|Meadow Lane Primary School|
We were not, most emphatically not, allowed to stay inside at break no matter the weather. The three-sided shelter in the yard was the only concession to our comfort. The shelter had a narrow wooden bench around the inside. To play The Challenge game needed most of the school, and we sat on the bench, side-by-side, each shoving the person to the left, whilst making a sound like an air-raid siren. Kids knew the sound of the air-raid siren when I was little because they were still tested regularly every week, some 14 years after the bombs stopped falling on London. Children of the '50s grew up in a world where all adult man and women were locked together in the grown-up world of grief and enforced brightness, a perpetual determination to 'keep calm and carry on'.
|Keep Calm & Carry On|
At present I'm in that middle part of my book, just over two thirds there in fact. I really need to drop my hero Thomas Tarling right in it, off the end of the bench or into the icy drink of the Thames, so to speak.
|The Ice-Cold Drink of the Thames|
|The Lash of the Whip|
'There was utter silence, and he knew he had to act. With a stifled groan, he sprang forward and knocked the key from Robshaw's hand. It fell to the quay with a clatter.
Robshaw bent swiftly, retrieved it and glanced about.
'After him,' Thomas yelled, boiling with rage. 'After him. Robshaw, I'm gonna get that friggin key if I have to strip you for it.'
|My manuscript's awash with red|
Last week I caught her tuning into Lucinda Bassett's radio show in the USA. She was, she says, so hooked that she's brought a couple of pages of Lucinda's memoire and we read it together, our hands shaking with the cold. It's still winter here in London.