Saturday, November 11, 2006

Remembrance Day

I was still in Jarrow at eleven o'clock, the hour of remembrance. In the teaming rain, old women stood against shop doorways locked in readiness for the two minute silence. In the place on the corner that sells cheap beer, shoppers paused over baskets of cut price confectionary and the sound had been turned off on the push-a-button-and-win game. The queue froze six people deep while the woman behind the counter scribbled noiselessly on bits of paper. I stood head down in the second aisle over the massed ranks of spaghetti hoops and out-of-date ciabattas. Even the tinsel hung against the window never stirred. At 11.02 pop music started playing on the radio and all thoughts turned back to the present: "I mean him off the X-Factor, man." "Can you jump on the till, Carol?"

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