I didn’t expect it, but I have the day off. I’ve finished the first draft of that chapter about the Marchioness disaster and await the next audio tape from Sgt Pannett. It may arrive tomorrow, perhaps not until Saturday - in which case I dare say he’ll hand it to me on the terrace, behind the goal at Bootham Crescent, where we’ll be watching York vs Wimbledon. It’ll be a little like a scene from a 1960s spy drama, I dare say - he passing me a small brown envelope as the crowd concentrates on the game in progress…. If I had a white raincoat I’d be tempted to get it out.
I suspect that this tape will be quite a meaty piece to work on: it’s about the Poll Tax riots in London, ca. 1989, when Mike was pitched in at the deep end, confronting a crowd which contained an element of hell-raisers bent on inflicting serious damage to anyone in uniform. I know from what he’s told me in the past that one demonstrator spat petrol over him; and he watched as senior officer, days from retirement, had his teeth knocked out by a flying brick. Basically, they were unprepared.
However, that’s for next week. For the moment I can concentrate on other matters - like getting the garlic planted before the wintry weather returns, planting up some violas and spring bulbs in the containers outside our back door, and enjoying what may be our last few mild autumn days
I was in town early today for an appointment at a Podiatry clinic. I was in and out by five past nine, able to enjoy a stroll home along the railway lines, which is where I took one or two snaps of the autumn foliage. The oaks (above) are still mostly hanging onto their leaves, as are some of the beeches:
The larch, on the other hand, are almost bare. I was struck by the way their needles - such as haven’t dropped - have been bleached of all colour. My recollection from previous years is of a pale brown tint that glowed orange in the sunlight. Perhaps it’s the wet weather, perhaps the fact that this particular group of trees was in a shady spot.
I cannot refrain from commenting on the American Presidential election. I was surprised at just how relieved I felt to wake up yesterday morning and find that Obama had won a second term. Relieved, I guess, for a number of reasons, but in particular because I could not imagine having a US President who believed the Mormon Church’s teaching about its origins, and which, presumably, its members are supposed to embrace without question. Call me unimaginative, but I cannot understand how any sane person can swallow it.