even if just a tiny bit. I have to say that we have a problem with our back garden – it is riddled with glass shards. The colorful shards are thick and sharp, but there is no way they could have come from someone dumping broken bottles. There are so many buried randomly throughout our garden that we can’t go out without shoes, for fear of slicing our feet. I had been bemoaning this problem to our war-generation neighbor a while back, and neither one of us could figure out where the glass was coming from. Just last week though, this same neighbor dug up a piece of shrapnel in her garden, which prompted her to call the local historian for our council.
Our little nest of house backs up to what was once a large, private estate. The nearest proper road has our neighborhood on one side of it and massive Victorian mansions on the other side. We had just assumed that the estate had extended all the way to the road until post-war development took over, since every building on our side is post-war, save one Victorian school building that was never part of the estate. My neighbor discovered, though, that there were also large Victorian mansions on our side of the street, where our neighborhood now stands. Being that we are in South London, our street was pounded during the war, and it turns out that all the houses on our side of the street were levelled, except for the school.
All this time, we had been assuming that the evidence of the bombing was the patchwork of half-modern/half-Victorian mansions across the road from us, when the reality is that the broken glass and shrapnel littering our gardens and the post-modern houses we live in speak to the even more extensive devastation on our side of the road. It’s a bit sobering, really, when you think about it.