The Ordinariness Of A Room by Sandra Garstang

It is an early winter evening. I am sitting by the fire doing some mending. The pile of socks and shirts doesn’t seem to diminish.

On the other side of the fire a man is reading a paper and smoking a pipe. It might be any room in any house in England.

But look again: the reader has only one leg and the paper shakes as he reads.

We are not alone either. Other men are writing letters, playing cards or chatting.

Leather sewers wearing aprons and veils are scattered among them.

In another room someone has put a record on the gramophone. ‘Pack up your troubles’ issues forth.

Look at the faces of these men, deep into their eyes, echoes of what they have seen, of what they did, are hidden there.

They have come here to convalesce. The ordinariness of this domestic scene will, we hope, bring some salve to their battered minds and bodies.

We know these men will never be as they were before this war, and soon they will move on. We hope their memories of Temple Newsam will be of a place that gave them some hope for their future, and closure on the past.