Friday, May 27, 2011

Update from the fire escape

I suppose the first thing I should say is that I'm just sitting on the fire escape because I get the wifi here, and because it's a nice perch. I love a nice perch. Sea Bass is better in sushi, admittedly...

Anyway, it's late, and the gothic-style arched windows project a yellow glow into the dark and moonless night. Kind of like this:

From Braziers' park website. (yes, this is where we are staying, by the way)
But that's not important. I want to tell you about someone I've met. I've spent the last few days mostly helping in the kitchen and reading on my own time, but that's not important. I've also been talking to Nonny.

This is Nonny (from the blog of another volunteer

Nonny is one of those people. I don't know how to do her justice in writing. I don't really know how to do anyone justice, but certain people bring that realization to the fore with all the subtlety of German erotica.

Nonny was a teacher of classics and religion.

Nonny lived through World War Two. She remembers having a sweets ration once a month. "It didn't go very far." She thinks, "It must be very odd, for your grandparents, to not have been in a war."

Nonny was married to a Classics professor at University of Bristol.

Nonny's grandfather was a teacher of French history, and went insane, convinced he was Napoleon.

Nonny loves her garden.

Nonny has the right to call African-Europeans black. She doesn't know this, but I have accorded her this right. Why? Because she spent many, many years teaching African-European kids from the poorer parts of London. She loved them. She calls them black.

She was teaching religion - teaching the nativity, and one of the boys raised his hand and said "Miss, why did the angels appear to the shepherds." She said she didn't know. After a couple of suggestions, one cockney in the back of the class tentatively raised his hand, and said "perhaps it was just that they were the only ones awake, it being the middle of the night."

Nonny worked as a decoder and translator during World War Two. She learned Military Japanese, and translated it for the English.

Nonny loves to talk about her life, and I love to listen, though I will admit it can be exhausting. One has the feeling one has lived another life, and it's tiring enough to live once.

I hope she will forgive me that I have not done her justice.

1 comment:

  1. You my not do her justice, but she still sounds amazing.