I’ve often wanted so it seems

To write Bon Mots

To girls in dreams

Encourage them

To bill & coo

With just a Billet Doux (or two)

But now it seems my Savoir Faire

Often really isn’t there

So back I go Pied a Terre

My worst Faux Pas

A Cri de Coeur

to dance a little Pas de Deux

But, lo! It’s not a Cul de Sac

My Belle Epoque

It has come back!

Fait Accompli declare I can!

My Love is here

San Fairy Ann!

With the typical Tommies’ fortitude and good humour in the face of grim reality, “San Fairy Ann”, British Army slang for the French, “Ca ne fait rein” or “It doesn’t really matter”, came into use in WW1.  My grandfather, a pre-war regular who survived the horrors of the trenches, albeit not unscathed, used it often.  I now find myself using it, usually accompanied with a wry smile, and my children have become so used to the phrase that I’m sure it will live on, at least in my family.

Remembrance of Jerusalem


Jerusalem War Cemetery lies in a tiny corner near the village of Chouain, near Bayeux in Normandy. After the 6 June 1944 landings it was the scene of bitter fighting as a German armoured column sought to recapture Bayeux.

Burials started on 10 June and, though it remains one of the smallest CWG Cemeteries, it is especially poignant as it contains the grave of Jack Banks, of the DLI, who, at 16, was the youngest Allied soldier to die in the landings.  The local school children hold a service there every year to celebrate those who gave their lives to liberate France.  I was privileged to be there to join in the ceremony during one of my WW2 lecture tours in Normandy and it remains a moving memory for me.

Remembrance of Jerusalem

Remember how I loved you once

And though my voice is gone

And footfalls soft disturb me not at all

Then Sun-stones of Jerusalem

Will waken with the Dawn

To laughter and the childrens’ happy call

Though paths we trod together

Echo to other steps, and flowers bow

All to my eyes unseen

It doesn’t really matter, for others love you still

And hold my dreams to show you now

Just how it would have been