In the borough cemetery
My uncle Tod was one of
the forty seven people seriously injured in the blast. He survived, badly disabled, and so
his name is not among those inscribed on the monument. He was blinded and lost both his
After the War, and
following many months of rehabilitation, he became a familiar sight on the pavements and
parks of the city in his battered wheelchair, and always in the company of his black
mongrel, Billy Ricky. He certainly had many friends who would stop and pass the time of
day with him, or help him and his dog who was by no means trained as a guide dog
to cross the busy main street.
When he was failing at
last I called in on him at the little prefab where he lived. I remember distinctly his
saying to me Born lucky, I was!
Lucky, Uncle? You
can say that when
ended up a ruddy cripple! He could be blunt at times. But his smile seldom left his
face. No. You see, if it wasnt for old Billy here, Id have been dead.
The dog, old and grey
muzzled now, stirred at his feet. His tailed thumped a couple of times on the floor.
You see, he knew that rocket was coming. Those things broke the
sound barrier. There was no warning. But he
knew. He was never given to excitement. Always easy going. But there we were, walking up
The two friends died
within a week of each other, not long afterwards. I had heard before that dogs were
psychic, though I am sceptical of such notions.
But I am in no doubt at all that Uncle Tod was convinced of it.
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