Having enjoyed a successful book signing in WHSmith, Bury St Edmunds on Friday, I ended up spending the evening with two old friends, ex-Royal Marines.Ex-killers. One of them now took in injured animals,while the other delighted in emotional kindness and a steady respect for the evils of alcohol.
Both men had toured Northern Ireland, and both had feared. Both had suffered and both had loved. They looked me in the eyes with an edge of affection, and a smirk of easy friendship. I had lived in the market town for twelve years once. It had been a different time, a time of cold beef burgers and the odd anonymous smile from some early morning prettiness. I had been younger then, but so had the town.
The following day, I met another old friend. A retired parky or ‘Baldy’ to the cheeky urchins who used to tempt the sanctity of the Abbey Gardens bowling green. Age had brought a more meaningful smile to his face but sadly not to his shiny pate. He still enjoyed a pint of Real Ale though which was all that really mattered, particularly as I was paying for it!
I left Bury St Edmunds with an easy heart and some memories that I knew would never die.
‘PS My next novel ‘The Bent Brief’ to be published next year, is set in the market town (see my website).