Brian works in our excellent local second-hand bookshop. I was in there the other day and bought a slim volume about the 60s by Jenny Diski. This prompted me to ask Brian where he was in the 60s. He told me that for one year he was in Vietnam. He had been conscripted from his home in Texas and found himself in the mobile air corps, buzzing around in helicopters. When I asked him whether he'd found himself in the front line he explained that while serving on the choppers, he jumped off one day as they were landing and his glasses fell off, got lost. At this point they moved him to an admin job because unusually he could type. It took them a long time to replace the glasses, they had to fly them in from Japan.
When Brian got back from Vietnam after the standard year (half a year for officers) there was a GI Bill which enabled him to go to university in Texas, in Austin, where he studied history. It also enabled him to come to London in 1972 to do his Masters, at LSE I think. He's been here ever since.
He also told me that he recently got his UK citizenship at a ceremony in Islington town Hall. He was impressed by the lady Mayor who helped make a real event out of it.
Thursday, January 31, 2019
Sunday, January 20, 2019
Tuesday, January 08, 2019
I am sitting on a bench outside Kenwood house, slightly set back from the sandy path. An Irish woman appears beside the man and woman sitting just forward and left of me. She is exclaiming about a mouse she has just seen, along the benches to the left which are out of my sightlines. She hates mice, she tells the couple on the bench (I don't think she knows them). Then her husband appears at her side. He looks like a cartoon mouse. Big front teeth. Long nose. Thin face. A cap right out of the Aristocats. The man of thr bench couple surmises that it was perhaps her bright red shoes which attracted the mouse. She said she had seen a rat at her feet at the nearby cafe once. "Perhaps it's a baby rat" she muses. "No, it's a mouse" says the mouse husband.