitz on our Capital City. No contact by mobile phone, Facetime or Zoom!! No such thing as supermarkets – just as well because most food was strictly rationed; some items in very short supply, in fact, I clearly remember I didn't taste a banana for over four years and had completely forgotten their flavour!! Dorothy and I were married in March 1945. The cost of a “posh” reception was totally out of our league, but we were so very grateful to the many friends who gave us some of their precious ration coupons, giving us the opportunity to have a small reception with about thirty people.

You may have heard of “the black-out”? Street lighting was minimal, vehicles had special shields on the lights, homes had all windows covered up and doors closed otherwise you may hear somebody shout “LIGHTS”. Furniture was “utility” - quite plain but well made. Clothing too was rationed and utility. I remember men's trouser legs were restricted to eighteen inches wide at the bottom. I bought my wedding suit made to measure from a tailor in Acton High Street and asked if I could have twenty four inch trouser bottoms! The surprised tailor finally persuaded me to settle for twenty two inches! Very smart!!

Down the years I have met a number of folk who have said that Christianity is not for them. They think there are too many restrictions! Of course Jesus tells us there are things we should not do, but “love is the forsaking of one's self in the interests of another” and when we love the One who died on the Cross to bear the punishment for OUR sins, anything we do (or refrain from doing), to please HIM is a privilege!

AMEN!


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