Memory is a funny thing. There are some events that stay in one's mind almost for ever while other things are very quickly forgotten. Then there are those things about which one is never quite certain; are they memories, or are they one's wild imaginings of what somebody once told one?
I was born, as I wrote in another, recent blog, in the middle of the Second World War in the Medway towns, an important naval base. I have been told that there was in the road behind our house, a mobile anti-aircraft gun. This was moved up and down the road in an attempt to fool German airmen into thinking that there we had more guns than was actually the case. I know that I have no memory of the gun, firing or otherwise, but I'm not so sure about the searchlights. I do have vague memories of searchlight beams dancing in the sky - but whether this really is memory or just my imagination, I couldn't say. However, I do remember walking along the of the Darland Banks, part of the North Downs, fairly soon after the war. Huge pits had been dug and were still there, open to the sky and any passing drunk. They had been dug to stop tanks in the event of a German invasion.
There is just the vaguest memory of my father returning from the war, probably in 1948. He had been in the Far East and Australia where he had managed to buy a whole heap of things that were not obtainable in England. There were toys for my brother and I, including a large, clockwork bumper car each. When set in motion, these would change direction if they bumped into the furniture or any other obstruction. Magic! For the family, especially my mother, there was a dinner and tea set. During the war, the only crockery permitted in England was plain white - probably something to do with pigments having to be brought across the sea or the chemicals being needed for something else. Anyway, Dad was in a department store in Sydney when he saw an assistant starting to unpack a dinner set. The china was a deep cream colour, with flowers around the edge. Dad immediately told the assistant to stop and to pack it all up again and he bought the lot. Strangely enough, the set had been made in England!
Dad brought back so much from that trip that he had to get the ship's carpenter to make a large chest to stow it away. That chest must measure about 2' 6" square in cross-section by about four feet long, maybe bigger. You might notice that I used the present tense; the chest stayed in my parents' home until my mother died and my brother has it now.