A couple of months ago I received* a beautiful book, A London Year: Daily Life in the Capital in Diaries, Journals and Letters, in the post. It’s the type of mail you dream of – a heavy book desperate to be opened and read with a cup of tea. A London Year is an anthology featuring entries from Tudor times to the twenty-first century, covering 365 days of city life.
I never sat down that evening with the book and a cup of tea. Instead I decided to save it for the next day, and read one entry a day in keeping with the theme of the book. Obviously, this never happened.
Today, on Remembrance Day, I finally decided to pick it up and read what was said about 11 November. As we remember those who gave their lives so we could live our own, Siegfried Sassoon highlights what life in London was like in 1918.
I got to London about 6:30 and found masses of people in streets and congested Tubes, all waving flags and making fools of themselves – an outburst of mob patriotism. It was a wretched wet night, and very mild. It is a loathsome ending to the loathsome tragedy of the last four years.
*PR copy sent to me by the publishers