Chapter 7

The words coming over the wireless told us that the shape of the Japanese islands had been changed.

Though I can still hear the voice saying it, I had no idea what had happened.   My Dad, sitting with his home-rolled fag, didn’t seem to have any reaction, either.

The news caused V.J. Night, which was a vague version of V.E. Night.   Nobody seemed to have told me about the Japanese fighting us, probably because they weren’t going to come marching up the beach and actually conquer us.   No effigy of a slant-eyed Hitler was burned, but there was a street party.

From Mom and Dad’s bedroom, you could see, if you stood on the big wooden chair, a cross made of light bulbs on the side of St. Peter’s tower.   We were in the Atomic Age.

It must have been about then that everybody got involved in The General Election.   Gran’dad was a Conservative, so was Mom.   When I went to school, the Big Boys – aged ten and eleven – were on about voting.   They would stop me and the other infants in the playground and the corridors.

“Who d’you vote for?”

Naturally, I said “Conservative”.

At Christ Church School, that was the wrong answer and they told me so in no uncertain terms.   As soon as The Election had passed and somebody had got in, we all went back to marbles.

* * * * *

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