Tuesday, December 22, 2015

First Paragraph

While serving in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War, my wife's uncle Gordon had occasion to bomb some of the most beautiful countries in Europe. The future wing commander, just a boy at the time, had bombed the Germans, he had bombed the Italians, he had bombed the Austrians, the Hungarians, and the Romanians, and he may have bombed the French. Years later, when I first made his acquaintance in 1977, he was confined to a wheelchair in the tiny village of Charing, a stone's throw from Canterbury. He had lost his legs to gangrene after his wife died, and he was living with his sister Margaret, herself a widow. Back in those days, desperate for a hobby, he would busy himself making his own Kentish wines, which he impishly compared to the finest Bordeaux. These concoctions were cheerfully horrid, but as he had been instrumental in terminating the Thousand-Year Reich 988 years ahead of schedule, I thought it my duty to force them as far down my gullet as they would go. 

- From Queenan Country: A Reluctant Anglophile's Pilgrimage to the Mother Country by Joe Queenan

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