I met a friend for coffee in the city centre at a café that has heaters suspended from the parasols. We talked for an hour then went our separate ways after bumping elbows.
We share worries about illness in our respective families. It was healthy to be able to discuss how that feels with neither of us knowing the people the other was referring to; it gave a certain freedom to the conversation.
The cars are still on promotion in the piazza.
I made my way back via The Book Hive where I ordered a collection of poetry by Aimé Césaire.
The temperature continues to edge lower, but this did not prevent me from breaking my walk home to take a closer look at a sculpture on a column just below the castle ramparts that caught my eye.
It is a memorial to the Gallant Norfolk Men who died for their country in the South African war of 1899 – 1902. An interesting turn of phrase to describe English men transported over 8,000 miles to die in southern Africa. Brass plates list the names of 306 fallen. The memorial is sited on what has become a traffic island that is rarely passed by people on foot. The angel on the top of the column has the look of a sculpture one finds around the centre of Paris and in town squares around France. It is elegant and majestic and was sculpted by George Wade for the unveiling in 1904.
What does this memorial mean to the English today? Imperial expansion was a step on the way to the First World War, which unresolved, despite the slaughter of millions of troops in the trenches, led to the Second World War and so on.
Should these memorials be moved to a museum with explanatory text, the sculpture moved to a sculpture park? The gallant dead men of Norfolk won’t ever be coming back, so how do we best record the part that these Norfolk lives played in the darkest period of British history? It is not my part to suggest answers.
The new socks worked a treat.