Gloucester is a city with heart and a sense of self. It knows its bones, and lays them out with pride.
Experience, memory and time frame our lives. We exist together and are shaped by them but are unable to catch hold of any one of them … we’re like flotsam on a storm sea.
I look back at my life and know its chapters have changed me, that each has altered the book of me they belong to. Now there’s a new chapter to add – Naples.
Figgis had been burning the not-quite-midnight oil. His desk was littered with text books, handouts and note-books. His eyes ached: his head ached. He looked, but did not see; he thought, but could not think.
His mother came into the room. ‘You should be in bed, Boswell. You’ve got a History exam tomorrow.’
‘I know.’ The tone was why-else-would-I-have-been-up-here-all-evening.
‘So, it’s teeth, pillow, good night’s sleep.’
‘Yes, Mum. Sleep.’ The tone was you-must-be-joking.
‘If you don’t know it now, you never will.’
‘Yes, Mum.’ The tone was never-will.
Sunlight streamed through the windows and turned grey with the weight of morbid expectation.
Figgis drummed fingers on his skull. He wasn’t the only one. Around the room, skulls were drummed, hair was twiddled and nails were nibbled. Year 8 waited for its History paper: ‘Victorian Britain (1838 -1901)’ was due for resurrection – for regurgitation.