I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Time discounted

Aldi is a "global discount supermarket chain" originating in Germany. Its range of goods is much smaller than those of the UK Big Four (Tesco, Sainsbury, Asda, Morrison) and its sources, often in Central Europe, are comparatively obscure.  The ambience, once stark, has improved to functional. I go there for the house gin which costs £10 a bottle yet has outscored more expensive brands in a nationwide blind tasting.

Aldi has its attractions but it's short on ceremony.

So, Aldi, mid-morning last week. As I rearranged my shopping bag a man in a striped shirt with cufflinks barked an incomprehensible announcement just behind me. Gradually it became clear this was a Remembrance Day silence. A woman, who must have been about to pay, seemed frozen in time then had her embarrassment enhanced when her mobile went off.

As the silence continued I realised this was a Full Monty two minutes. At the main entrance  a dozen people peered through the glass doors as if into an aquarium. The doors were obviously locked. I approve of Remembrance Day but I'm not sure it should be compulsory.

It seemed apt that retailing should be brought to a halt but, as I say, Aldi hardly evokes moral grandeur. A slightly out-of-synch experience.

WIP Second Hand (48,821 words) 
“Tell me what you’ve learned, then.”

“Ignore  the handout, look elsewhere for the story,” said Francine.


“Provided I remember where the s goes in fuchsia.”

“At least the penalties aren’t as harsh as when you leave a clamp inside.”

“My tutors can make it seem like that.”


  1. Great Second Hand work here, just great. How often do these remembrance moments occur? Are they general remembrance or specific?

  2. Mike should look at the picture of a machine gun post, and the relevant comments on my blog post "Geocaching- not for the faint hearted" conradwalks.blogspot.com

    That concrete construction lies only a few miles from where I live, and two or three hundred miles from the south coast of England where the Germans very nearly invaded. We were prepared to defend our country inch by inch, and the thought of being there in that post is so chilling, only amplified by further thoughts of how things would be now if that had happened, and all that on top of the millions who died.

    We remember this every year at eleven am on the eleventh day of the eleventh month which was the time of the armistice in the First World War. We should never forget.

    Sorry brother for hijacking your potential reply, but I felt I had to shout.

  3. Yes, thank you Sir Hugh...I had already googled the answer (I'm prone to slinging out questions that I could easily find answers to myself). We have our "Veterans" Day on the 11th, but have to reach back to 1865 to recall the horror of war in our own neighborhood. I suppose I could invoke the 9/11 business, and the ways we are now defending our country, but it's all too sordid. I will go read your post, and the comments. Thanks

  4. Mike -I am astonished that you needed to ask the question.

  5. Over here, Veterans Day (which Remembrance Day became) is just one more occasion for retailers to have a pseudo-sale of over-priced, Chinese-inferiorly made goods, designed to separate the economically ignorant from their devalued dollars.

    Thank you for this opportunity to rant about the state of affairs in my country of corporate greed, general retail and banking malfeasance, and widespread unpunished political-corporate corruption.

    Now, back to your regularly scheduled program.

  6. PS: we used to remember Remembrance Day, when I was in grade school. In some schools, there would be an assembly, we would receive crepe-paper poppies as we marched in, then someone from one of the veterans service organizations (VFW, AmVets, et cetera) would give a presentation. The first time I heard the poem “In Flanders Field” was in such an assembly:

    In Flanders fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
    Scarce heard amid the guns below.

    We are the Dead. Short days ago
    We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie
    In Flanders fields.

    Take up our quarrel with the foe:
    To you from failing hands we throw
    The torch; be yours to hold it high.
    If ye break faith with us who die
    We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
    In Flanders fields.

    John McCrae, Canadian physician, WW1 veteran

  7. I think if this had been posted nearer the 11th my bell would have rung. We still have a ceremony here near the war monuments in the center of the village. Crepe paper poppies, volley of M1 Garand fire, recitations of "In Flanders Fields" and "The Gettysburg Address". Bugled taps. Tears. My Dad served in Europe in WWII, a bazooka man. Mentioned it only rarely. The story of the long boat ride, dozing while marching,the near occasion of a German tank (Dad was not called upon to face it), and most poignantly to me, bedding down in frozen tank tracks on Christmas Eve.

  8. The Aldi context you describe in the post is most definitely an "out-of-synch" experience. It also describes how I feel every year at this time. My Grandfather was captured four days after D-Day by British troops who'd landed on Sword Beach and moved east over the Orne. They could have shot him dead. Instead, they captured him and I will be forever grateful because after his time in a POW camp in Texas, I had the chance to get to know my grandfather. I loved him very much. And when I was older, I discovered that he had conducted himself honourably during and after the war. Here in the States, I stay at home on Veteran's Day. I don't shop. I don't play patriotic music. I am simply sad that war has taken and continues to take so many souls. The Flanders Field poem saddens me even more, for in it, the dead urge the living to continue the killing, to "Take up our quarrel with the foe." Will it never end?

  9. Rouchswalwe: I always took the last stanza as bitter sarcasm, expressing what the poem makes you feel. I think Dr. McCrae felt the same way.

  10. All: Just for once it seems unnecessary for me to add a comment. Except to say that we are presently celebrating the hundredth anniversary of our composer, Benjamin Britten, whose War Requiem says all that anyone can say about going to war. The text consists of the Latin Mass intertwined with poems by Wilfred Owen who was killed on a stupid mission seven days before the end of WW1. When the War Requiem was premiered after WW2 the soprano was Russian, the baritone German and the tenor English.

    Owen's most memorable poem doesn't appear in the War Requiem (where the tone is generally elegiac) perhaps for obvious reasons. Here's how it ends:

    If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
    Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
    Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
    Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
    My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
    To children ardent for some desperate glory,
    The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est
    Pro patria mori.

    If you don't know what the Latin words mean, I beg of you to look them up.

  11. Along the lines of Owen's poem, I recommend this, by my favorite American writer, Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain): The War Prayer

  12. Our Veterans Day is for living vets, Memorial day, in May, for the dead. Many flags and a marching band then. Only verse that leaps to mind is Jarrell's "The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner". Great Twain piece Crow.

  13. Mike, et al:

    I remember when Veterans Day was Armistice Day, every November 11, to coincide with other remembrances of those who died in WWI.

    Memorial Day began as a day to remember those who died in the Civil War.

    Check out (if interested): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veterans_Day

    At least in Robbie's Aldi market, the manager stopped all activity for two minutes. Wouldn't have happened here.

  14. Thank you, dear Crow. I was never very good with sarcasm. And Robbie, thank you for Owen's poem (I looked up the words of Horace).