‘si monumentum requiris, circumspice’ – Photo Competition (the longer way)

Please bear with me on this one or feel free to skip it and cut straight to the chase as you so wish. Tonight, I’m feeling just a tad backward-facing, as in the sinister profile of Janus. It does seem only yesterday when I was a student sitting in a caravan in deepest Colinton, straining every sinew to secure a Conservative win in the sincere certainty of thereby saving my country from the scourge of socialism.

It definitely wasn’t yesterday. Having google-checked (and I still demand a personal recount) it was, apparently, 18 June 1970. Locally, we were defending a majority of 44 and the national polls indicated that we were going to lose to Wislon and his hordes yet again. I still blush to remember hammering on the door until a poor voter climbed from his bath to answer, harassing him into drying and dressing himself and then harrying him to the ballot box with 10 minutes to go. To be fair, our majority ended up as only 3,183 and it would probably have been 3,185 if I had not made that effort.

Anyhow, back to that caravan, the local depot for the Tory faithful that day. I had been sent from Central Office to cosset and care for the volunteers as they came and went for the four hours of my shift. One hour in, two seriously old and crusty chaps (to my youthful eye) turned up for their time at the white hot face of contemporary Conservative politics. In accordance with my detailed instructions, I offered them biscuits and tea or coffee and sat them down to chat and reminisce. Which they did.

They had never met before but they quickly did what we do in Embra – established which schools they had gone to and decided that their respective answers were just about acceptable. Then, they discovered that they had both served in the Indian Civil Service. Narrowing it down, they worked out that they had both been in Amritsar in 1919.

I listened spell-bound for the next hour as they shared their memories. Something, which had happened 40 years before I was born, came alive. They were definitely partial in their memories but that remembered hour will always be totally magic for me.

So, that’s the the theme for the photo competition. ‘Memorial’, be it physical or not. A statue, a place, a person, a time, an event. Whatever. Just capture it in a picture and explain it if you feel the need.

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